By Ben Robinson
COLUMBUS — Versailles wrestling is about “family” as head coach AJ Bey and assistant coaches Jerry Bey and Joey Brandt have groomed their wrestlers for years from the youth program until they walk off the mat as seniors.
Which made it for a very emotional Saturday morning as they watched two seniors, Preston Platfoot and Jeffrey Ware, win their final high school matches at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
“It’s very emotional for us because we are so close to the kids,” said coach AJ Bey while attempting to hold back tears to no avail. “We are a small community and we see these kids since they are five or six years old grow up with our own kids. When you have that type of a connection with kids, it really gets emotional when it’s over.”
Which is why there were hugs and tears shared between coaches and wrestlers after Platfoot and Ware both won their final matches at state.
“I don’t think they will completely realize how big this is until about ten years from now,” Bey said. “Not too many people can say they won their final match of their high school career in this arena. That’s something to be very proud of.”
And both wrestlers finished seventh to join a long list of state placers whoes names are proudly displayed on the wall at Versailles High School.
“Their names go up on the wall with every other state placer at Versailles,” Bey said. “They will be up there for every kid who comes through our program to see and hopefully want to join them some day.”
Platfoot took to the mat first at 138 pounds on Saturday against Cael Rowland of West Salem Northwestern. He scored a big takedown early and cruised to a 4-1 win. Platfoot concluded his senior season with a 48-19 record.
Ware followed nearly and hour later at 285 pounds against Joe Warren of Smithville, who had defeated him 4-3 in the opening round of the tournament. But, like Platfoot, Ware used a big takedown to take control of the match en route to a 4-2 win. He finishes his senior campaign with a 48-11 record.
“We’re very proud of them,” summarized Bey. “They worked hard for this.”
Which made for an emotional ending to the 2017-18 wrestling season for Versailles wrestling.