Union County's Brock Ervin and Woodford County's Nathan Boston capped remarkable high school careers Saturday night in the 51st KHSAA State Wrestling Tournament in front of 4,884 fans in Alltech Arena.
Ervin became Kentucky's first five-time state champion by beating Danville's Daniel Lannum 25-10 in the 132-pound finals.
Ervin won at 103 pounds as an eighth-grader, 112 as a freshman, and at 126 the past two seasons.
Ervin, who broke down in tears after his last high school match, said he started thinking about winning five titles after his eighth-grade year.
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"So I kept coming back, and I kept winning," he said.
Ervin will wrestle at Illinois next season. "I kind of wish this wasn't over, but on to new things," he said.
Ervin, the state tournament's most outstanding wrestler, led Union County to its seventh state team title. The Braves edged Campbell County 203 to 189.5.
Boston ended his high school career on a high note, too. He pinned Logan Erdman of Ryle to win the 120-pound title and finish off a second consecutive undefeated championship season.
Boston moved from Indiana to Kentucky before his junior year so he could wrestle at Woodford County, just like his dad, Rob Boston, did 25 years ago.
Nathan went 53-0 at 113 pounds as a junior. He went 49-0 this year, including four pins and a technical fall in sweeping through this state tournament untested.
"I did pretty much what I wanted — I planned on dominating," he said. "It feels great to win (back-to-back) titles."
Boston's only regret is that he lost one match as a sophomore in Indiana against a nationally ranked opponent.
"My career record was 199-1. I wish I could've won one more match so I could've gone 200-0," he said, smiling.
It was a good night for Woodford County, which had two other state champs.
Yellow Jackets' sophomore Tucker Hurst won the 106-pound title, beating Henry Clay's David Hernandez, and eighth-grader David Carr won at 126 pounds, beating two-time champ Trae Blackwell of Union County.
It was also a good night for Michael Whalen of Henry Clay. Whalen, who won the state at 106 pounds as a sophomore and was third at 120 last year, took the 145 title in his final season. He won a tough title match 3-1 over Clayton Brown of Walton-Verona Saturday night.
"The first step is believing you can win, and I did," Whalen said. "I had confidence, and I had great coaches who pushed me the whole way. I put in the work and left it all on the mat."
Henry Clay twins David and John Hernandez were state runners-up at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively.
David lost to Woodford County's Hurst 6-5 in double-overtime. Hurst beat Hernandez in double OT in sectional duals earlier this season, so it was something of a replay.
Hurst was rated No. 1 in the state, but he didn't take anything for granted. "I knew I could get thrown on my back in my first match, so I didn't underestimate anybody," he said. "I was on my toes."
Union County freshman Bryce Sheffer beat John Hernandez 13-3 in the 113 finals.
Henry Clay Coach Andy Critchfield said the Hernandez brothers "wrestled their hearts out. They just ran up against tough wrestlers."
So did Lafayette's Angel Vasquez and Jon Green.
Vasquez, a sophomore, lost to Campbell County's Sean Fausz, a defending state champ, 17-6 in the 138 finals.
Green, a junior, was pinned by St. Xavier's Justin Lampe, a defending state champ, in 41 seconds in the 152 finals.
Lafayette heavyweight Landon Young, rated No. 1 in the state, was upset in the third round. He wound up taking fourth place.