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High school wrestling: Carthage’s Brady seeks second chance

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CARTHAGE — Shayne Brady sat in a dark, empty hallway in the back of the Times Union Center in Albany a year ago.

Brady had his head in his hands after losing a 6-3 decision in the Division I, 170-pound state championship match.

But he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself, and he wasn’t thinking about how he had just become the first wrestler in the history of the Carthage program to compete in a state title match, which he reached with a 4-3 overtime victory in a thrilling semifinal match just a few hours earlier.

Instead, Brady was beginning to shift his focus to this season, where the senior will enter this weekend’s state tournament as the top seed in the 182-pound Division I bracket.

“I was thinking that I didn’t work hard enough, and I didn’t wrestle good and I wasn’t the best in the state,” Brady said. “It was kind of depressing to think that, but it was knowing that I still had a lot to work on and I wasn’t quite there yet. I thought I was, but I wasn’t, and I had a lot more to do.”

Brady is 32-1 as he enters his third straight state tournament, which begins with the preliminaries and quarterfinal rounds on Friday, with semifinals, consolations and championship matches scheduled for Saturday at the Times Union Center.

He has 205 career wins, more than any wrestler in Carthage history.

For the second straight year, Brady won a Frontier League, Section 3 Division I and Section 3 Class A title.

And in a way, Brady believes it all goes back to that loss in the state final.

“I haven’t had that title yet and I want it,” said Brady, who will wrestle for Division I North Carolina State next year.

“Instead of getting it (last year), then kind of coasting through to try and get it again and not really work as hard toward it. It made me work really hard and want it more.”

“You hate to say it, but I think in a way it helped him,” Carthage coach Don Dorchester said. “It kind of gave him that drive and showed him what he needed to do to get better. It fueled him over the summer and through the whole offseason, and it kind of gave him that edge that you need.”

Brady’s only loss this year came by injury default in the finals of the Herkimer Tournament on Dec. 8.

Brady said that his knee popped while scrambling to avoid a takedown, and he eventually learned that he strained a ligament in his knee.

He missed a tournament and a dual meet, but was back to winning matches a few weeks later.

“He’s in a good place,” Dorchester said of the senior. “He’s mentally prepared. He’s been battle-tested. Obviously it’s the state tournament and everyone is going to be good, but I think Shayne is at the head of that class.”

And while Brady will finish his high school wrestling career this weekend as the school’s first wrestler to reach a state final and possibly its initial state champion, he hopes he won’t be the last.

“It means quite a bit to me,” Brady said.

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