By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
HERSHEY - Athens freshman Gavin Bradley rallied in the final 35 seconds, including near-fall points at the buzzer, for a 5-4 win over General McLane freshman Hunter Robison to assure himself of a medal in his first trip to the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships here Friday morning at the Giant Center.
The win brought both head coach Shawn Bradley, and assistant coach Jay White to tears.
"(Gavin) has such a big heart," said White. "If you knew everything he's gone through in the last year... this has been a rough year for him away from wrestling. He needed something good, and that was really good.
"He showed so much heart to pull that out at the end," added an emotional White.
After a scoreless first period in the 106-pound third-round-of-wrestlebacks match, Robison scored a reversal when he caught Bradley riding too high and was able to slip out from behind for a 2-0 lead.
Robison rode out the final 45 seconds to carry the lead to the third period, then scored a takedown just 23 seconds into the third period for a 4-0 lead.
Bradley scored an escape with 57 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 4-1, then registered a high-crotch takedown with 35 seconds remaining to slash the deficit to 4-3.
Bradley then used a turk to turn Robison for a two-count at the buzzer to pull out the win.
White said Bradley was a little stubborn in the early stages of the bout.
"He wasn't listening to us," said White. "He was trying to go big, front headlock to a cradle and get it over with to get through to get his medal. You can't do that here, you have to win the hard way here.
"Late in the third period, he finally listened to us, and finally hit a high-crotch," added White. "He took him to his back to win it."
White said a wrestler's first match in the consolation bracket is the toughest to win.
"You're coming off a devastating loss, and your opponent is coming off a win. You may be coming out of the winner's bracket, but he's the one on a roll.
"It's a hard match to win, but Gavin did well," added White. "It's a huge win for him."
Bradley, already guaranteed an eighth-place medal, advances to face Pope John Paul II's Matt Vulakh in the first consolation round-of-4. A win there guarantees him of no worse than a sixth-place medal.
Action resumes tonight at 7:30 p.m.
IN PHOTOS: Athens freshman Gavin Bradley. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY. (PHOTOS 10-11 BY MATT PATTON.)
Print Friendly Version