COLUMBIA — Brenya Crahan gained a bit of redemption and put herself back on the winning track Saturday at the Girls State Wrestling Championships.
The Nixa junior took her first step toward what she hopes will lead to a road to another state championship by bouncing back in the wrestle-backs and placement rounds to finish third at 135 pounds.
The two-time state champion’s bid to become Nixa’s first four-time state champion ended with a quarterfinal loss Friday. Crahan (51-1) fell 8-0 in quarterfinal round to Washington’s Annelise Obermark, who went on to take second.
“Losing this is losing my only opportunity at being a four-time State champion,” Crahan said. “That’s what I wanted to accomplish. One of the things I've always worked for flew away from me. It sucks. I woke up (Saturday) morning and was still upset — 'It did happen, it wasn't a dream.'”
Crahan said she was surprised by Obermark’s aggressiveness at the outset.
“She took me down right away and I think it freaked me out a little bit,” Crahan said. “I didn't know how to recover and she did the same thing again. Going into the second period, I was thinking, 'I'm fine, I can pin her.' But in the last five seconds the defeat kind of sunk in and I was like, ‘Dang.’ I was very upset.”
Crahan beat Lebanon’s Taylor Johnson 5-1 in their third-place match.
It was a test of Crahan’s resolve to put herself in position to compete Saturday.
“I started warming up and thought, 'I'm here for a reason, I need to do this for myself and not just blow it away for one match,’” she said. “I had to get my mind right and know this happened for a reason and learn from it so I can come back and be better.”
Next season, Crahan will try to join Ashlynn Eli as three-time state champions for the Lady Eagles.
Nixa’s Addison Harkins (45-6) finished as the 115 runner-up. The freshman was pinned in 1:26 by Washington’s Kendra Bliss in their title tilt.
The Lady Eagles’ Caly Dupree (48-6) was third at 165, after she won 3-0 against Ray-Pec’s Brynn Elkins. Dupree was pinned in 1:03 in the semifinal round by eventual champion Haley Ward, of Osage.
Kelsey Watts (43-7) was fourth at 120.
Ozark’s Maelynn Sundlie (43-10) earned the Lady Tigers’ first medal by placing sixth at 120.