A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Prep Sports Notebook: Ryle senior wrestler wins fourth consecutive state championship

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Ryle senior Cole Thomas joined an elite list of Northern Kentucky high school wrestlers by winning his fourth consecutive state championship on Saturday at George Rogers Clark High School.

Thomas won the 132-pound state title match against Walton-Verona senior Isaac Thornton, 5-3, to end his senior season with a 52-1 record. Thomas also won matches against Thornton in the region and semi-state finals.

Cole Thomas

Noah Duke

Thomas was named the state tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. The only other Northern Kentucky wrestlers who finished their careers with four state titles were Robbie Clarkston of Conner in 1981 and Austin Meyers of Campbell County in 2015.

Ryle senior Noah Duke won the 175-pound state title for the second straight year with a 12-1 decision over Lane Kiser of Louisville Trinity on Saturday. Duke finished the season with a 55-2 record that included a loss to Kiser during the regular season.

Duke holds the Ryle team record for most career wins with a 239-24 record. Thomas also won more than 200 matches for the Raiders, who placed third in the team standings at Saturday’s state tournament.

The second-place finishers in the state finals included Conner sophomore Sebastian Vega (106), Walton-Verona freshman T.J. Meyer (120), Ryle senior Joseph Sander (126) and Campbell County senior Jonah Bowers (138).

The local wrestlers who ended the season with victories in third-place matches were  Simon Kenton freshman Jonah McCloskey (106), Ryle senior Carter Messerly (157) and Covington Catholic senior Kaleb Kiely (285).

106 — Jayden Raney (Union County) over Sebastian Vega (Conner), 17-1
120 — Breyden Whorton (LaRue County) over T.J. Meyer (Walton-Verona), 4-2
126 — Trayce Eckman (Union County) over Joseph Sander (Ryle), 12-6
132 — Cole Thomas (Ryle) over Isaac Thornton (Walton-Verona), 5-3
138 — Eli Peyton (Paducah Tilghman) over Jonah Bowers (Campbell County), 8-4
175 — Noah Duke (Ryle) over Lane Kiser (Louisville Trinity), 12-1

Ryle senior linebacker receives “That’s My Boy” football award

Ryle senior linebacker Gabe Savage, the leading tackler in Northern Kentucky high school football this season, received the Brian Williams “That’s My Boy” Award that goes to the top student-athlete among local football players.

Gabe Savage

A rating system that awards points for achievements in football, academics and extra curricular activities is used to decide the winner of the award named in honor of a former CovCath football player who lost his life in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York City.

Savage, who will continue his football career at West Point Academy, made 154 tackles (69 solo, 85 assisted) in 13 games for an 11.8 average that ranked among the state’s top 20. He also played running back for Ryle, rushing for 364 yards and scoring 26 points.

His resume includes a 4.0 GPA that made him a member of the National Honor Society and a 31 ACT score. He’s a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Boy Scouts of America.

The other finalists for award were Newport Central Catholic linebacker and wide receiver Dom Morgan and two-way linemen Sam Epplen of Covington Catholic and Thomas Sayers of Brossart.

Fookes, Mueller selected for induction into KHSAA Hall of Fame

Two of Northern Kentucky’s most successful high school coaches will be among this year’s inductees into the Dawahare’s/KHSAA Hall of Fame at a ceremony on May 15 in Lexington.

Boone County girls basketball coach Nell Fookes and Highlands football coach Dale Mueller are among the 17 men and women to be added to the state’s high school hall of fame. This year’s class combines two years of nominees because no inductions were made last year due to the pandemic.

Fookes spent 30 years as coach of the Boone County girls basketball team. Her teams compiled a 686-255 record and won nine 9th Region championships. She ranks third in career wins among Kentucky girls basketball coaches and retired with a 72.9 winning percentage.

Mueller led Highlands football teams to 11 state championships in his 20 seasons as head coach. Some of his teams were ranked nationally after going undefeated. He retired with a 250-36 record at Highlands and 309-67 record overall for an 82.2 winning percentage.

More information on this year’s hall of fame inductees is available on the khsaa.org website.


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