By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Brayden Ebbs believed he should have made the finals at the Sierra Nevada Classic.
But the McNary senior didn’t let a disappointing loss in the quarterfinals keep him from finishing the 64-man, double elimination tournament strong.
Ebbs won four matches in the consolation bracket to place third at 160 pounds on Dec. 29 at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
“That’s a big thing I tried to focus on,” Ebbs said of wrestling through the consolation bracket. “My dad (McNary head coach Jason Ebbs) has told me for years and my club coaches have told me for years that once you lose if you don’t come back and get third, it’s a mental thing. A lot of kids they’ll lose a big tournament and they’ll think I should have taken first and it doesn’t even matter anymore. I just think it shows a lot of character coming back.”
Ebbs lost to Austin Watson of Thurston in the quarterfinals. Watson finished the tournament in second.
“It was a mix of a tough kid and a bad match,” Ebbs said. “I didn’t wrestle the way I should have wrestled.”
In the consolation bracket, Ebbs earned a quick pin and then won two decisions, 9-4 and 8-1, to advance to the third place match.
“I learned that I have different styles of wrestling that I can adjust to,” Ebbs said. “I just need to be able to transition into matches because usually I wrestle in an aggressive style but some kids I have to slow it down and be more strategic and technical.”
At 126 pounds, McNary junior Enrique Vincent advanced to the semifinals, where he was pinned late in the second period by Rhett Miner of Lehi, Utah.
After losing a 4-2 decision in the consolation bracket, Vincent then pinned Alex Jimenez of Escalon, Calif. to place fifth.
Blake Norton (220) and Alex Harrison (285) were both one match away from placing. Norton reached the quarterfinals and finished the tournament 3-2. Harrison went 4-2.
“I felt really good about how our kids responded in regards to focus and competition and making the most of that opportunity,” coach Ebbs said. “We had a good time. Almost everybody won some matches.”