Bender takes state in 0:21Published 11:41am Monday, February 18, 2013
It is the go-to move for Clint Bender this year and he didn’t waste any time using it on Saturday afternoon.
The Hartselle senior 195-pound wrestler only needed that one move to pin Athens’ Bolton Patton in an astounding 21 seconds to win the individual state championship in his weight class in Class 5A.
The two wrestlers hadn’t done anything more than shake hands before Bender had Patton on his back, using the “assassin” technique. Bender put Patton in a headlock and took him down.
“It’s been my best move all year,” Bender said. “It’s something I’ve been added this year and it’s been very effective.”
Coming into Saturday’s match, Bender was an even 2-2 with Patton, who had won the last two matches. However, Bender won the most important match of the year, recording his only pin of Patton.
He didn’t do anything differently. He just put listened to his music on his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and “got angry.”
Hartselle wrestling coach Matt Watson said Bender, who is the first Tiger state champion since Kyle Davis won one in 2009, has worked hard all season for this achievement.
“He’s dedicated his time to working hard and being the best that he can be,” Watson said.
Bender said he didn’t have any specific plans after winning the state championship.
“I’m just going to go out somewhere and celebrate,” Bender said.
In other action, Logan Smith finished fourth in the 113-pound class. He fell to Southside-Gadsden’s Landon Thompson in the consolation finals.
Four other wrestlers competed, but all opened with losses and went into the consolation bracket.
Michael Prince came up just short of medaling in the 145-pound weight class. He lost a heartbreaker 8-5 to Homewood’s Jaquan Barber in the consolation semifinals.
Matt Watson (132), Ryan Nowka (152) and Oliver Duncan (220) were unable to make it out of the consolation quarterfinals in their respective weight classes.