Greenon wrestling earns county bragging rights

Cutline: The Greenon High School wrestling team poses for a photo after claiming their second straight Clark County Clash championship on Saturday, Jan. 8 at Northwestern High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
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Cutline: The Greenon High School wrestling team poses for a photo after claiming their second straight Clark County Clash championship on Saturday, Jan. 8 at Northwestern High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Knights win second straight Clark County Clash

The Greenon High School wrestling team beat the competition at the annual Clark County Clash for the second straight season.

The Knights won the Clark County Clash at Northwestern High School last weekend, bringing home championships in six weight classes. Greenon scored 193 points, beating runner-up Kenton Ridge by 27 points.

“It’s good for the school, the administration, the community and the athletes being the top wrestling school in the county,” said Knights coach Tyler Westlund. “We had six champs, another finalist and almost everyone placed top three. For our younger and lower-level guys, it was good for them to get a taste of that and see where they’re at against everyone else. It shows that the program works; if you listen and stick around, you’ll end up winning.”

The Knights champions were Hunter O’Dell (126 pounds), Arlie Benson, Jr. (145), Owen Fagan (150), Lucas Valley (157), Ashton Simison (195) and Roman DeBolt (285). Five of those wrestlers — O’Dell, Benson, Jr., Fagan, Valley and Simison — didn’t allow a point the entire tournament. Gage Denson (106) finished runner-up.

“We try to be the most dominant not just in Clark County, but our area,” Westlund said. “Each year we get a little bit better. I was hoping we could beat the team score from last year, but that didn’t happen. These guys are busting their tails getting ready for sectionals and districts. We hope we can have five, six or seven state qualifiers and do some damage in the state tournament.”

The Knights knew they had a chance to be strong again this season despite graduating five district placers. They returned seven district qualifiers and two state placers in Benson, Jr. and Trevor Stewart, who didn’t compete last weekend. The county meet provided a “good gauge” of where they’re at this season, especially against local teams they’ll likely face in the postseason.

“Shawnee could be in our sectional,” Westlund said. “We’re going to see some of those guys again.”

With just two mats at Northwestern, the Knights were able to cheer on their teammates throughout the day, Simison said.

“It was a lot of fun and everybody was able to support each other,” Simison said.

The Knights were also fueled by bragging rights, he said. They didn’t want to lose to their friends from neighboring districts.

“You don’t want to lose to someone you know,” Simison said.

Kenton Ridge’s Preston Spridgeon (113) and Caleb Kennington (132) each brought home titles for the runner-up Cougars, while Shawnee’s Brandon Day (106) and Charles Bates (215) each won championships for the third-place Braves (140 points).

Catholic Central’s Adam Thomas (165) and Aiden Thomas (175) each brought home titles for the Irish, while Springfield’s Josh Cunningham (120) and Northwestern’s Deaven Balmer (138) also won championships.

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