LEXINGTON – Franklin County’s Tevon Clay lost his first match Saturday at the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships.
That didn’t slow him down.
Clay rattled off four straight victories in the consolation bracket, taking third place in the 138-pound weight class at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“To lose in the quarterfinals and come back to take third shows a lot of heart, the heart of a champion,” FCHS coach Zac Donnelly said.
Clay and teammate Coty Hunt both received medals for finishing in the top eight of their weight classes. Hunt placed eighth in the 113-pound class.
“I was happy that after I got beat I came back and wrestled the way I did,” Clay said. “There were some tough guys, and coming back to win all those matches, I impressed myself.”
Clay won two matches in Friday’s opening session to reach the quarterfinals of the championship bracket.
In the quarterfinals Saturday morning Clay took on Paul Hamilton of Campbell County and lost 6-3. Hamilton was ranked second in their weight class and Clay was ranked third.
“I really wasn’t disappointed because me and the other kid are equally matched,” Clay said. “It would go back and forth if we wrestled again.
“I was upset I lost of course, but I had to look towards my other matches.”
After the match with Hamilton Clay defeated Kevin Roberts of Simon Kenton 14-7, Dominic Lampe of St. Xavier 6-4 in overtime, and Woodford County’s Shane White 4-3.
The win over White was especially sweet for Clay – it put him in the match for third place and avenged the one regular-season loss Clay had this season. He came into the state tournament with a 42-1 record.
Clay, who finished fifth last year at state, faced North Oldham’s Loren Avera in the third-place match and won 10-6.
“I want to thank my coaches,” Clay said, “Corey Cardwell, all the Donnellys, all the Johnsons and Brandon Sandifer for helping to make me the wrestler I am.”
Hunt came into the state tournament as the third-place finisher in the region. He won his opening match Friday, lost in the second round and won his first match in the consolation bracket Friday.
On Saturday he pinned Trinity’s Steven Matheny in 3:28 and defeated John Hernandez of Henry Clay 4-2 to reach the medal round.
In his last two matches Hunt lost to Meade County’s Chris Abernathy 13-2 and in the seventh-place match dropped a 6-2 decision to Jason Hall of Moore.
“I didn’t make it to state last year,” Hunt said, “so my goal was to do good. If I could have gotten third or fourth I’d like that, but my main goal was to place.”
Which is just what he did.
“Coty surprised me with his performance,” Donnelly said. “He came to the state tournament to wrestle. He did a great job against Hernandez of Henry Clay who won the region.
“I was really impressed. This is the tournament to step your game up, and Coty did it.”
Two other FCHS wrestlers finished one match short of the medal round.
Roderick Agyeman, wrestling at 132 pounds, reached the quarterfinals of the championship bracket where he lost to Ryle’s Corey Ahern 4-0.
In the consolation bracket Agyeman was pinned by Simon Kenton’s Drew Harris in 2:40.
“He had four losses coming into the tournament,” Donnelly said of Agyeman. “He’s had a great year. He just got caught in a tough move (against Harris).
“He finished just short of being in the medal round, and I think that will help motivate him next year. It’s the same with Jose.”
Jose Rebolledo, wrestling in the 220-pound class, started Saturday’s matches in the consolation bracket. He won his first match Saturday, defeating Fort Campbell’s Tim Nikolao 6-3, and lost in his second match 7-2 to Steve Hollon of Perry County Central.
Western Hills senior Christian Wilkins went 2-1 in Friday’s matches and came back Saturday in the consolation bracket of the heavyweight division.
Elliott Porter of Danville scored just before the end of the match to edge Wilkins 3-2.
Four other local wrestlers were eliminated from the tournament Friday. Franklin County’s Erik Pina went 1-2, and FCHS’ Kyle Perkins and Darius Bucerzan and WHHS’ Matt Maxted all went 0-2.
“This is good experience for our team,” Donnelly said, “and with all our qualifiers returning next year that should give us the nucleus for a good team next year.
“I’m very proud of my team and its accomplishments this year.”
FCHS Coty Hunt (113)
Defeated Dylan Francis (Johnson Central) fall 1:12, lost to Kyle Shults (North Hardin) 12-3, defeated Christian Bautista (Southern) 6-3, defeated Steven Matheny (Trinity), fall 3:28, defeated John Hernandez (Henry Clay) 4-2, lost to Chris Abernathy (Meade Co.) 13-2, lost to Jason Hall (Moore) 6-2.
FCHS Roderick Agyeman (132)
Defeated Shawn Stacey (Sheldon Clark) fall 3:59, defeated Jordan Thomas (Pleasure Ridge Park) 11-10, lost to Corey Ahern (Ryle) 4-0, lost to Drew Harris (Simon Kenton), fall 2:40.
FCHS Tevon Clay (138)
Defeated Andrew Lee (Central Hardin) 24-7, defeated Chad Gahafer (Union Co.) 8-4, lost to Paul Hamilton (Campbell Co.) 6-3, defeated Kevin Roberts (Simon Kenton) 14-7, defeated Dominic Lampe (St. Xavier) 6-4 (OT), defeated Shane White (Woodford Co.) 4-3, defeated Loren Avera (North Oldham) 10-6.
FCHS Kyle Perkins (145)
Lost to Jordan Young (Johnson Central) 6-2, lost to Jake Ing (Spencer Co.) 12-10.
FCHS Erik Pina (152)
Defeated Marshall Cox (North Hardin) 5-0, lost to Kyle Bunch (Ohio Co.) fall 1:14, lost Nick Waits (Central Hardin) 14-2.
FCHS Darius Bucerzan (182)
Lost to Derek Hicks (Simon Kenton) fall 5:41, lost to Kohl Dodd (Fern Creek) 8-5.
FCHS Jose Rebolledo (220)
Lost to Trevor Thompson (Conner) 10-0, defeated Charles Philpott (Letcher Co. Central) 7-6 (OT), defeated Tucker Mueller (Simon Kenton) 6-2, defeated Tim Nikolao (Fort Campbell) 6-3, lost to Steve Hollon (Perry Co. Central) 7-2.
WHHS Matt Maxted (138)
Lost to Andre Dean (Fort Knox) fall 3:56, lost to Isaac Lawson (Hopkinsville) 8-7.
WHHS Christian Wilkins (heavyweight)
Defeated Matthew Davis (South Oldham) fall 5:16, lost to Mason Franck (Campbell Co.) 5-0, defeated Alec Meilke (Meade Co.) fall 0:59, lost to Elliott Porter (Danville) 3-2.