YAIAA wrestling fans got their final chance to see Michael Bracey, his rattail and his smile at the high school level Tuesday night.
The York-area chapter of wrestling officials' senior All-Star meet showcased 10 YAIAA seniors for the final time, including the Kennard-Dale 126-pounder who put together a career record of 114-20 and will wrestle at Washington and Lee University in Virginia next fall.
Bracey laughed and joked with fellow seniors between matches, and he defeated New Oxford's Mike Rudisill, 10-3, in an exhibition match. He also left with an award from the chapter.
He was one of two wrestlers awarded a books scholarship from the chapter. The awards go to wrestlers who not only succeed on the mat but also succeed in the classroom and are involved with other extra-curricular activities. The other award was given to Red Lion's Jared Schell, who did not attend the meet as he continues to recover from an injury sustained at sectionals.
“It really means a lot to me because I’ve been working pretty hard all of high school to make sure I keep my grades up as high as I can and make sure I’m wrestling at my top level," Bracey said. "To get recognized for that is pretty cool.”
As far as extracurricular activities, Bracey jokes that it would be easier to list the activities he doesn't do rather than activities he does do. He's involved with the marching band, student council, chess club and physics club just to name a few.
“As far as extracurriculars go, (wrestling) is my No. 1," he said. "It’s where I spend most of my time. When I’m not doing any of my other extracurriculars, I’m always working out or running or at a wrestling tournament or coaching.”
Bracey put together undefeated regular seasons the last two years and went to states as a sophomore and as a senior, but he will perhaps best be remembered for his haircut and attitude. Often joking with other wrestlers, he's had his colorful haircut since he went undefeated at the Disney Duals his freshman year. And he has sported a rattail — which was still blue from when he colored it before the postseason — ever since.
“He’s always smiling," York-area chapter of wrestling officials president Sonny Sneeringer said. "Ever since he was a freshman, he’s always smiling. But I tell you what: Even if you beat Bracey, he didn’t lose the war. You come out beaten up. He’s always going after you.”
Scenes from the meet
New Oxford senior Dalton Smith leaped into the air, over the head of Brady Linebaugh, and latching onto the Bermudian Springs senior’s back.
The rest of the YAIAA senior all-stars laughed and cheered from the edge of the mat as the final buzzer sounded on Smith and Linebaugh's match, and Smith grinned as he detached himself from Linebaugh. The onlookers had been tempting Smith to try the "flying squirrel" move throughout the whole last minute of the match.
They wrestlers enjoyed an evening full of smiles, laughter and laid-back matches.
Linebaugh edged Smith, 6-5, in the closest match of the night, while teammate Isaiah Fannin lost to Spring Grove's Josh Cribbs 9-6. South Western's Gage Thomas was called on to wrestle twice, and he beat Bermudian Springs' Jarod Miller, 16-5, and Spring Grove's Marcus Kehr, 5-1.
Spring Grove lightweight Noah Colehouse received a forfeit since no other attendee had a similar weight.