Palmyra’s Pillars battles back to take fifth place at state wrestling tournament


Palmyra junior Brayden Pillars, left, finished fifth at 165 pounds in the Class 1 state tournament at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. | Photo courtesy Will Johnson

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The loss that sent Palmyra junior wrestler Brayden Pillars to the blood round and jeopardized a spot on the podium wasn’t easy to shake.

“It was a little stressful at first,” said Pillars, who suffered a quarterfinal loss to Maysville senior Brendan Barton in the 165-pound weight class in the Class 1 state tournament Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.

“But I had a talk with (Palmyra coach Dalton Huffman) and he calmed me down and got the nerves right. I went to bed a lot better. I got a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling a lot better once morning came.”

A new day, a new outlook and a new medal around his neck.

Thursday turned into a good day for Pillars.

He won his blood round match by pinned Tipton freshman Paxton Pile in the second period, suffered a loss in the wrestleback semifinals, but finished his state appearance with a dominant effort, scoring a 19-1 technical fall over McCluer South-Berkeley’s Tre’Vyon Chatman in the fifth-place match.

“A lot better than last year,” Pillars said of having the medal around his next.

As a sophomore, Pillars lost in the 114-pound wrestlebacks semifinals at districts and didn’t reach the state tournament. He wrestled at the state tournament as a freshman, going 2-2 at 132 pounds.

This time, he made certain there’d be no setbacks.

“I knew I had to get to my offense and do what I know what I can do,” Pillars said. “By doing that, I knew I could come out on top.”

In the blood round against Pile, Pillars recorded five takedowns and a three-point nearfall to score a 13-3 major decision.

“I wrestled well on my feet,” Pillars said. “One-hundred percent.”

In the wrestleback semifinals, Pillars was pinned by Centralia’s Wyatt Adkisson in 33 seconds, but he shook it off and came back with a vengeance. Against Chatman, Pillars scored a takedown and a pair of three-point nearfalls in the first period and followed it up with a takedown and a three-point nearfall in each of the final two periods to cement his fifth-place victory.

“I didn’t want to end the season on a loss,” Pillars said. “This will keep the momentum going for next year.”

Pillars finished his season with a 39-11.

“Coming back from my losses and not letting it carry over to my next matches was important,” Pillars said. “I’m proud of that.”

The effort was worthy of a celebratory feast.

“Going to Raising Cane’s,” Pillars said.

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles