Good Counsel’s Thomas wins a national title — and lets it speak for itself
Bailey Thomas didn’t have a plan for a postmatch celebration if he won a National Prep Championship title Saturday. But the Good Counsel senior knew what he wouldn’t do: He would not clap for himself, and he would not point to the crowd.
Thomas prefers to let his wrestling speak for him. And so after his 8-6 ultimate rideout win over Tennessee wrestler Mason Reiniche in Bethlehem, Pa., he chose the humble route and simply walked off the mat.
But he couldn’t deny hugs from his mother, Sherry, or his coach, Skylar Saar.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, since probably last year,” Thomas said of winning a national title. “I’ve kind of had tunnel vision since then.”
Thomas’s victory was not without drama. With the score tied at 6 after three periods and overtime, the match went to a rideout. Reiniche scored on a reversal, but Thomas evened it up with a reversal of his own to send the national final to an ultimate rideout.
Since he scored first in the match, Thomas earned the right to start on bottom. He escaped and clinched the win.
One of Thomas’s Falcons teammates, Brady Daniel, wasn’t as fortunate Saturday. He lost to New Jersey’s Chase Singletary, 10-0, in the 220-pound final.
“Singletary’s the best guy in the country,” Thomas said. “He basically just dominates everyone.”
St. Mary’s Ryken junior King Sandoval also came up short in the finals. Competing at nationals for the third time but in a championship bout for the first, Sandoval focused throughout the tournament on maintaining a positive mind-set and not getting caught up in the moment.
But when he stepped to the center of the mat in the 120pound final against Pennsylvania’s Beau Bartlett, he felt his heart beating faster as the crowd looked on.
“You’re in the center. You’re in the spotlight,” Sandoval said. “You have to keep your mentality and keep your emotions under control.”
Sandoval lost, 6-2, but as he traveled home afterward, he said he was already starting to think about the future.
He plans to start training in freestyle and Greco-Roman style next week in preparation for the summer. And after that, he will have one more opportunity to win a national title as a senior.
“Losing is unfortunate and heartbreaking for someone who made it all the way to the finals,” Sandoval said. “I’m still so honored to have been in the final.”
Singletary’s school, Blair Academy, finished first with 306 points.