DETROIT, Mich. — As Brett Stanley's first match at the individual wrestling finals went along Friday afternoon at Ford Field, it just seemed like something was missing.
As it turned out, it was enough to land the De La Salle Collegiate junior in a bit of trouble. And the match ended in a 10-3 loss.
But Stanley used it as fuel, fighting back to win a pair of 160-pound consolation matches to guarantee himself of a Top 8 finish and a second straight state medal.
"He definitely looked good (in those matches), definitely a controlling match for him," coach Dennis Parks said. "He scored right away. If he doesn't come out right away and score within 20 seconds, he doesn't wrestle well. At this level, there are no easy matches. If he doesn't score in those first 20 or 30 seconds, the tempo slows down and it kind of works against him."
Stanley led 2-0 early in that first match against Dearborn Edsel Ford's Ty Wyka before surrendering the lead in the second period. From that point on, Wyka controlled the match and forced Stanley into a few mistakes which cost him.
"It definitely woke him up," Parks said. "That was the first match of the day and we're already four hours into the day before he wrestles. A lot of things go into a match like that. But (Wyka) was tough, no doubt about it."
Stanley won his first consolation match, 12-3, over Rockford's Josh Hill. He then defeated Holt's Nathan Bremer, 7-1, in the blood round, earning him another day of wrestling and guaranteeing him of a medal finish.
His teammate, Kenneth Ryder, struggled a bit and dropped both of his matches on Friday. He had a tough draw, falling by way of a pin in his opening match against Detroit Catholic Central's Manuel Rojas, who went on to win two more matches and is in the championship final at 189 pounds. He then lost, by fall, to Caledonia's Bryce Briggs.
The losses end what can only be called a lost season of sorts. Ryder was cruising along before coming down with mononucleosis about 6-8 weeks ago. He missed the better part of a month and even upon his return, he just didn't have the energy to compete at his usual high level.
"It definitely continued to affect him," Parks said. "He's only had really a handful of practices over the past month. And they really haven't been quality practices. He needs to be 100 percent. He's not the kind of guy that can go in there at 75 percent. And if he's 75 or 80 percent right now, I'd be surprised."
Ryder finishes his season 25-5 overall. He captured a few tournament championships, including the Macomb County Invitational.
Stanley will return to the mat first thing Saturday morning against Traverse City Central's Remy Cotton (41-9 overall).