High School Wrestling

Tompkins’ Bryant goes back-to-back as undefeated state champ

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 4/25/21

To Kaitlyn Bryant, the UIL Class 6A state wrestling final on Saturday was just another match.

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High School Wrestling

Tompkins’ Bryant goes back-to-back as undefeated state champ

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To Kaitlyn Bryant, the UIL Class 6A state wrestling final on Saturday was just another match.

A been-here, done-that feeling for the Tompkins senior.

And while she was nervous, as she typically is before matches, Bryant was also cool, calm and poised in defending her 165-pound title and making it back-to-back seasons as an undefeated state champ.

“I thought she performed extremely well,” Tompkins coach Derek Ankney said. “The idea of not only winning a state title but trying to repeat and to do so in another undefeated season, that’s a tremendous amount of pressure at a very high level. How she wrestled was extremely measured. She took the opportunities that were given to her and was just really smart.”

Bryant defeated Clear Falls’ Camryn Tresler by decision, 7-1, at the Berry Center in Cypress to finish 24-0. She is the only Falcon to win a state wrestling championship.

“Get back to state and win it,” Bryant said of her mindset. “You still just have to step out and wrestle. I feel I’ve definitely improved some, but in the end,  I do everything the same.”

Nerves weren’t enough to overcome Bryant’s will.

“The other girl (Tresler) was very strong with hand ties, but I wanted to win,” Bryant said. “It’s my senior year, my final match. I wanted to take the gold.”

She did that, and in doing so helped the Falcons finish second to Allen in the 6A girls team standings. Tompkins seniors Lily Broadrick and Nicole Blinn finished second in their respective classes, the 119-pound and 185-pound divisions.

“It’s been beyond fulfilling to watch all these girls grind every single day and make it this far and show everyone that we worked so hard to get where we are,” Bryant said. “I love watching this team wrestle. It’s the coaching, it’s the work, it’s the mindset. Everybody wants it, and they want to improve. That’s what made us who we are.”

Bryant was a naturally aggressive athlete when she was a freshman. As a soccer player, she’d run through or into players. But once she discovered wrestling in November of her freshman year, she quit soccer to focus on the sport that better suited her physicality.

That freshman year, Bryant qualified for the regional tournament.

“My impressions of Kaitlyn then are very similar to what they are now,” Ankney said. “She’s extremely athletic and strong. Given the right amount of time, we knew that she could do some very good things.”

Ankney said Bryant is a more polished wrestler this year compared to last. He was impressed by her composure in the state final.

“I still get nervous before I go into a match, but I think I’m able to control it a bit more,” Bryant said. “It still gets to me, but I’m able to get a better groove going in the match.”

Ankney said he appreciates Bryant’s hard-nosed style and tenacity. But, most of all, he is grateful for what Bryant, Broadrick and Blinn did for the program. They worked tirelessly to put Tompkins girls wrestling on a prominent stage.

And now? The Falcons are back-to-back Region III-6A champions and finished second at state each of the last two seasons.

“It’s a credit to the girls that came in through the door and took a chance with us,” Ankney said. “It’s not always an easy sales job to get girls in on a wrestling mat. I was blessed with this group of seniors that came in their freshman year and were able to pull more girls in. The way they’ve approached and handled things and worked their tails off have put us in this position of being recognized at this level.”

Bryant was the only Katy ISD wrestler to win gold at state.

Morton Ranch’s girls finished fifth as a team with 40 points, buoyed by the Cotter sisters. Sophomore Rachel and senior Brittany each finished second in their 95-pound and 110-pound, respectively, classes.

On the boys side, Katy High finished ninth as a team as Allen won that team title as well. The Tigers had a silver medalist in senior Jackson Crandall (126-pound) and a bronze medalist in senior John Raymundo (106). Seven Lakes junior Jose Salinas won bronze in the 113 class.

In Class 5A, Paetow senior Jeramiah Marquez finished fourth in his 195-pound class.

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