This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published March 31, 2019
Louis Bradley brings a ton of intensity to every wrestling match that he grapples in. That assertiveness on the mat helped Louis secure two huge postseason prizes as a young and scrappy sophomore.
Louis competed in the 132-pound weight class for the Morgan wrestling team this winter. Louis finished with a record of 37-3 and also claimed first place in his division at both the Southern Connecticut Conference Championship and the Class S State Championship.
“I had come second in youth state competitions, but I put maximum effort into it this year. It feels good to do this, because I’m only a sophomore,” says Louis. “It felt incredible, and I had all the support of my teammates.”
Louis captured the SCC crown in the 132-pound division with a 7-4 decision over Guilford’s Keldon LaRose in the final. One week later, he finished first at the Class S State Championship by winning an 8-7 decision against Devin Matthews of Gilbert in the title bout.
“I was nervous going into the finals, but I told myself to do my best,” says Louis of his victory at states. “He started to get the upper hand, but I escaped towards the end. I took him down and had to hold him down in the last 30 seconds to win.”
Louis did his best to stay collected throughout the two-day gauntlet of the Class S meet. He was boosted by a great wave of support from someone who’s always in his corner.
“I knew the nerves would hit me, but I tried to not focus on the match until it was actually time for it,” Louis says. “I tried to take deep breaths and think about what I wanted to do. My mom just told me to put in all the effort I had in me.”
Louis had to deal with a setback when he suffered the same injury twice as a youngster. The injuries took their toll on Louis, but the experience also taught him how to battle back from adversity—a lesson that he now applies in the squared circle.
“In the 4th and 5th grade, I fractured the same elbow, so I was mentally broken with wrestling after that,” says Louis. “In the past two years, I’ve been able to fix that mentality and become more focused. I’ve also improved on my technique with trying to master the sport better.”
Head Coach Darren Hicks praises Louis for his aggressive mentality during matches, although he also admires Louis’s ability to keep his teammates calm when the going gets tough.
“As a wrestler and athlete, Louis is tenacious. He is always going forward, very energetic, and in your face. As a teammate, Louis’s work ethic is a great example for his teammates,” says Hicks. “He also is good to lighten up a stressful moment. Louis is a very nice kid, and all his teammates look up to him. He sets a great example on and off the mat and is an excellent student.”
Louis’s success is a reflection of the Huskies’ progression as a whole. Several underclassmen on the squad showed growth beyond their years this winter, setting the stage for even bigger achievements for Louis and company in future campaigns.
“Next year should be a big stepping stone, because the freshmen have been really good. If we push them, that will help them be ready for bigger challenges,” says Louis. “My main goal is to be a State Open champion. After that, I want to at least finish in the top five at the New England Championship. I definitely think I can achieve those goals.”