Mat Hawks earn No. 1 seed at State Duals

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Local wrestlers hold No. 5 state ranking

By Eddie Paden

The Mat Hawks traveled to Danville last weekend and continued their regional dominance by defeating every regional team and claimed the number one seed from Region 2 for the 2009 State Duals championship.

The top two teams in each region will compete for the title Jan. 31 in Lexington.

Last year, John Hardin ended the Mat Hawks’ win streak over regional teams.  This year, John Hardin is ranked sixth in the state while the Mat Hawks are ranked fifth. Friday night’s dual looked to be another close affair. 

Mat Hawk coach Gary Canter was nervous before the dual.

“John has some good individual wrestlers and if they pulled an upset or two they could have beaten us,” he said.

The upsets never came and LaRue rolled over John Hardin with ease, 45-21.  Earlier in the night, the Hawks defeated Anderson County, 57-15.

“This team is continuing to impress me,” said Canter. “Impressing me is not easy, but they are surprising me. The practices this year have been harder than in years past and I have yet to hear a complaint. They have faced some of the hardest competition we have faced in years and again, no complaints. Some of the guys are really growing up quickly and turning into good wrestlers.”

The next day, the Mat Hawks destroyed Fort Knox, 67-9; North Hardin, 59-17; Nelson County, 75-6; Central Hardin, 49-21; and Danville, 69-6.

Once again, LaRue County has finished a wrestling season without a regional loss. Over the past 11 years, LaRue County has an incredible record against regional foes of 132-1. 

After last week’s defeat of the number one team in the state, Union County, the question in Canter’s mind was, “has this team come of age?” Over the past two weeks, this young team has gone 11-0 and beaten the number one and sixth ranked teams in the state.

“We are getting to where I think we can be as a team,” said Canter. “The goals the coaching staff put forward for this team were to claim the number one seed for state duals, win the regional tournament and finish top five in the state. Right now, I feel like we have progressed to a point where we can indeed accomplish all three goals. To achieve all three, we have some more growth, but right now, this team has progressed a bit further than I thought we would be right now.”

Ten Mat Hawks were undefeated: Nick Paden, Caleb Canter, Ramundo Perez, Shawn Hull, Des Jakes, Bernard Ray, Steven Leake, Vince Couch, Spencer Hines and Drew Newberry.

Five Mat Hawks lost one match: J.T. Thompson, Shaquille Cox, Shelby Floyd, David Blair and Kris Sutherland.

On the weekend, the Mat Hawks went 77-18 in individual matches for an 80 percent winning percentage and scored 31 pins.