FRANKFORT — When 13-time state wrestling champ Woodford County didn't win the region last year (Henry Clay took home the title), it was as if the high school mat world had slipped off its axis.
Normalcy returned, however, when Woodford County won the 7th Region wrestling tournament at Western Hills on Saturday night.
Coach Joe Carr Jr. said injuries and sickness kept his team from much regular-season success, so it was nice to win the region even though the Yellowjackets had wrestlers competing in only 11 of the 14 weight classes.
"We have high standards for our team, and it's great to win the region even without a full lineup," Carr said.
The Jackets had three individual champs. Corey McCall at 145 pounds (his third region title in a row); Wyatt Courtney at 160, and Wesley Morris got a take-down in the last second to win at 220.
McCall epitomized Woodford County's fighting spirit. He had a hip-flexor injury that sidelined him for almost a month and a half, but he returned for the region. "It feels good to win as an individual, but winning as a team tops that in my senior year," he said.
The Jackets had three runners-up in Damon Read (132), Jordan Doyle (152) and Chad Goodrich (170), and third-place finishers in Tucker Hurst (106) and Shane White (138).
Henry Clay was a strong team runner-up with three individual champs.
Sophomore Mike Whalen repeated as 106-pound titlist with a 3-1 win over city rival Luke Rearic of Lafayette. Sophomore John Hernandez won at 113, surviving 10-8 in overtime against Joel Soriono of Bourbon County. And senior John Garrett pinned Bryan Station's Robert Watson to win at 182.
"Finishing first was our goal, but this tournament was definitely a success for us," Henry Clay Coach Andy Critchfield said. "Woodford wrestled exceptionally well. But overall, we're sending eight to the state tournament, and that's higher than expectations."
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament at the Kentucky Horse Park's Alltech Arena next weekend.
Also qualifying for Henry Clay was third-place finisher Zack Cooper (220), and fourth-place finishers David Tudri (126), Nathan Moore (170), Joe Tafolla (195) and Jordan Caldwell (285).
Terrell Moore of Tates Creek was the 285-pound champ, dominating Western Hills' Christian Wilkins in the finals. The Commodores' Marshall Aiken (145) and Cole Craven (160) also qualified for the state.
Lafayette, which was fourth behind Franklin County in the team results will send six to the state: Rearic (106), Justin Torgerson (113), Angel Vasquez (120), Rafael Vasquez (138), Jonathan Green (145) and Jackson Avant (160).
Bryan Station had three state qualifiers -- Jalen Longstreet (120), Anthony Smith (132) and Watson (182).