It's quality over quantity: Local teams sending six wrestlers, including two champions, to state

By Chase Sewell/State Journal Sports Writer Published:

LEXINGTON – This year’s Region 7 Tournament at Dunbar Friday and Saturday had a clear theme for both local wrestling teams: quality over quantity. 

 While both Franklin County and Western Hills combined to send only six wrestlers to the state meet this year – compared to nine last season – the quality of the finishes were better. 

“We didn’t send as many kids as we would have liked to the state tournament,” FCHS coach Zac Donnelly said. “Our region is just really tough, especially this year. I’ve been impressed with the level of competition in our region.”

The Flyers’ Jeremy Gardner and Josh Bruning were the top local finishers with Gardner winning the 171-pound championship and Bruning bringing home the title at 160. 

FCHS’ Kyle Marston (112) and WHHS’ Ken Holbrook (215) both finished second in their weight classes while FCHS’ Josh Lopez (125) finished third and WHHS’ Mark Davis (171) finished fourth.

“I’m really pleased with the way both Gardner and Bruning wrestled in the tournament,” Donnelly said, “Along with Marston, all three of them wrestled tremendously.

“We’ve never had two regional champs,” he added. “That’s something to be proud of. Marston was right there in it and could have been the third champ.”

All six wrestlers qualify for the KHSAA State Wrestling Tournament, which begins Thursday at the Frankfort Convention Center. 

“(The weekend) was full of ups and downs, but they did pretty good,” WHHS coach Adam Bowser said of his team.” The older guys came and did what they needed to. Ken made the finals and Mark had a tough match, but he still qualified for state.”

FCHS’ Roderick Agyeman (119), Dimitri Hubbard (130) and Ronnie Sewell (145) all finished fifth and will be alternates for the state tournament. 

Woodford County walked away with the team title with 230 points after trailing second-place Tates Creek (225) for most of the tournament. Lafayette (189), Dunbar (141) and Franklin County (123) rounded out the top five. Western Hills was 10th in the 12-team field with 48 points. 

For Franklin County’s Gardner, winning a regional title was nothing new.

“It feels good,” Gardner said. “I got one my sophomore year and last year I came in fourth. And this year it feels real good to (technical fall) the kid in the finals. I feel like I accomplished something over the season and my effort in the offseason paid off.”

Gardner made short work of Bryan Station’s Najee Calderon in the finals, winning by technical fall 21-5. 

“I just wish it was more interesting for everyone else,” Gardner said of his match. “It was fine with me to win, but I like a challenge. He gave me a challenge in the first period, but then he started to die off, which I knew was going to happen from scouting him.”

For Bruning, the weekend was a walk in the park. He easily pinned his first two opponents and then nearly shut out Dunbar’s Grant Stringer in the finals, winning by decision 7-1. 

“It feels good coming from last year being runner-up,” Bruning said. “This year, I won the tournament pretty soundly and didn’t have to work too hard.

“I feel like I worked my shots real well this weekend,” he added. “Usually, I’m a defensive wrestler and in this tournament, I probably put more points up on the scoreboard than I did all last year.”

Western Hills’ Holbrook made his way through the 215 bracket with little effort as well – until the finals. There he met fourth-ranked Shamon Brown from Lafayette. 

“It was Ken’s first ever finals match,” Bowser said. “He’s a junior, but this is only his second year. Last year we worked on stuff in the offseason. He was just worried about a ridiculously tough opponent in Shamon. He just psyched himself out a little bit and got tired.”

Brown won by decision 10-6. 

At 112, Marston put on quite a show against the state’s fourth-ranked wrestler, Tates Creek’s Zac Brown, in their finals match. Brown edged Marston 8-7 after trailing 6-1 in the first period.

“Marston gave Brown everything he wanted and more,” Donnelly said. “I don’t think (Brown) expected the match to be that close. That’s the best he has wrestled all year.”

Both local teams had a lot of wrestlers still in the hunt after Friday’s opening rounds. But many fell off on Saturday due to tough opponents or mistakes on the mat. 

“I think it was a lot of inexperience and a little nerves,” Donnelly said. “Most of those guys are freshmen that could have made it but didn’t. Ronnie Sewell (145) and Tyler Wright (189), they just got out-wrestled when it counted.

“I hate it, especially for Tyler Wright with him being a senior, he had beaten some of those kids,” he added. “He has been battling some sickness over the last week or so and some family issues.”

Bruning wasn’t as sure what happened with his team in this year’s tournament after doing so well this season and in last year’s tournament.

“The team didn’t come with their head ready this tournament,” Bruning said. “We have wrestled better all season. I don’t know what it was, but last year we sent eight guys to state and this year we’re sending four.

“Some guys came out and wrestled well, but we definitely could have wrestled a lot better.”

For the Wolverines, Bowser said his expectations for his young squad were exceeded.

“I was really surprised by a lot of the younger guys,” Bowser said. “Our seventh-grader Josh Morris at 119 made it to the consolation semis. He had only won two matches all year and he came out here and turned it on and wrestled his heart out.”


Region 7 Wrestling Tournament


1. Woodford Co. (230)

2. Tates Creek (225)

3. Lafayette (189)

4. Dunbar (141)

5. Franklin Co. (123)

6. Henry Clay (120)

7. Harrison Co. (119)

8. Bourbon Co. (92)

9. Montgomery Co. (62.5)

10. Western Hills (48)

11. Madison Central (31)

12. Bryan Station (21)




FINAL: Pat Milford (Dun) DEF. Luke Rearic (Laf), Maj. Dec. 20-7

CONSOLATION FINAL: Joel Soriano (BC) def. Mike Whalen (HC), Dec. 1-0


FINAL: Zac Brown (TC) def. Kyle Marston (FC), Dec. 8-7

CONSOLATION FINAL: Ben Lascurain (BC) def. Camden Hanely (Laf), Dec. 4-2


FINAL: Will Bryant (Laf) def. Brandon Abney (TC), fall 5:06

CONSOLATION FINAL: Robert Bracco (WC) def. Jose Soriano (BC), Dec. 4-3


FINAL: Mack Logsdon (WC) def. Jimmy Lacy (Laf), Dec. 9-7

CONSOLATION FINAL: Josh Lopez (FC) def. Joe Davis (TC), Dec. 5-0


FINAL: Corey McCall (WC) def. Chris Kerr (TC), fall 1:14

CONSOLATION FINAL: Brad Milford (Dun) def. Jerome Williams (MCent), fall 0:55


FINAL: Travis Krauziewicz (WC) def. Brandon Stockwell (TC), Dec. 16-3

CONSOLATION FINAL: Brendan Tuggle (HC) def. Josue Soriano (BC), Dec. 6-2


FINAL: Josh Moss (Har) def. Nick Lalonde (TC), Dec. 7-4

CONSOLATION FINAL: John Stout (BC) def. Desmond Pritchard (HC), Deflt. 2:36


FINAL: Joe Whalen (HC) def. Stephen KImbrell (TC), Dec. 6-3

CONSOLATION FINAL: Chris Brunker (Har) def. Alfredo Gonzalez (WC), fall 2:59


FINAL: Andrew Wright (TC) def. Chad Goodrich (WC), Maj. Dec. 15-5

CONSOLATION FINAL: Stephen Stringer (Dun) def. Matt Morehead (HC), Dec. 4-1


FINAL: Josh Bruning (FC) def. Grant Stringer (Dun), Dec. 7-1

CONSOLATION FINAL: Curtis Graham (WC) def. Drew Kinsell (TC), Dec. 5-2


FINAL: Jeremy Gardner (FC) def. Najee Calderon (BS), T-Fall 21-5

CONSOLATION FINAL: Dustin Thompson (Laf) def. Mark Davis (WH), fall 1:23


FINAL: Brandon Barnett (Har) vs. Tucker Lyles (Dun)

CONSOLATION FINAL: Derek Campbell (WC) def. Freddy Shadeh (TC), Dec. 8-2


FINAL: Shamon Brown (Laf) def. Ken Holbrook (WH), Dec. 10-6

CONSOLATION FINAL: Morgan Bryant (HC) def. Keaton Hub (Dun), forfeit


FINAL: Trey Gentry (WC) def. Bruce Robinson (Laf), Dec. 5-0

CONSOLATION FINAL: Will Fawns (Mont) def. Bill Davis (Dun), fall 1:49




Coty Hunt (FC) 0-2

Nathan Darland (WC) def. Hunt, fall 3:20

Clyde Newcomer (BC) def. Hunt, Dec. 9-3


David Nesselrode (WH) 0-2

Clyde Newcomer (BC) def. Nesselrode, T-Fall 15-0

Nathan Darland (WC) def. Nesselrode, T-Fall 15-0



Kyle Marston (FC) 2-1  2nd PLACE

Marston def. Joshua Slone (WH), fall 0:29

Marston def. Camden Hanley (Laf), Dec. 9-3

FINAL: Zac Brown (TC) def. Kyle Marston (FC), Dec. 8-7


Joshua Slone (WH) 0-2

Kyle Marston (FC) def. Slone, fall 0:29

Colton Mott (Har) Def. Slone, fall 4:52



Roderick Agyeman (FC) 2-2  5th PLACE

Robert Bracco (WC) def. Agyeman, T-Fall 20-5

Agyeman  def. Jaylen Longstreet (BS), DQ (biting)

Jose Soriano (BC) def. Agyeman, Dec. 9-5

5th PLACE: Agyeman def. Josh Morris (WH), fall


Josh Morris (WH) 2-2

Robert Bracco (WC) def. Morris, T-Fall 20-3

Morris def. Austin Morgan (Mont), Dec. 12-11

Morris  def. Justin Borck (Dun), fall 4:33

Robert Bracco (WC) def. Morris, fall 4:04

5th PLACE: Roderick Agyeman (FC) def. Morris, fall



Josh Lopez (FC) 3-1 3rd PLACE

Lopez def. Gabe McIlrath (Mont), Maj. Dec. 8-0

Jimmy Lacey (Laf) def. Lopez, Dec. 6-4

Lopez def. Chris Bourassa (Har), fall 4:46

CONSOLATION FINAL: Lopez def. Joe Davis (TC), Dec. 5-0


Corey Johnson (WH) 1-2

Hussein Ayoub (HC) def. Johnson (WH), fall 1:41

Johnson def. John Kaindu (BS), fall 2:41

Chris Bourassa (Har) def. Johnson, fall 1:50



Dimitri Hubbard (FC) 3-2 5th PLACE

Jerome Williams (MCent) def. Hubbard, fall 2:42

Hubbard def. Jeff Faulconer (Har), fall 5:13

Hubbard def. Stephen Waun (BS), fall 3:49

Brad Milford (Dun) def. Hubbard, fall 

5th PLACE: Hubbard def. Abdel Elmaroufi (Laf, Dec. 8-6 OT



Jonathon Hockensmith (FC) 0-2

Sheldon McLetchie (Laf) def. Hockensmith (FC), fall 0:47

Zac Roland (Mont) def. Hockensmith, Dec. 12-10


Jordan Tucker (WH) 0-2

Brandon Stockwell (TC) def. Tucker, fall 1:26

Zac Roland (Mont) def. Tucker, DQ (illegal slam)



Hasaamnja Hart (FC) 0-2

Wyatt Courtney (WC) def. Hart, fall 3:33

Jon Green (Laf) def. Hart, Dec. 9-3


Ethan Cox (WH) 1-2

Cox def. Darion Coleman (MCent), forfeit

John Stout (BC) def. Cox, fall 0:39

Daryl McCane (Mont) def. Cox, fall 1:12



Ronnie Sewell (FC) 2-2 5th PLACE

Chris Brunker (Har) def. Sewell, Dec. 5-0

Sewell def. Tyler Joyce (Laf), Dec. 9-5

Alfredo Gonzalez (WC) def. Sewell, Dec. 6-2

5th PLACE: Sewell def. Dakota Pharms (MCent), Dec 7-4



Erik Pina (FC) 0-2

Matt Morehead (HC) def. Pina, Dec. 6-5

Shawn Tobin (Har) def. Pina, Dec. 7-5


Adam Al-Dbhany (WH) 0-2

Chad Goodrich (WC) def. Al-Dbhany, fall 3:02

Rafael Vazquez (Laf) def. Al-Dbhany, Dec. 7-4



Josh Bruning (FC) 3-0 1st PLACE

Bruning def. Justin Williams (Har), fall 1:04

Bruning def. Drew Kinsell (TC), fall 3:13

FINAL: Josh Bruning (FC) def. Grant Stringer (Dun), Dec. 7-1


Derrick Rogers (WH) 0-2

Justin Williams (Har) def. Rogers (WH), fall 3:04

Arti Vula (HC) def. Rogers, fall 3:04



Jeremy Gardner (FC) 3-0 1st PLACE

Gardner def. Michael Hunter (Dun), T-Fall 15-0

Gardner def. Dustin Thompson (Laf), Maj. Dec. 12-3

FINAL: Jeremy Gardner (FC) def. Najee Calderon (BS), T-Fall 21-5


Mark Davis (WH) 3-2 4th PLACE

Davis (WH) def. Paul Couch (MCent), Maj. Dec. 13-2

Davis def. Jake Soard (TC), Dec. 8-4

Najee Calderon (BS) def. Davis, T-Fall 23-5

Davis def. Brandon Campbell (WC), Dec. 9-3

CONSOLATION FINAL: Dustin Thompson (Laf) def. Davis, fall 1:23



Tyler Wright (FC) 1-2

Tucker Lyles (Dun) def. Wright, Dec. 5-4

Wright def. Edward Reed (BC), fall 0:46

Andrew Ogg (HC) def. Wright, Dec. 9-4



Ken Holbrook (WH) 2-1 2nd PLACE

Holbrook def. Shaun Lenz (Har), fall 3:17

Holbrook def. Keaton Hub (Dun), Dec. 8-5

FINAL: Shamon Brown (Laf) def. Ken Holbrook (WH), Dec. 10-6


Jose Rebolledo (FC) 1-2

Rebolledo def. McCall (Mont), Dec. 7-4

Dodd Kinder (TC) def. Rebolledo, fall 2:26

Wesley Morris (WC) def. Rebolledo, Dec. 7-2



Christian Wilkins (WH) 1-2

Bruce Robinson (Laf) def. Wilkins, Dec. 5-0

Wilkins def. A.J. Burrell (FC), Dec. 4-1

Jerry Noble (BC) def. Wilkins, fall 2:03


A.J. Burrell (FC) 0-2

Ryan Smith (HC) def. Burrell (FC), fall 0:47

Christian Wilkins (WH) def. Burrell, Dec. 4-1

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