MURRAY— Now that dead-period has officially ended, the Kentucky Lake Wrestling Team is buckling down and preparing to attend the Bluegrass Games on July 27.
Head Coach Chris McWherter said, “This will be the fourth year that I have carried kids from Kentucky Lake Wrestling Club to the Bluegrass Games.”
This tournament is different from others in that it is an open tournament, meaning all age levels are eligible to compete. Colby Culver and Isaiah Frank, two Calloway graduates, will be returning to the mat and competing in the open division this year.
Colby Culver was the state runner-up in 2017.
“Culver has slimmed down from his high school days when he wrestled at the 220-pound weight class. At last weigh-in, he was under 195 pounds,” McWherter said.
It will be interesting to see how Culver competes at this new weight.
In 2014, Isaiah Frank was the first state-placer in Calloway County High School Wrestling history.
“Frank won his weight class last season at the tournament and will be using this as a return to competitive wrestling,” McWherter said.
Besides giving graduates the chance to compete, the Bluegrass Games also gives high school wrestlers the opportunity to get better and see where they stand.
“For me, it represents a good measuring stick to see where you are at across the state heading into the next season,” McWherter said.
McWherter has been running open gyms throughout the summer and several athletes have been putting in work to prepare for the Bluegrass Games.
As an eighth-grader, Patrick Powers qualified for middle school state last season. He has been working hard both in the weight room and on the wrestling mat.
“He is doing a lot of work to make the transition from middle school to high school wrestling, and I am interested to see how he competes,” McWherter said.
Returning middle school state finalist and two-time state qualifier Keaton Elliot is back in the wrestling room working as well. Elliot said he is planning on getting first at the Bluegrass Games.
“He missed last season and will be looking to re-establish himself as one of the best lightweights in western Kentucky,” McWherter said.
Upcoming junior Nick Watters qualified for state last season as a first year-wrestler.
“Watters has put on a lot of lean muscle mass and seen some strength gains,” McWherter said. “He is continuing to develop as a wrestler, and I look forward to seeing his progression.”
Last summer, over half of the team placed in the top three in their weight class.
“I would expect us to experience the same level of success,” McWherter said. “I think this tournament is a jumping-off point for the season – nothing more, nothing less. You never know who may or may not be there from across the state. We show up and wrestle whoever is there. The experience is great for our kids to have.”