INDIANAPOLIS — Brown County’s Bristen Dial didn’t end his high school wrestling career as a state champ, but he certainly didn’t go out like a chump, either.
Dial battled up until the bitter end, which came at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night with a 6-3 first-round defeat against Joey Blakeley of Prairie Heights, who came in ranked eighth in the state.
“That’s what you come to state for — to battle to the very last second,” Brown County coach Mark Bruner said. “At least he went out going after it.”
Dial took a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown, but Blakeley got one point back with an escape and then tied the match by escaping from the down position at the start of the second.
Midway through the second period, Blakeley scored a takedown to go ahead, 4-2. Dial opened the third with an escape to get back within a point, but was still facing a deficit as the clock ticked down inside of 15 seconds.
Eventually, Dial needed to gamble, and when he did, Blakeley was able to counter and seal the match with another takedown.
“He’s a good wrestler,” Dial said of Blakeley. “He’s definitely going to be going places next year.”
Though Dial was disappointed not to make it back for Saturday’s quarterfinals and place, Bruner hoped that his senior standout would emerge with his head held high.
“I’m very proud of him,” Bruner said. “He’s had a great career.”