Bates secures 7th place to lead Boyle County at state wrestling tournament

Published 10:05 pm Monday, February 19, 2018

LEXINGTON — It was a day to remember for Jordan Bates, but he’s already looking forward to next year.

Bates, a junior at Boyle County, placed seventh in the state wrestling tournament in the 132-pound weight class. He won four matches — three by fall — in the consolation bracket to place seventh.

“I just really tried to push the pace today, especially in neutrals,” Bates said. “That’s my best position, just trying to wear guys down. That’s what I did in that placement match, he got tired there at the end, made a mistake and I capitalized on it.”

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In his final match for seventh place, Bates was in a 1-1 draw and wore down Sheldon Clark’s Daylon Stafford, who was 51-6 on the year entering the match.

“I think he came out ready to win a medal, that’s what I think,” Boyle head coach Joedy Burke said. “He’s wrestling his best neutral right now that I’ve seen him wrestle all year long. I think he’s going to keep getting better and better. I’m proud of what he accomplished here and that he didn’t quit after his first loss. It shows resolve, this is the hardest sport in the world to take a loss and bounce back to get a medal.”

Bates had a tough draw in the winner’s bracket, facing eventual-winner Ryan Moore in the second round. In the consolation, Bates lost to the eventual third-place wrestler, Gentry Deck of Madison Central.

“I think it just shows grit, shows his determination to bounce back and stay focused,” assistant coach Seth Lucas said. “I’ve never seen him that focused, even at some of the national tournaments we went to over the summer. He was on a different level here in the last three matches. He was ready to go.”

But Bates won’t make excuses. He was happy with earning a medal in a tough state tournament and is already itching for a return to the podium next year.

“I’ve been in this atmosphere a couple of times, I went to some national tournaments over the summer,” he said. “But medaling, I’d like to thank God, giving me the ability to do that. But I came here to get first, finish at the top of the podium and I fell short of that. I’m still not satisfied, I’ve got next year.”

His coaches said that he’s got the drive to finish in that top spot — and could lead some other Rebels on the way.

“He’s got his sight on first, and he’s not done,” Burke said. “The fact that he came back and finished, kept driving, shows that he’s not done and he’s still looking for the top of the podium. He’s capable of achieving it, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but that’s something that he’s willing to put in.”

The Rebels were well-represented on day one, sending six wrestlers to the state tournament. Kevin Missildine (106), Derrick Witmer (138), Isaiah Isaac (152), Benjamin Rush (182) and Cobey Blackwell (195) all joined Bates at the state tournament at AllTech Arena in Lexington.

Rush was the only other member of the team to make it to the second day — and Burke is excited to see what the freshman can do in the future.

“Rush is a freshman, and he’s competing at the 182-pound weight class, which has a lot of upperclassmen in it to begin with,” he said. He did well, for his experience level. He didn’t quit. I liked what I saw out of him, he’s got a bright future in Boyle County wrestling. We just need to keep working on him, get him some work in the offseason. He’s going to the podium one day as long as he puts in the work.”