Call Sports Editor
TRENTON — Piqua sophomore wrestler Hunter Bryant didn’t cone to the Edgewood Invitational looking for a silver medal.
And it may have taken all six minutes of his championship match at 152 pounds with Nick King of Edgewood to finish off his title quest — but a takedown in the final five seconds gave him a dramatic 4-3 victory and his first tournament title.
“I had never wrestled for first and second before,” Bryant said after getting a congratulatory hug from his brother Kyle. “It was go big or go home.”
It was deja vu for Piqua wrestling coach Scott Kaye.
“It reminded me of some of the matches his brother Kyle won in the closing seconds,” Kaye said. “You can’t always rely on being able to turn the guy. Hunter (Bryant) just wore him down and it paid off in the end.”
After neither wrestler had scored in the opening period, Bryant started down in the second period and escaped with a minute left in the period to go up 1-0.
King chose down to start the third period and Bryant let him up to make it 1-1.
King got a takedown midway through the period to go up 3-1 midway through the period, before Bryant escaped to make it 3-2.
“I figured I might as well go for broke,” Bryant said.
He began working a move and pulled it off just before the final buzzer.
“I could hear him gasping so I knew he was gassed,” Bryant said. “I heard coach (Scott) Kaye and my dad (assistant coach Scott Bryant) yell five seconds so I figured I better do it.”
Bryant’s semifinal match against state qualifier Joe Miller of Wayne was just as impressive.
Bryant had advanced to that match with a decision and first-period pin.
“He (Joe Miller) is a really tough guy,” Bryant said. “He is a state qualifier.”
Again, the first period was scoreless.
Bryant started down in the second period and could not escape, leaching the match scoreless going to the third period.
Again, he elected to let Miller up and go down 1-0.
“He is a strong guy,” Bryant said. “I need I couldn’t ride him for the whole period.”
Bryant got a takedown with a minute left in the match and Miller was unable to escape to send Bryant to the dramatic title match.
“Those were two big wins by Hunter (Bryant) today,” Kaye said. “The kid from Wayne is a state qualifier. Hunter wore them down and it paid off in the end.”
Jesse Ceyler (106) had two wins, including a pin, and finished fourth.
Jake Hetzler (285) finished fifth and had two pins; while Caje Kindred (145) finished sixth with three wins and a pin.
Finishing seventh were Blake Wright (170) and Desmond Carter (285), while Brandon Gist (132) finished eighth.
Wright and Carter both recorded two pins.
“We had some young guys that did a lot of good things,” Kaye said. “It was good experience.”
Piqua will be back in action Thursday, wrestling at the Middletown quad with Wayne and Eaton.