So close, yet so far

Waldhauser second best again at 160
By: Matt Long
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Knowing there’s nothing he can do to change the result, Oak Ridge High senior Vince Waldhauser took his 7-3 loss Saturday to Bakersfield High senior Bryce Hammond in the state wrestling finals of the 160-pound weight class in stride. He shook Hammond’s hand after the match and said good job and that was that. “I wanted a rematch and I got it,” said Waldhauser, who lost to Hammond in last year’s state final, 6-0. “He out-wrestled me and beat me fair and square.” Waldhauser had one thing on his mind since losing to Hammond a year ago: avenge that loss and win a state title. He’s put all his time and effort into preparing himself to achieve his goal, which is perhaps why he took the loss in stride. He’s said before the tournament he’s done all he can do to prepare so whatever happens, he can hold his head high knowing he did all he could. “I wanted to be state champ and I’m upset that I’m not, but I’m not devastated,” Waldhauser said. “I knew there could only be one winner. I handle losses better than most. I can’t change the outcome so what happened, happened.” Waldhauser lost his final high school match, only the second loss of the season, by a 7-3 score. While he tried his best, Waldhauser admits he didn’t wrestle his best, earning only three escape points. Hammond, the top-ranked 160-pounder in the nation, took Waldhauser down three times with a low single. “If I could wrestle him again I’m confident I could beat him,” Waldhauser said. “I gave him three low singles. He scouted me pretty well. I’ve watched him and never saw him use a low single.” The loss didn’t take away from a sensational tournament for Waldhauser. He pinned his first four opponents, the first, Dylan Morris of Redwood, in 3 minutes and 12 seconds. The next three wouldn’t last a minute on the mat with Waldhauser, as the Oak Ridge senior advanced to the Saturday’s semi-final. Against Scotty Bacon of Santiago, Waldhauser was off his game a bit, but still earned a 5-4 overtime win to advance to the finals. Despite losing his final match, Waldhauser will take great memories from the season. “I will remember being with my great teammates and coaches,” Waldhauser said. “It was a fun season, a long season, and I had a good time.” Waldhauser ends his high school career as a three-time state placer, as he also placed seventh as a sophomore in the 145-pound weight class. He missed qualifying for the state tournament as a freshman by one match.