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All Anderson County can do is leave everything it has on the mat.
The Bearcat wrestlers will be seeing how they fare against new rivals in the Region 5 Tournament, scheduled for Saturday at Western Hills High School.
The Bearcats were moved from Region 2, where perennial power LaRue County and the Hardin County schools reside, to the new region this year. If anything, Region 5 might be tougher with Woodford County, unarguably the most dominant program in the history of Kentucky High School wrestling with 13 titles, along with strong programs from Franklin County, Oldham County, South Oldham and North Oldham.
Last year, Woodford County finished fourth in the state tournament while Oldham County was eighth. Franklin County also cracked the top 20 at 19th. Louisville St. Xavier was crowned champion.
Anderson placed 38th, down 11 spots from the previous year, and only Cody Dillow, who was eliminated in the second consolation round at 152 pounds returns to the Anderson lineup.
But first-year coach David Lannum believes the Bearcats have a chance to make some noise in the regional tournament.
“We are coming along well,” said Lannum, who referenced Anderson's qualifying for the state duals tournament as a major accomplishment.
Anderson rolled past Boyle County (48-26) and Danville (48-29) on Senior Night last Thursday. Senior Chris McDaniel was impressive with a pair of wins at 138 pounds while classmate Tucker Pridemore scored a pin against Boyle and a win by forfeit against Danville. Caleb Boyles scored a pin against Boyle County and a T-fall win over Danville at 220.
Lannum believes McDaniel, who qualified for the state at 126 pounds two years ago when he went 2-2 at the tourney, should be one of the favorites in the 138-pound class. He is seeded second in the class.
Isaac Mason is also seeded second in the regional tournament at 285 pounds.
Austin Phillips is seeded third at 145 and should contend.
Pridemore is also expected to contend for a state berth at 170 and is seeded fourth. Boyles and Dillow are seeded fourth in their respective classes for the regional. The top four wrestlers from each class advance to the state.
Any other Anderson wrestler who could ultimately qualify for the state would be considered a bit of an upset, given the quality of some weight classes, but it will all be settled on the mat.
Just like it was last Thursday. “We came out with a win,” Lannum smiled. “This was our first one at home this year and it was Senior Night,” Lannum said. “It was good to have this kind of atmosphere.”
There are no reliable rankings for high school wrestling but Lannum is optimistic. “Tonight, we made some bad decisions on the mat. We will need to get that straightened out before the regional.”
Bearcats third at J-town
Anderson placed third in the Jeffersontown Duals on Saturday as McDaniel and Dillow both went 5-0 on the day. Mason and Austin Phillips both finished at 4-2 while Pridemore finished 3-2 despite running into very tough competition in his weight class.
The Bearcats defeated Louisville Western, Bullitt Central and an “all-star” team of unattached wrestlers in pool play, but lost to Simon Kenton and Wayne County in the championship rounds.
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