CYPRESS — The goal for each athlete entering the 2020 UIL Wrestling State Tournament was to collect four victories and a gold medal.
Foster High School seniors Brahn Howard and Chidozie ‘Dot’ Nwankwo had each won three matches over Friday and Saturday at the Berry Center in Cypress.
Only one match remained for both before joining the college ranks.
For one the night would end with questions of ‘what could have been’ while the other’s night ended in celebration.
Nwankwo won his fourth state medal and second gold with a 2-1 victory over Midlothian junior Marshall Hodges.
Howard finished with the silver medal after losing to New Waverly senior Langston Mayrant in a 9-6 decision.
“I’m so proud,” Foster head wrestling coach Scott Kimball said. “If you had told me that Brahn would get second in the state, I would have said that was a great season.
“We still wanted to win it all but the cards didn’t fall our way.
“I’m still so proud of him and he’s the biggest leader on my team.
“And Dot is going to leave as one of the best wrestlers in the state of all time.
“He’s got a win percentage over 90 percent that is just stupid good.
“That is unheard of. He leaves a big legacy for Foster.”
Nwankwo hasn’t had the easiest road at state with a loss last year in overtime for silver but the senior Falcon rebounded with gold.
The Nwankwo’s match was tied at 1-1 entering the final seconds when the Foster seior charged and for the fourth time pushed Hodges out of the ring.
With two seconds left on the clock in the final round, Hodges was docked a point for stalling — giving Nwankwo the lead.
The instant that the referee raised his wrist with the green wristband, Chidozie let out a roar.
The Falcon side knew it would take a miracle for Hodges to score point in two seconds.
After the final seconds ticked away, the celebration began with Nwankwo raising up the hand signal to the crowd for the University of Houston before getting his hand raised by the referee.
Nwankwo is committed to play football for the Cougars in the fall.
Nwankwo finishes his senior season with a 22-0 record with wins over Edcouch-Elsa senior Bobby Gonzalez (fall, 0:35), El Paso Eastwood junior Joseph Immediato (dec., 9-2) and Leander Rouse junior Aiden Bulter (fall, 3:07) before the win against Hodges.
“Dot did what we talked about in practice and brought it all together,” Kimball said. “We talked about pushing the pace and attacking his legs.
“He didn’t get the finish but because he got in there four times we got that stall call.”
The senior Falcon finishes his four-year varsity wrestling career with a 102-5 record.
For Howard, his state finals match was a rematch.
Langston Mayrant competed in the District 11-5A championship with Howard getting the best of the contest by a 6-5 decision.
The two did not face off in the regional tournament.
Mayrant was able to build an early lead in the finals match and work on countering Howard’s advances.
The senior Falcon collected wins over Fort Worth Benbrook senior Isiah Capenter (fall, 1:39), San Antonio Veterans Memorial senior Omari Frazier (fall, 1:08) and Canyon Randall senior Kale Farrington (fall, 2:41) before the match with Mayrant.