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Tiebreaking Triumph: Oldham County wins sectional duals, advances to state duals

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By Brad Stephens

LOUISVILLE – The numbers added up Saturday for Oldham County to clinch a trip to next month’s large-school state duals.

The Colonels won a three-team tiebreaker between OC, Trinity and Fern Creek to take first place in the five-team sectional duals Saturday at Eastern High School.

Second-place Trinity also advanced, while Fern Creek was left at home.

The tiebreaker came as a result of all three teams going 3-1. All three beat Eastern and South Oldham.

Trinity beat Fern Creek. OC recorded an exciting come-from-behind win to take down Trinity. Then, in the last dual of the day, Fern Creek beat OC.

But after the points were added up based on the three teams’ performances against each other, the Colonels came out on top.

“I’m glad we won, but I don’t like the way we won,” OC coach Aaron Riordan said. “I don’t think our guys did either.”

The loss to the Tigers ended sectionals on a bitter note for the Colonels, but the win over Trinity was a triumphant moment.

OC trailed the Shamrocks 28-24 going into the final two matches – the 152 and 160-pound classes.

Sophomore Caleb Ayers represented OC in the 152-pound class against Trinity’s Jacob Miles. Ayers got a pin, accounting for six points and giving the Colonels a 30-28 lead.

Next up in the 160-pound class was OC junior Will Jennings, facing Trinity’s Matthew Volpert.

Jennings was able to pin Volpert, clinching another six points and a Colonel win.

“If we didn’t have those two guys, Caleb Ayers and Will Jennings, do what they did then we would’ve lost the Trinity dual,” Riordan said. “Then if we had turned around wrestled Fern Creek and lost that one, then we wouldn’t have even qualified for state duals. There wouldn’t have even been a tiebreaker criteria if we’d lost that dual meet with Trinity, so that was a big one.”

Ayers got a late start to the wrestling season because he also plays football, but he’s “starting to come around” when it comes to his performance, Riordan said.

Jennings, who sat out behind 2013 graduate Nick McIntosh for much of his early career, is having “a breakout year,” Riordan said.

“I knew when (Jennings) wrestled that match that we had a tough guy in there,” Riordan said.

OC will participate in the Dragon Invitational Saturday at South Oldham while getting ready for the large-school state duals, which take place Feb. 1 in Mt. Sterling.

“I really feel good now that Fern Creek’s not going,” a laughing Riordan said of state duals. “When you look at the teams from the large-school division, especially when you’re talking about a dual meet format… I like my team.”