By JEREMY HINES
In a town named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, a new wrestling star is rising in the south east corner of Indiana.
South Dearborn sophomore Bryer Hall was a relative unknown last season. He put together a successful freshman season, and by the end of the year had worked his way up to No. 16 in the state rankings at 126 pounds. When the state tournament rolled around, people started to take notice of the newcomer.
Hall rolled through his sectional as a freshman, winning every match by pin. He was just as dominant in the Richmond regional. He won his first round with a pin in just over a minute. In the second round he took on ranked senior Trevor Ragle (47-4) and pinned him in just 1:09. Then, in the final he went up against another talented wrestler in Centerville freshman Gabe Phillips, who is currently undefeated on the year and ranked No. 5 at 138. Just a little over two minutes into the match Hall injured Phillips shoulder, and Phillips was unable to go on. That injury ended the season for Phillips.
Then, to start out the semistate, Hall injured another wrestler with almost the same move. It wasn’t anything intentional, but the injuries rattled Hall.
“I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Hall said. “It was upsetting that I ruined someone’s season and they could have went pretty far in the tournament. I thought it would be tough to go back and use the move because I didn’t want to hurt anyone else. But once I started wrestling again, instincts just took over and I had to get that thought out of my mind.”
Hall won his ticket round semistate match 16-8 and then secured his biggest victory of his young career. He defeated former state champion Alec Viduya 11-5 to advance to the semistate championship.
“We were hopeful that Bryer could get to state as a freshman,” South Deaerborn coach George Gardner said. “But we thought it might be a long shot when he had to go up against returning state champion Alec Viduya. But Bryer really took it to him in that match and handled that match much better than I thought he would.”
Hall didn’t have enough in the tank to defeat Ethan Smiley in the final, who cruised to an 11-2 victory.
Hall ended up placing sixth in state. He had wins over Kyle Lawson and Brycen Denny, but lost big to Cayden Rooks (tech fall) and Christian Meija (17-5).
This season Hall is hoping to not have those big letdowns.
“He ran out of gas in the semistate,” Gardner said. “Hopefully that won’t happen again.
This year Hall is undefeated. He has stepped on the mat 33 times and each time had his hand raised in victory. He has moved up three weight classes and is currently ranked No. 2 at 145 pounds.
“It felt pretty good to get noticed in the rankings for my hard work,” Hall said.
Hall’s style of wrestling is difficult for others to scout. He calls himself a funky wrestler.
“I am hard to figure out,” Hall said. “I’m just naturally funky. I move where my hips feel they should go.”
That funkiness is especially helpful in scramble situations.
“Bryer is a tremendous scrambler,” Gardner said. “He doesn’t have a signature takedown. He just makes things happen. He’s really hard to scout because he doesn’t do the same thing very often.”
Hall could potentially see Warren Central’s Antwaun Graves in the New Castle semistate semifinal. If so, that is a match that could be particularly interesting. Hall won the regular season battle 4-3.
“Anything can happen Saturday,” Gardner said. “He has to go out and wrestle his best each match.”
Hall said his biggest wrestling accomplishment so far was placing fourth at Fargo over the summer at 138 pounds. He is hoping to top that with a state title this year.
“My goal is to go undefeated and win state,” Hall said. “Last year I was nervous. This year I’m coming in a lot more confident.”