OKLAHOMA CITY — Piedmont’s Brody Largent had no other option.
Tied 1-1 with Shawnee’s Thomas Shepard in sudden death overtime in the 182-pound state championship match at the 5A wrestling tournament Saturday night at State Fair Arena, Largent had to break Shepard’s grasp or lose. Largent did, scoring the most important point of his career to claim a 2-1 win and his first state title in the last match of his career.
“I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now — nothing but smiles,” he said. “I feel incredible.”
Wrestling towards the edge of the mat with less than 20 seconds remaining in regulation time, Shepard turned Largent onto his stomach, and at least momentarily seemed poised to hold Largent down and claim the title. But Largent used a quick move to break free and earn the cherished point.
“There towards the end he had me broke down on my stomach. I was worried, I knew I had to do something to get up,” Largent said. “I turned around, stood up and I knew right then that I had just won the state championship.”
A week earlier, Largent faced an identical position against Shepard in the regional final, but wasn’t able to escape and lost. That, he said, set him up to win this time.
“My dad and I both said right after regionals that whatever happened there was a blessing,” he said. “It gave me a reality check. I knew what I had to do and knew what was coming.”
Largent becomes Piedmont’s second state champion in as many seasons, joining 2014 state champion Blaine Culp.
“Brody has worked so hard to get to this position,” Piedmont head coach Erik Ford said. “It’s huge for him to accomplish this goal that he set 10 years ago when he first started wrestling.”
Earlier in the week, Largent and Piedmont’s coaching staff discussed what his celebration might look like if we won. But when the moment came it didn’t go exactly as planned, or anything like it all even.
“I don’t think I stuck to any of it,” he admitted. “I think I just kind of went with the flow.”