Brian Brady has all the confidence in his son, Dalton, and the latter credited his father for developing him into one of the best wrestlers the state of Arizona has ever seen.
But they were at-odds heading into the state tournament.
Dalton made an unselfish decision to bump up two weight classes in order to allow the Wolves to have their most potent lineup.
Brian wasn’t sure about the decision because he knew Dalton could be giving up a chance — slight though it might have been — at history.
“I would not have done that,” Brian said. “It’s pretty cool that he did, but there is no way I’d do that. It is asking a lot.”
It turned out the elder Brady was right to be hesitant when it came to facing Cesar Chavez’s Dajour Reece in the 138-pound finals. Reece, a former state champion, stood nearly 6-foot and had about five inches on Dalton.
Leverage in wrestling, which lankiness provides, can be everything. It is easier to fight off attacks and the wingspan can make all the difference in winning a scramble.
Brady and Reece were tied heading into the third period before Brady finally secured to winning takedown to become the state’s 28th four-time champion and the Tribune’s Wrestler of the Year.
“It was tough until I figured out to drop my elevation,” Brady said afterward. “I was like ‘Thank god.’”
Though the unselfish decision to help the team didn’t pay off with a second team title for the Wolves — Chandler finished second to Tucson Sunnyside — Brady felt he made the right choice.
“I was confident,” he said. “I just knew I could handle it and took upon it myself to do it. I wanted to win my fourth but I also wanted to win our second team title just as much.”
After going 156-1 in his high school career, it is time to re-establish himself at the national and possibly international level.
Brady has big goals ahead with Fila Junior this summer, a scholarship to Utah Valley and a possible return to the Olympic Training Center in the months to come.
He lost in the quarterfinals of last year’s Fila Juniors, his first year at that age group (17 to 20), with hopes taking the next step and qualifying for the Fila Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The team trials are June 20-23 in Stillwater, Okla., to give him a chance to compete against the nation’s best.
“It’s the ultimate goal,” Brady said. “Winning four state titles was a goal for a long time but I’ve always had bigger goals out there.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.