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Simply the best

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By The Staff

1. Quigley wins three-peatSouth Oldham High School junior Eric Quigley set himself up to make history last spring after winning his third straight state tennis championship.Only two other players in the state have won four high school tennis titles.Before a fairly large and vocal crowd of SOHS student supporters, Quigley won his third title in June at the University of Kentucky by beating St. X’s Casey Blythe 6-4, 6-1.Quigley controlled the early stages of the match against Blythe before the St. X star rallied to tie the match at four by breaking Quigley’s serve. From there, Quigley regrouped and dominated play with his strong first serve.“It was definitely a wake-up call, that was the first time I had been broken this year,” Quigley said. “He (Blythe) was playing really well. I had to step it back up and I think he maybe relaxed for a minute. He really pushed me though, he was playing well.”Quigley won the state despite having every opponent gunning for him after he held the No. 1 ranking all through the regular season.

2. Gathof wins gold in ChinaLa Grange’s Kyle Gathof travelled farther than any other county resident to compete when he went to Shanghai, China to compete in the International Special Olympics.Gathof, brought home a pair of gold medals in swimming along with a silver medal and a fourth place ribbon.Gathof, 28, was one of 15 Kentucky athletes and 400 from the United States to go to China, where more than 7,000 athletes competed.Gathof won his golds as the anchor of the 50-meter medley relay team and in the 100 freestyle. His silver medal came in the 50 freestyle relay and he was fourth in the 50 freestyle.

3. Oldham boys win Eighth Region basketball titleIn a year when they were voted as the third best team in the county in the preseason, the OCHS Colonels lived up to their proud tradition by winning the regional crown.The Colonels entered the year as what many considered an also ran only to win a fifth regional title under coach Gary Forrest by upsetting heavily favored Simon Kenton in overtime in the finals.Featuring a balanced lineup all season long, OCHS was powered in the finals by 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior Greg Finch.In his first year of organized basketball, Finch led the Colonels in the finals with 22 points and nine rebounds including a six of six performance from the line in overtime.Along with junior forward Billie Payne, who had 10 points and nine rebounds in the finals, the pair managed to offset 26 points from Simon Kenton’s 6-foot-7 Josh Hurd.The Colonels also got huge guard play from senior Josh Koebel and sophomore Eric Dunlap in the game as they advanced to the Sweet 16 where they fell in the first round to eventual state champ Scott County.It was also a big year for Forrest as he recorded his 400th career win and was selected as the East head coach in the presigious McDonald’s All-American game in Louisville.

4. Cooksey wins state swim titleSouth Oldham High School junior Grant Cooksey made history when he became the first local swimmer to win a state title.Cooksey, one of the early products of the Oldham County Piranhas program through the county parks system, won the 100-meter breaststroke title with a time of 57:87 seconds, a full second ahead of his nearest competitor.Cooksey, who has committed to the University of Kentucky and swims for the nationally renowned Lakeside program in the summer, narrowly missed winning a second state title losing in the 100 butterfly by two-tenths of a second.His time in the breaststroke qualified him for All-American ranking nationally.

5. Trio take state track titlesAnother local athlete made her own brand of history with her school’s first state title.North Oldham High School sophomore Erin Overcash became the first NOHS student to win a title when she took the state AA high jump title with a leap of five feet, four inches.Overcash’s title was even more impressive by the fact NOHS does not have a track and she was only able to practice a couple of days a week at OCHSA rare three-sport star in this day and age of specialization, Overcash has finished in the top 10 in the state cross country meet the past two years and is a starting forward on the Lady Mustangs’ basketball team as well as being an accomplished artist.OCHS also produced a pair of state AAA track champions.Senior Ken Prater pulled off a somewhat shocking upset when he won the 3,200 run title over what was considered one of the best fields of distance runners the state had produced in years. Prater’s title time of 9:34 was a full 18 seconds better than his prior personal best.Junior Jaque Vinson took the 200 dash title with a time of 22.4 seconds.Like Prater, he shaved two seconds off his personal best time after finishing second in the preliminary race.

6. Ben Warner wins wrestling titleOldham County High School’s Ben Warner became the latest in a long line wrestlers from the county to win a state title.Warner, a 135-pound senior. posted a 44-0 season capped with a 3-1 win in the state finals over Josh Ashbrook of Harrison County to become the school’s seventh state wrestling champion and third to go undefeated.Warner’s title didn’t come easy. At the start of the finals match, he and Ashbrook accidentally bumped heads leaving Ashbrook with a nasy gash above his eye and Warner with a three-inch gash on the top of his head that would later require seven stiches to close.After being wrapped in gauze and tape by trainers, Warner went out to wrestle. Warner got the early lead in the first period with a two-point double leg takedown and after having his bandage changed once during the match, held on for the win.Warner took second at 125 as a junior.

7. North Oldham football sets recordsThe North Oldham High School football team had a record-breaking season under coach Billy Martin.Powered by a solid group of seniors, the Mustangs posted a school record eight wins against four losses, won a playoff game and reached the district finals.The Mustangs fell 15-7 in the district finals to Henry County, their second loss of the year to the Wildcats.NOHS made history the week before with a dominating 42-21 win over Spencer County the week before in the opening round of the AAA playoffs.Through the season the team came up with some big wins, most notably a win over county rival South Oldham.The Mustangs featured a powerful running game keyed by Ryan Gallas, Chris Dudley and Andrew Tuller directed by senior quarterback Dylan Grandon who completed his fourth year as a starter for NOHS.The line was keyed by Spencer Gooch and Kees Nordin as NOHS used ball control and made few turnovers in a season that brought fans and excitement back to the program.

8. Oldham County football wins districtAfter fighting its way through a killer early schedule and injuries to key players, the Oldham County High School football team got hot at the right time to win the district and reach the final eight in the state 5A playoffs falling to Owensboro 14-7 in the regional finals.The Colonels posted a 5-8 record after battling through a tough schedule that included 6A runner-up St. X along with 6A playoff and top 10 ranked teams Scott County, Shelby County and Madison Central.OCHS, however, grew from the adversity and tough schedule to make coach Lonnie Oldham look like a prophet. Oldham predicted the Colonels’ early season struggles as well as their late run.OCHS opened the playoffs with a 35-19 win over Jeffersontown avenging a regular season loss to the Chargers.The Colonels then upset undefeated and fifth ranked Anderson County 22-21 in one of the most exciting games of the season.OCHS scored twice in the final three minutes to win when quarterback Chad Dennis and Austin Middaugh hooked up on touchdown passes of 65 and 32-yards respectively for the unlikely come-from-behind win.In the regional finals, the Colonels fell on the road to seventh-ranked Owensboro as they shut down the Red Devils’ potent running game and narrowly missed the win failing to score after getting inside the Owensboro 20 five times.With a lineup that featured just five senior starters, the Colonels stayed with a wide-open passing attack behind the arm of Dennis and a corps of talented receivers that included senior Jaque Vinson, Middaugh, Chase Hamby and Johnny Haney.Junior middle linebacker Ichiro Chiba led a defense that got better and better as the season wore on.

9. South Oldham girls win regional soccer titleOne of the state’s most tradition laden programs won what might have been its most unlikely regional soccer crown when the Lady Dragons got hot late.Veteran coach Cy Tucker held his team together through what was thought to be the state’s toughest regular season schedule with every team but two on the Lady Dragons’ 25-game schedule ranked in the top 20 in the state.With a good mix of experience in midfielders Ally Byrd, Katie Ferriell and Nicole Ginthum along with Dylana Nalley up front, the Lady Dragons were able to feed in new talent like sophomore goalie Mariah Willard, forward Shelby Thompson, Anna Brewer and Brooke Haysley to come together in the post-season.The Lady Dragons beat Oldham County in a dramatic shootout in the opening round of the district and followed that with a win over North Oldham in the finals.SOHS went on to dominate Christian Academy 4-0 in the regional finals before falling to No. 2 ranked Sacred Heart in the opening round of the state tournament.

10. OCHS softball reaches final fourThe emerging Oldham County program let the rest of the state know it had arrived with a strong performance in the state fastpitch tournament reaching the final four.The Lady Colonels served early notice they were on the scene opening the state tournament with a upset of one of the state title favorites with a 1-0 win over Owensboro Catholic.Unranked OCHS followed that with wins over No. 5 Butler and West Jessamine before losses to No. 8 Scott County and No. 2 Ryle.OCHS also battled its way through a tough Eighth Region tournament beating Shelby County 6-2 in 12 innings and Anderson County 1-0 in the finals behind a key RBI single from sophomore Kim McElhinny and a dominating pitching performance from Michelle Dresselhaus.With talent like Dresselhaus, McElhinny, catcher Ashley Gilbert, shortstop Tia McIntosh and outfielder Brooke Leanhart the Lady Colonels could emerge as one of the top teams in the state this year.