Older brother thrilled he ‘finally got to place’
Sean Flynn's fingers trembled as he took his place on the winner's podium at the Class 5A state wrestling meet.
The Lansing High junior wasn't particularly thrilled with his sixth-place finish at 130 pounds, but he was going to savor this moment anyway. At that moment, place wasn't important. Being there on that podium with a medal around his neck was all that mattered.
"I didn't even think about what place I got," said Flynn, who finished the year 30-6. "I just thought about how I finally got to place and got to be up there with all those other guys."
The state medal was a long time coming for Flynn, who made his third straight trip to the state meet. He was expected to medal as a sophomore, but things didn't work in his favor in a loaded bracket.
When Flynn was pinned early in the third period of his second-round match this year by eventual state champion Josh Baldridge of Campus, jitters set in again.
"That would've been really bad for my confidence level," Flynn said of the possibility of coming home empty-handed for a third straight year. "I don't know what it would've been like."
Flynn responded by grinding his way through the consolation bracket with a pair of quick pins to advance to the medal round. Upon the second pin - which came in 1:12 against Shawnee Heights sophomore Shaun Meredith - Flynn leaped into LHS coach Ron Averill's arms, and his eyes glowed.
"It felt good to get it off my shoulders so next year I don't have to worry about it," Flynn said of medaling.
Flynn dropped his last two matches at state. That could have made the march to the medal podium bittersweet, but Flynn said that wasn't the case. He'd waited for the moment for a long time and wasn't going to let anything sour the feeling.
Averill said he wanted Flynn to take advantage of his opportunities while he had them.
"I hate to dwell on the fact that 'Oh, you still have another year,'" Averill said. "You don't know if you have another year. You need to take every moment and savor it.
"Although he has disappointments of not placing higher, he needs to savor these moments and get back in the mindset now of 'Hey, I have had an awesome season. I have done a great thing. Let's really savor this moment and have a good time with the medals presentation and all that.' Savor the moment and remember those little bittersweet moments and use those as motivation for next year."
That's exactly what Flynn plans to do. He will spend the off-season competing with the Lansing Slammers wrestling club and training in a freestyle and Greco-Roman season. Then he will return for his senior campaign and take one final shot at becoming a state champion.
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