Whitesburg KY
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5 wrestlers qualify for state meet

The Letcher County Central Cougar wrestling team left Sheldon Clark High School Saturday with their strongest performance to date.

Under the guidance of Coach “Sarge” Howard and Assistant Coaches Matt Butler and Jim Murtaugh, five members of the Cougar squad wrestled well enough to qualify for the state tournament this coming weekend.

In the 103 weight class, freshman Justin Gross came up just shy of a regional title after falling to a Johnson Central wrestler in the championship match. After posting a 21-4 record on the season and a second place showing at the regional tournament, he should easily hold his own in the state tournament.

At 112 pounds, Cougar wrestling captain and LCCHS senior Dakota “D.K.” Kincer finished in second place after a dynamic match with a wrestler from Wayne County. Kincer ranked fourth in the state, lost an incredibly hardfought match to the secondranked wrestler in the state. Kincer finished seventh in the state last year and has a strong chance of improving on last year’s performance. He has been the anchor of the team this season and the success of the wrestlers in the weight classes near his own is no coincidence.

Tyler Smith easily defeated a Johnson Central wrestler to claim his first regional championship at 119 pounds. Smith continued to dominate his weight class, barely showing any strain in his championship match. Only a sophomore, he has unlimited potential at this year’s state championships and the next two seasons. His firstplace finish marks only the second time a Cougar wrestler has won the regional championship.

Freshman and first time wrestler Caleb Short took fourth in the 125 weight class. Wrestling against opponents ten or more pounds heavier than him, Short held his own in the highly competitive 125 pound class. In a sport where many competitors have been wrestling for years, he proved to be a quick study and a tenacious competitor. He should prove to be one of the region’s best in the coming years.

Finally, LCCHS junior Danny Allen overcame persistent injuries to qualify in the 135 pound class. Allen had to fight off bruised ribs, unwrapping his ice pack before each match, in order to pull out two wins late in the day and qualify for LCCHS’s final spot at the state tournament.

The state tournament will be held this Thursday through Saturday in Frankfort. The highlight of the high school season, the state tournament produces champions equal in skill to those found in any state.

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