Gilmore shoots for state championship

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 5:51 pm on Friday, February 17, 2012

Greenville senior Luke Gilmore, left, gets ready to start a match this season. Gilmore recently became a four-time conference champion in the O-K White.

GREENVILLE — When it’s all said and done, Luke Gilmore will go down as one of the best wrestlers in Greenville history.

The senior has the record and accolades to back it up.

Gilmore currently has a career record of 185-30 (37-3 this year). He is a four-time conference champion (O-K White), three-time district champion, won a regional championship and has placed at state twice.

“This is my 23rd year here and this is my first four-time conference champ,” Greenville coach Paul Johnson said. “You’re talking the likes of Tyler Keselring, Jordan Thomas and Adam Hopkins, not to mention Ike Hansen, Chris Mahar, David Cone and Adam Bonner who were all state champions They never did that.”

Thomas, a senior, would have had a great chance to win his fourth conference title this year, but was injured prior to the tournament.

Gilmore has grown quite a bit since his freshman year. He has evolved into a ripped 160-pound champion from the small 103-pounder he once was.

“When I was a three-pounder (103) my dad told coach I was going to be up there around 152/160 when I was a senior,” Gilmore said. “I didn’t believe it.”

In between, Gilmore wrestled at 119 as a sophomore and 130 a year ago. As a freshman, he placed fourth in the state and last year was eighth in the state. He did not place as a sophomore.

Coming into this year, Gilmore had two goals, one of which is still attainable.

“I wanted to reach 200 wins and win a state title,” Gilmore said. “I pulled a muscle in my leg so that took out a chance for 200 wins.”

Gilmore will still get close to the 200 mark. He is currently fourth in all-time wins at Greenville with 185. He is behind Nick Bogue (192), Tyler Keselring (197) and Thomas (currently at 210).

Gilmore will wrestle this weekend at individual regionals, team state Feb. 24 and more than likely the individual state tourney.

Reaching his goal of winning a state title will not be easy. Gilmore will have to get by St. Johns’ Jordan Wohlfert — 2010 state champion at 152.

The two are expected to meet at regionals Saturday in Mount Pleasant. Gilmore said he has to wrestle his match if he wants to win.

“Slow it down and do my thing,” Gilmore said. “I can’t let him be offensive.”

For Gilmore his four years have passed quickly. He is enjoying the finish to a great career and is happy to have been a part of a great program.

“It means quite a bit. Most kids can’t say they have been to state with their team,” Gilmore said. “It’s pretty sweet. We will make it to the semis where we will face St. Johns or Lowell.”

Gilmore is still undecided if he will continue to wrestle at the next level. The most important thing is to get his degree in physical therapy.

“I haven’t decided that yet,” Gilmore said. “I’ve talked to a few coaches, but I just want to get my degree as cheap as possible.”

Whether or not he finishes his career with a team state title, an individual title or wrestles in college, Gilmore will always be considered one of the best wrestlers ever for the Yellow Jackets.

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