Good Coun­sel’s Thomas wins a na­tional ti­tle — and lets it speak for it­self

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - NA­TIONAL PREP CHAM­PI­ONSHIP WRESTLING BY JOSHUA NEEDELMAN joshua.needelman@wash­post.com

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.

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