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By JOSH CLAYWELL email@example.com
In a year when his team was as young as ever, Gary Canter knew who he could always turn to when he needed an extra coach on the mat.
Dez Jakes may not have been the most vocal leader for the LaRue County Hawks, Canter said, but his actions spoke louder than his words.
So much so that the six area wrestling coaches voted Jakes the Wrestler of the Year on the 2009 installment of The News-Enterprise All-Area Wrestling Team.
“He’s not a vocal leader, but he is a kid you can hang your hat on,” Canter said. “You know when he goes out on the mat he’s going to give you everything he’s got. He was worthy of a win every time he went out.
“It’s a good honor because we’re in a heck of an area for wrestling. For the other coaches to recognize his abilities is a great honor,” Canter added.
A 152-pound senior, Jakes received two first-place votes and 14 points to edge Central Hardin sophomore Kyle Terry, who had two firsts and 13 points. North Hardin senior Marcell Haynes finished third with one first and 10 points, while Meade County junior Tyler Crow received the other first-place vote.
Jakes joins his cousin Ozzy Parker, the 2005 and 2006 Wrestler of the Year, Darwin Perez (2007) and Scott Cooper (2003) as LaRue County wrestlers to win the award since the All-Area team’s inception in 2002.
“That feels real good, because there are quite a few kids in our area. To be considered the top wrestler is pretty good,” Jakes said.
Jakes was one of only two area wrestlers to advance to the finals of the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships last month in Frankfort – John Hardin junior Jordan Murphy was the other.
Jakes lost to Union County senior Issac Ervin in the championship bout, 7-3. Ervin beat Jakes twice, and was one of only three wrestlers to beat Jakes, who finished with a record of 45-4.
“Obviously it was a very good year for him,” Canter said. “He had one mess up early in the year, and I think it was a good thing. It helped him bounce back and it helped him focus. After that loss, he focused and he did really well.”
Even though he didn’t win a state championship, Jakes said making it to the state finals is the best memory of his career.
“I was so excited after I won, I couldn’t even speak,” Jakes said. “(In the finals) I guess I just didn’t perform and he (Ervin) did. I probably could have wrestled with him better, but it is what it is.”
Jakes wants to wrestle in college, and said Campbellsville University and Lindsey Wilson College are recruiting him.
Campbellsville has a solid history on the NAIA level, while Lindsey Wilson is just starting its wrestling program.
And while Canter knows Jakes can’t pass up an opportunity to compete at the next level, he would love for Jakes to have another year in high school.
“More than anything, it’ll be the leadership he brings as a senior,” Canter said. “We’re going to be a young team just like we were this year, and it’s just hard to replace seniors. He’s got a lot of experience, and there’s no replacement for experience.”
SOPHOMORE OF THE YEAR. After winning a region championship and placing sixth at State, Kyle Terry didn’t think his year could get any better.
Well, it did.
Terry was unanimously voted the Sophomore of the Year, racking up 25 points on five first-place votes.
“That makes me feel great. It’s a great way to cap off my season,” Terry said.
Terry beat LaRue County’s Shaquille Cox (12 points, one first-place vote) and Meade County’s Brandon Scott (11, one) to become Central Hardin’s first award winner since former grappler Joe Berrow was named Wrestler of the Year in 2004.
“Coming in I knew he’d do well. His attitude and work ethic are hard to beat,” Central Hardin coach Russ Pike said. “There aren’t that many kids that have that dedication as sophomores.”
A loss to North Hardin junior Terrence Demery early in the season was the turning point for Terry, Pike said.
“I think it let him realize what kind of potential he has. That first time he lost to him kind of fueled him,” Pike said. “Terrence capitalized on the mistakes Kyle made. If he (Terry) makes a mistake, he works his butt off to make sure he doesn’t make that mistake again.”
After that loss, Terry went 2-1 against Demery, including wins at the second round of the Region 2 Duals in early January and in the finals of the Region 2 Tournament.
Terry didn’t lose a match until State, when he lost in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket. He went 4-3 at State, and would love nothing more than to improve upon that finish next season.
“This is probably the best season I’ve had. It was great to be up on that podium with all those guys at State,” Terry said. “I want to come back and win regions again and try to be in the state finals next year.”
COACH OF THE YEAR. Since starting the program in 2006, Bob Davis has guided the Meade County Green Wave to unparalleled success for such a young team.
Following a fifth-place finish in the 2006-07 season, the Green Wave won the Region 3 Tournament in 2007-08 and finished second this season.
And after finishing third in the voting last season, Davis was named Coach of the Year this season. Davis received four first-place votes and 21 points, beating last year’s co-Coaches of the Year in Central Hardin’s Russ Pike (12 points, two first-place votes) and John Hardin’s Adam Lindsey (nine points).
“What’s wrong with them?” Davis asked, clearly joking. “It feels great, especially when you’re picked by a bunch of coaches like that. Those are quality coaches in the 2nd Region over there. They’re a good group of guys. To be picked by them, it’s an honor.
“It makes me feel great, especially when it comes from those guys. It’s one of the dominant regions in the state,” Davis said. “The 2nd Region is tough … they beat each other up every year. Look at Canter and (North Hardin coach Keith) Smith and Lindsey and Pike, those guys have been it at for years. It’s a great thing, and I’ll cherish it.”
ALL-AREA TEAM. Meade County junior Tyler Crow and John Hardin junior Josh Johnson were top vote getters for the first team. Joining them were North Hardin senior Marcell Haynes; Fort Knox senior Sean Garcia-Chavez; Central Hardin sophomore Kyle Terry; John Hardin junior Jordan Murphy; and LaRue County freshman Nick Paden.
Making the eight-member second team were LaRue County freshman Bernard Ray; Central Hardin sophomore Robert Robey; John Hardin junior Glenn Frost; LaRue County senior Dez Jakes; John Hardin junior Kirby Goodwine; Meade County senior Tanner Cole; LaRue County sophomore Shaquille Cox; and LaRue County senior Justin Thompson.
VOTING PROCESS. Voting for individual awards was done on a 5-3-1 scale, with five points being awarded for a first-place vote. Voting for the All-Area team was done on a 14-13-12-etc. scale, with 14 being the best. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own wrestlers or themselves.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752