Madison County will be well-represented this weekend at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships.
Four local wrestlers claimed titles Saturday at the Region 7 Meet in Danville and a total of 12 competitors earned trips to the year-end championships — in 11 different weight classes.
Lafayette (225.5) edged out Madison Central (194) for the team title and Madison Southern (95.5) finished ninth despite having just eight wrestlers in the event.
Central sophomore Jeffrey Kinley claimed his third-straight region title, claiming the championship in the 126-pound division.
Central’s Jonathan Gilbert (113) and Zac Cowan (138) won individual titles for the second-consecutive season and Southern’s Rocky Whitehead won his first regional championship, taking the title at 195 pounds.
The top four finishers in each weight class move on to the state tournament, which is set for Friday and Saturday at the All Tech Arena in Lexington.
“I was very pleased with how we competed,” Central wrestling coaching Chad Fyffe said. “Every kid stepped up to the plate. We had six kids get to the finals and we are sending eight to the state tournament.”
Central has finished first or second at the regional meet in each of the past five years.
Four other Madison County wrestlers advanced to the regional finals before falling — Madison Southern’s Stephen Whitehead (170), along with Central’s Thomas Deck (132), Tyler Ritchie (145) and Noah Shipley (220).
Southern’s Chris Begley finished third in the 126 weight class and teammate Amelia Foltz took fourth at 106 pounds.
Central’s Kyran Jackson was third in the heavyweight division and teammate Marcus Hutchinson was fourth at 160 pounds.
Central’s Lacey Gilbert finished fourth at 106 pounds and will be an alternate for the state tournament.
Kinley won the 106 pound title in 2018 and claimed the 113 pound title last season.
The sophomore entered the region with a 41-2 record on the season. After a bye, Kinley picked up two wins by pin, then defeated Ruben Martinez of McCreary Central, 16-6 in the title match.
“He’s a next-level wrestler,” Fyffe said of Kinley. “He will have an opportunity to compete at the level. He’s looking to compete for a state title this weekend.”
Gilbert carried a 25-0 record into the regional and rolled to a championship. After two wins by fall, the freshman claimed the title after Morgan Sallee of Danville defaulted because of an injury in the title match.
Cowan (42-3) got a first-round bye, then earned two wins by fall. In the title match, the junior defeated Thomas Haggan of Lafayette, 10-3, in the final.
“Cowan and Gilbert both won their second-straight region titles and they both placed at state last year,” Fyffe said. “Cowan and Gilbert will wrestle in college.”
Whitehead (30-4) got a bye, won twice by fall, then pinned Andrew Sanders of Wayne County in the title match.
Deck battled through an injury to get to the championship match in his weight class before taking an injury default in the final.
The senior has won two-straight state championships and has not lost a match against high school competitions the past two years.