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Say What?!

By JAKE FURR Reflector Sports Editor jakefurr@norwalkreflector.com • Mar 13, 2017 at 4:30 PM

The Reflector sports writers talked to plenty of athletes and coaches last week after some historic competitions. Lets take a look at what they had to say in this week’s Say What?!

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Edison senior Brady Barnett had this to say after winning the 138-pound Division III Individual State Wrestling Tournament title.

“It feels awesome. It is something I have been working on every day for the past two years. I would wake up in the middle of summer and think about a state championship. I have two runner-up brackets in my room and I cannot stand looking at them. Now I have a big one and I am just really pumped up. I cannot describe it. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I have wanted this so bad for so long.”

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Norwalk senior Abdullah Silmi had this to say after overcoming a dramatic season to take third in the 220-pound Division II Individual State Wrestling Tournament.

“It just feels outstanding. I didn’t want anything less than a trip to state. I just kept working hard even when I wasn’t wrestling. I had this goal in my mind and I wasn’t going to stop working until I got it.”

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Western Reserve senior Colton Puder had this to say after making the game-winning layup at the buzzer in a win over Clear Fork to advance his team to the district final. Puder made a 3-pointer in the sectional final against Willard to win the game as well.

“I was thinking, since I hit that 3-pointer last week, I might as well do it again. But seriously I didn’t play my best game tonight and my teammates really had my back. When it came down to that shot, I was just in the right spot at the right time and I was just glad I made it.”

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Western Reserve junior Dale Smith had this to say after making the perfect pass to Puder for the game winning layup.

“I had two reads with one being the corner and the other being the block. I had to jump out of bounds for the pass and I saw they jumped out to the corner so I figured the block had to be open and it was. After he made it I was just thinking about trying to get back on defense because I wasn’t sure how much time was left and I didn’t want them getting a bucket.”

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St. Paul senior Derek Gross had this to say after using a state semifinal loss as inspiration to taking third place in the 145-pound Division III Individual State Wrestling Tournament.

“I used the match I lost yesterday as fuel to battle back today. I wanted to get that third place finish and it was just great to finish on top. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches’ help and my teammates. Owen Starcher and come other guys came out to support me. I was really happy to see them.”

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Edison junior Sam Stoll had this to say after being disappointed about a seventh place finish at state and what his expectations are for next season.

“State title.”

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St. Paul coach Mike Smith had this to say after the Flyers’ season came to an end on Tuesday night in an overtime loss to Colonel Crawford in the district semifinals.

“My kids are one of the most enjoyable groups I’ve ever had in coaching. I’ve said this, probably a million times, they’re great students, great teammates, great friends. Just classy all the way.”

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Norwalk coach Brock Manlet had this to say after seeing his team complete a historic season after a loss in the regional semifinal.

“I am very proud of this group. I told them in the locker room that this was going to sting and it should sting. But to look back on it, this is the best girls team in Norwalk history. We made history and this season was nothing to hang our heads about. We got beat by a good team and every team at this stage of a good team. Very proud of the kids and they deserve everything they get.”

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Manlet also had this to say about Norwalk senior Jiselle Thomas who played on a badly sprained ankle scoring 15 points and grabbling 13 rebounds.

“One of the gustiest performances I have ever see. I wasn’t sure if she was even going to play. Coach Swartz told me she wasn’t going to be able to go 32 minutes and nearly went the full 32 minutes. She is a one-of-a-kind player and I don’t think we will ever see someone like that again. She played through a lot of pain and that just shows she has the heart of a champion. She almost pulled us through.”

If you see an interesting quote from one of our game stories, send it to jakefurr@norwalkreflector.com and you could see it used in next week’s Say What?!

 

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