DARKE COUNTY – Jon Edwards and Kayla Linkous had quite a bit in common this year.
Edwards, a wrestler for Greenville, and Linkous, a girls basketball player for Tri-Village, both are seniors. They both made a trip to Columbus for their state tournaments this season. They both will be remembered as among the best athletes in their programs’ history.
Now, they share another commonality as they have been named the 2011-12 Darke County winter sports MVPs.
Edwards, who was a state-placer as a freshman, made it back to the state competition this year as a senior. The Green Wave senior, who wrestled in the 152-pound weight class, didn’t place this year, but he put together another great season.
Edwards led Darke County wrestlers in wins, technical falls, takedowns and near falls this season. He ended the year with 238 takedowns, 19 technical falls, 14 decisions, 44 wins, 19 reversals, 54 near falls and 11 falls.
“He had a really great year,” Greenville wrestling coach John Shutts said. “He really put it all together.”
Edwards was named the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division wrestler of the year and second team all-area in Division II by the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association. He won his sectional and district tournaments.
He faced a tough weight class at the state meet and was sick, which showed in his wrestling, Shutts said. Even though he wasn’t feeling 100 percent, he still was very competitive throughout the tournament and just went about his business, as he always does, Shutts said.
“He’s a pretty good competitor that he didn’t use that as a crutch or excuse,” Shutts said. “He just knew that it didn’t work out.”
Edwards also put his name all over the Greenville wrestling record book this year as he finished his career with 166 career wins. He also broke many other records throughout the season and his career.
“Jon has set the bar pretty high,” Shutts said. “He ranks right up there with the best guys we’ve ever had here at Greenville. He’s such as good kid, too.”
Linkous showed she was one of the best basketball players in Ohio her senior season, earning Division IV co-player of the year honors from the AP. She also was the Cross County Conference girls basketball player of the year among a plethora of awards she received.
“I am going to sound like a broken record here, but Kayla is very deserving of everything she gets because she has earned it with all the time and effort she has put in,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “It is very rewarding to see her get recognized for that hard work.”
Linkous led all Darke County basketball players with 25.6 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game this season.
“Her consistency through her four years here has been astonishing,” Gray said. “Evidence of that is her career numbers that she has put up and the numerous post season awards she has achieved.”
The senior also helped lead Tri-Village to the state final four for the first time in school history this season.
“I am proud of what Kayla has done, not only individually, but as a teammate as well,” Gray said. “Her individual success has led to a high level of team success for the Lady Patriot basketball program. She has been an example that our young kids can look up to, and I certainly hope that our young kids have recognized her hard work and choose to follow the same path that Kayla has.”