KISSIMMEE – With Clay High junior Peyton Hughes stealing headlines with his gold medal wrestling performance at Saturday’s Class 1A championships in Kissimmee, senior Connor Green was slowly …
KISSIMMEE – With Clay High junior Peyton Hughes stealing headlines with his gold medal wrestling performance at Saturday’s Class 1A championships in Kissimmee, senior Connor Green was slowly inching his way back into the spotlight for Blue Devil wrestling lore.
“He had a pretty massive injury to recover from in his junior year and it was iffy if he was going to return,” said Clay coach Jim Reape. “He’s a tough kid and worked hard through the therapy to get it done. Today’s the proof that makes it a good story.”
Also with Green on the podium for Clay was senior Kurt Jackson, wno lost in the 195 final via pin to Lake Highland Prep’s Logan Andrew; Stevie Chopek at 120, who lost in the final to Lake Highland Prep’s Nic Bouzakis; a fifth place finish from Abbott Taylor at 182 to a 4-1 decision to American Heritage’s Mikey Tal Shahar, and a sixth for Daniel Porter at 113 with a pin to Carson Kirk of Astronaut.
Green, returning the the Blue Devil lineup after knee and shoulder surgeries, blasted through the 160 lineup to earn a bronze medal after losing by pin in the semifinal to eventual runnerup Colin Nation, a freshman from Tampa Prep with a 46-5 record. Nation was younger brother to Troy Nation, whom Hughes beat in the 138 final.
“I knew what it would take to make a comeback on the mat,” said Green, who finishes at 39-5. “I was wrestling strong mentally in the beginning knowing that the injuries would make things painful and sore. I just tried to push through it.”
In his opening two matches, Green displayed no recoil from his standard strong-armed throwing tactics and aggressive pushes into opponents to win by pin and a 15-2 major decision.
“I kept thinking ‘this is feeling good’,” said Green. “In the semi, I just got caught and he pinned.”
Green quickly made the mental adjustment to ready himself for a run at a medal; being sixth two years ago, and stepped into the consolation final with a 12-2 major decision over Osvani Ley, a 52-3 senior from Cardinal Gibbons.
“Made all the therapy and training worthwhile,” said Green.
“From there, I knew I was okay and the aches and pains would not stop me,” said Green.
Also wrestling for Clay were Cale Hoskinson at 126 (0-2); Gabe Peddycord at 132 (0-2); Dylan Taylor at 152 (1-2); Carson Yost at 170 (1-2) and Ryan Rivers at 285 (1-2).