Christian County had three wrestlers take first place at the Woodford County Invitational Saturday, finishing 18 points behind first place Woodford County.
Gage Fowler won a major decision over Woodford County’s Gavin Andreoni to claim first place in the 106-pound class. Fowler pinned his first three opponents and beat Taylor County’s Cael Miracle by major decision in the semifinals. Fowler entered the week as the state’s No. 2 wrestler in the 106-pound class, while Andreoni is No. 8.
Jakerion Merritt, the 12th ranked wrestler in his class, won a 16-3 major decision over No. 8 C.J. Cardwell of Woodford County to take first place in the 132-poind division. Merritt won with pins in his first two matches and then won by decision over No. 23 Bryce Moberly of North Oldham 8-3.
In the 195-pound class, Niko Bussell entered the week as the No. 7 wrestler in his class. He pinned Tyler Little of Scott County in his opener and took decisions over No. 24 William Long of Perry County Central and No. 8 Sam Jenkins of North Oldham in his next two matches. Bussell beat Alex Hale of Winfield, OH 4-3 to take the title.
No. 10 Austin Gibson won three matches by fall in the 113-pound class and finished in third place, falling to No. 11 Joseph Morgan of Apollo in the third place match.
Ishmael Griffie entered the week as the No. 7 wrestler in the 138-pound class. After losing to No. 10 Anthony Pierce of South Oldham in the quarterfinals, he pinned Zane Drury of Anderson County, Cameron Baker of Apollo, and No. 5 Blake Day of Ashland Blazer in the next three rounds before falling to No. 10 Ronan Wyatt of Woodford County in the third place match.
Neal Aldridge entered the week as the No. 17 wrestler in the 145-pound class, according to KentuckyWrestling.com. He won his first three matches before getting pinned by John Hardin’s Trent Johnson, the top-ranked wrestler in the 145-pound class. Aldridge bounced back with wins over No. 21 Chas Fudold of South Oldham and Gerardo Ordonez of Coahulla Creek, GA to claim third place.
Diion Leavell, the fourth-ranked wrestler in the 182-pound class, finished in second place. He pinned No. 11 Dillon Adkins of Ashland Blazer in the semifinals. Leavell lost to Caldwell County’s Dylan Gray, who is the fourth-ranked wrestler in the 170-pound class, in the championship match.
No. 15 Markus Green finished fifth in the 220-pound class, claiming pins in two of his first three matches of the day. His only losses were to No. 7 Nathan Prosser of McCreary Central and No. 8 R.J. Boies of Anderson County. Green won by decision over No. 13 Jack Hill of Woodford County to claim fifth.
“We wrestled very well this weekend. We only had 10 wrestlers competing as a result of illness and family situations and for us to come out and challenge for the team championships speaks volumes about our wrestler’s determination to be successful,” Colonel wrestling coach Robert Burnham said. “I look forward to what the rest of the season holds. One of the other things I continue to be very proud of is the fact that the team when they do suffer a loss, continue to fight and wrestle back to place rather than fold.”
Christian County will wrestle at the Father Ryan Invitational in Nashville next weekend.