Lafayette wrestling coach William Green set lofty goals for his team this season, including winning the city and region, and cracking the top 10 in the state tournament.
When the Generals took the city title, Green was impressed but not surprised. But he admits he was stunned by Lafayette's strong showing in winning the region at Wayne County last weekend.
Seven Lafayette wrestlers made the finals. Six won.
"No way whatsoever did I think that would happen," Green said. "We put (that goal) out in front of them, they bought into it and just kept plugging away."
Sophomore Landon Young won the heavyweight division and improved his record to 30-0. Sophomore Angel Vasquez won at 138 pounds and was named the region's most outstanding wrestler.
Justin Torgerson, a 126-pound freshman, was down 5-1 in the second period but rallied to win 9-7 in overtime.
The Generals also got region victories from junior Jon Green (152), senior Jackson Avant (170) and junior Dameon Black (182). Junior William Bossart (195) was a close runner-up.
Now comes the biggest challenge — making a splash in the 51st KHSAA State Tournament at the Kentucky Horse Park's Alltech Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Young is Lafayette's top individual contender. State runner-up at heavyweight as a freshman last year, Young is rated No. 1 this time around.
"He's got a target on his back," Green said.
Young, who has already committed to play football at Kentucky, knows the competition is gunning for him.
"There are a bunch of seniors who don't want a young guy taking that championship away from them," he said. "So I know I can't go in there cocky. I've gotta train and wrestle like I'm behind at all times. I've gotta come out with the same viciousness."
Vasquez, who was sixth in the state at 126 last year, said he's "gotten faster, more technical and more confident thanks to my coaches.
"I may not be the best-known wrestler, but I'm going to give it all I have."
Henry Clay fared well in the region, barely losing to Lafayette for the team title.
The Blue Devils had four region champs in twin brothers David Hernandez (106) and John Hernandez (113), Mike Whalen (145) and Nathan Moore (220), and two runners-up in David Tuduri (138) and Jordan Caldwell (heavyweight).
Whalen was undefeated state champ at 106 pounds as a sophomore in 2012. He was third at 120 last year.
Region runners-up last weekend also included Bryan Station sophomore Derrick Soper (113) and senior Taymarcus Taylor (120), and Paul Laurence Dunbar sophomore Tanner Stuart (152).
Woodford County, runner-up to Oldham County in its region tournament, is led by senior Nathan Boston. He was undefeated state champ at 113 pounds last year. He is undefeated this season at 120 and is rated No. 1 in the nation. Yellow Jackets sophomore Tucker Hurst is No. 1 in the state at 106 pounds.
Union County senior Brock Ervin will try to become the first five-time state champ. He won at 103 pounds as an eighth-grader, 112 pounds as a freshman, and at 126 pounds the past two years. He's at 132 this season.