Cruickshanks with title and MOW award. Allen Hamrick photo.

The Panther wrestling team was in Calhoun County for the LKC Championships on Saturday. The Panthers are a good team but still have a ways to go before they are in championship form again. Some of the toughest teams in the state are in the LKC, and this year they had some talent to go head to head with. Most of the Panther team put up a good fight and four of them went into the final rounds.

Jacob Miklos and Blake Sontos wrestled for 3rd and 4th, and Joel Cruikshanks and Colton Casto wrestled for the championship in their weight classes. The team placed 7th overall with 12 teams participating. Braxton ran away with the tournament taking first place. That being said, one of the most anticipated matches came in the 152 pound class that pitted Joel Cruikshanks against Adam Reichard. Joel had 39 wins with just five losses. Adam was in at 45 wins and six losses.  This match was set to be a brawl from the first whistle, and it was. Adam had bested Joel twice in their three previous meetings. This time would be different.

Colton Casto battling for the championship. Allen Hamrick photo.

The match went the full six minutes, and the score was tied.  It took three overtimes to get the decision, but Joel got an escape with seconds ticking off and won the LKC championship at 152 pounds.  It was a nail biting win with both wrestlers giving it all they had.  Joel also captured the MOW award (Most Outstanding Wrestler). Colton Casto was next up at 182 pounds.  He was up against one of the best, Josh Mason of Ritchie County.  Both Colton and Josh had similar records, Colton at 37-5, and Josh at 33-5.  It was a good match, but when the smoke cleared, it was Josh Mason getting the decision by the score of 13-8. So all in all, the Panthers had one champion, one second place finish and two fourth place finishes.

The Panther wrestling team. Allen Hamrick photo.

The Panthers will be at Braxton High School for regional competition  this Saturday. This will determine who goes to the state championships. The top four finishers in each weight bracket will move on. Congratulations to Joel Cruikshanks and the rest of the team. Go Panthers!