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WRESTLING: Year 3 could be best yet for Tigers


It hasn’t taken long for Bardstown to become a player on the local wrestling scene. Entering just its third year as a varsity sport, the Tigers’ wrestling program already has four state qualifiers in its short history, including three last year, all of them sophomores at the time. It’s been an exciting and surprising time for Bardstown coach Jason Tilley.

“It was totally a surprise,” he said. “It’s been really great as far as building the team and really helping us elevate to that next level.”

Everybody’s back, and Bardstown has more than 30 kids participating, giving the team a chance to fill out most weight divisions, and have some competition for starting positions. More signs of a program on the rise.

“I’m really looking forward to this year,” Tilley said. “We had to start out with a young team, and they’ve grown with us each year. We’re going to be junior-heavy this year, (and) even have some seniors. I’m looking for a really good year this year.”

Junior Keldon Tilley, the coach’s son, already has two state meet appearances to his credit, and is growing into one of the team’s top leaders. He’s proud of how quickly the program has ascended.

“We’ve grown a lot over the past couple years,” he said. “We brought three people to state last year, and we’ve had a lot of success.”

Tilley qualified at 145 last year, while fellow juniors Alex Chesser (heavyweight) and Andrew Chambers (195) also made it. That experience figures to be invaluable going forward.

“It does bring a lot of confidence,” Tilley said of his trips to state. “But it’s also a lot of pressure, because I want to keep going to state.”

He said he’s gotten over the jitters that come with your first experiences at a big meet such as the state championships, and he’s in a better position to help instruct teammates who have never been before on what to expect in such a high-pressure, high-intensity situation.

Senior Nick Chesser had to stay behind last year while his younger brother, Alex, made the cut.

“It’s driving all of us to be better this year,” he said. “We’re working harder, pushing ourselves harder than we ever have before. All of us want to go to state — we want the whole team to go.”

Jason Tilley said his team is older and more mature in its third year, which figures to lead to improvement.

“That’s definitely going to help us out on the mat,” he said. “And we keep growing every year. We’re still picking up new guys every year.”

That’s another encouraging sign, Tilley said. He wondered whether the high interest early on was just a fad, with kids gravitating toward the new sport then drifting away. But it hasn’t happened that way.

“Seeing that we have consistently brought in more and more (kids) each year, I think the sky’s the limit for us,” he said.

Tilley said he’s seen several of his wrestlers, such as sophomore Sam Floyd and freshman J.T. King, work hard to improve over the summer, and several other key returnees dot the lineup. There are four wrestlers at the 220-pound weight class, which should provide a good deal of competition. Save

“We took down some really top teams (last) year,” he said. “I’m looking to see what we can do.”

Wrestler Grade
Andrew Chambers 9
Brandon Chambers 10
Alex Chesser 9
Nick Chesser 10
Sam Floyd 8
Jordan Gootee 9
J.T. King 7
Tyran Maddox 8
Ashley Reesor 8
James Render 10
Cameron Spalding 9
Keldon Tilley 9
Head Coach:  Jason Tilley
Assistant Coaches:  
Chris King
Jon Askelson 
Rachel Hodge (9)
Samantha Brown (9)

Bardstown High School

400 N. 5th Street
Bardstown, KY 40004
Phone (502) 331-8802
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