MUSCODA - Saturday night Bradon Roen won the 152-pound Division 3 state championship to become the 19th state champion in the history of Riverdale wrestling.
Bradon spent much of the second half of the season as the fourth-ranked wrestler in the state. He started his run to the title on Friday morning against the number three-ranked wrestler from Coleman. Bradon would score an early takedown and take a 2-1 lead into the second period. Bradon would extend the lead in the second period with an escape and a takedown to lead 5-1 going into the third period. In the third period Bradon would score another takedown and open up a 7-1 lead. He would close out the match in control of his opponent and score a 7-2 victory. Next up would be the second-ranked wrestler in the state from Spring Valley.
“Bradon really set a tone with the first takedown,” said Coach Jeff Campbell. “His opponent was very strong and tried to slow the match down. Bradon really turned it up in the second period and extended the lead. He hit a couple of nice drags and used his quickness to dominate the match. Bradon controlled all aspects of the match and didn’t give his opponent any opportunities to score.”
Friday night Bradon wrestled in the semifinals against an opponent that defeated him at team state two years ago and was a state runner up last year. The Spring Valley wrestler scored a takedown in the first to open up a 2-0 lead. Bradon would counter with an escape and was down 2-1 going into the second period. Bradon then scored an escape and a takedown in the second period to lead 4-2 going into the third. Bradon would ride his opponent tough for most of the period, coming close to a couple of turns. With fourteen seconds left the Spring Valley wrestler tied the match at four with a reversal and the match headed to overtime. In overtime, Bradon would score a takedown with his signature front headlock and secure a spot in his second state finals in three years.
“Tremendous match by Bradon!” exclaimed the coach. “This was a battle and both wrestlers left everything they had on the mat. Bradon looked strong late in the match and I felt he was much better conditioned in overtime. This is a testament to Bradon’s work ethic and mental toughness.”
Bradon was then set to face the top-ranked wrestler and defending state champion Mason Kaufmann of Stratford. Unfortunately, Mason suffered a virus on his lung and was hospitalized Friday night. He was not cleared to wrestle in the state finals and Bradon received a forfeit Saturday night.
“Unfortunate event for Bradon, but something that was out of his control,” Campbell said. “The young man from Stratford went home Saturday night and was doing better. Bradon was ready to wrestle Mason and I felt very confident he would have wrestled extremely well in the finals. Bradon was disappointed he was not allowed to wrestle but handled the situation like a champion.
“I am very proud of Bradon because he earned this state title by beating the best guys in his bracket. The extra time and effort he has put into the sport has paid off with the ultimate prize, a state championship! Bradon is an extremely talented wrestler, but even the most talented kids don’t always just win. Bradon puts in a lot of extra workouts during the season outside of the regular school practices.
“This is what champions do; they work while others rest. Winning a state championship is not an easy task as demonstrated at the state tournament, where many past champions didn’t even place this year. There are many people that helped get Bradon to this point. He is the first to acknowledge past coaches, wrestling partners and teammates that helped him along his journey to a championship.
“Thank you to the Avoca, Blue River and Muscoda Fire Departments for the fire truck escort through town. Also thank you to everyone that attended the gathering at the high school. Bradon and the coaching staff thank everyone that made the trip to the Kohl Center or followed on the computer or radio. We appreciate your support!”
A full recap of the season will follow in a couple of weeks, succeeding the awards banquet at the REMS on Sunday, March 13 at 1 p.m. Seniors and juniors are asked to bring a main dish while sophomores and freshmen should bring a dessert or salad.