Great Crossing High School produced its first-ever wrestling champion Saturday with Rowdy Benner’s title in the 120-pound division of the Region 5 meet, held at Oldham County High School.
Benner was one of four competitors from GC and three from rival Scott County to finish among the top four in their respective weight classes.
That finish earned each the right to compete in the KHSAA championship this Friday and Saturday at Kentucky Horse Park.
In addition to Benner, Great Crossing received a runner-up finish from Clayton Shaddix at 106 pounds and also a second-place perfomance from Gus Roberts at 126.
Malachi Young (132) was third to round out the Warhawks’ inaugural class of state qualifiers.
Scott County didn’t reach any of the individual finals but will be well represented in the state showcase by James Arnold (third, 182), Eli Camp (fourth, 120) and Cayden Graham (fourth, 145).
Great Crossing finished fifth as a team with 122 points in the meet, with Scott County (84) eighth. Oldham County (225) edged Woodford County (221) for the top spot.
Benner pinned his quarterfinal, semifinal and final opponents in succession, capped by a finish in 1:22 against Nick Hamilton of South Oldham. Shaddix fought off Kelton Bailey of Western Hills, 9-8, in a sensational semifinal before dropping an 8-5 decision to Miller Brown of Oldham County in the gold medal round.
Roberts racked up two first-round pins and was four seconds from reaching the buzzer in the final before Oldham County’s Devin Armstead got the duke.
Young won a 13-3 major decision over Jon McDowell of South Oldham in the quarterfinals to punch his state ticket.
SC’s Arnold pinned Bryce Martin of Grant County in 2:56 to take care of his third-place bout.
Competing in a bracket with several of the state’s top competitors in his weight class, Graham cashed in a return trip to state with a fall in 2:19 against Michael Davis of North Oldham in his quarterfinal scrap.
Camp fought back with pins in both the consolation semifinals and quarterfinals to seal the state invitation.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.