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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

The Making of a State Champion

For the first time since 1991, a Reed City Coyote outlasted the state’s best on the wrestling mat.

By the virtue of a 5-3 sudden victory in overtime, senior Bryson Hughes defeated Constantine’s Troy
Demas to claim the Division 3 State Championship in the 190-pound weight class.

“(It feels) pretty good,” Hughes said. “It’s a lot and at first, I didn’t know how to handle it.”

Hughes finished his season with a 50-2 record, improving on his fourth place finish a year ago. What
many might not know is Hughes wrestled in the 2022 state meet with an injured shoulder from football.

Following last year’s exit from the bracket, Hughes made a bold claim to his coach that created an
incredible story concluding his career: “We were walking out of Ford Field and he had his arm around me,” Head coach Roger Steig said. “He said ‘Coach, I’ll be back next year with a healthy shoulder and we’ll win this thing.’ It couldn’t have turned out any better.”

When I asked the 2023 State Champion Bryson Hughes about the time he knew he could become a state champion, he mentioned qualifying for states in 2021 as a sophomore and how that gave him the confidence to reach the state’s top mark in 2023.

Hughes finishes his career as a Coyote with 158 wins, which ranks seventh all time in school history.
Along with two state finalist finishes, he also earned three CSAA conference championships and all-
conference honors four times.

While the awards will certainly be remembered, Coach Steig said he’ll remember Bryson by his

“I think that is what made him elite,” Steig said. “He’s not only a very gifted athlete, but he’s extremely
coachable. A good example of this was before the championship match. Back at the hotel, we studied film on the guy he’d wrestle at finals and I gave him a game plan. It was going to change his style and
technique of wrestling at the highest level for a state championship. He was willing to do that and he
couldn't have done any better.”

As an inspiration to many, Hughes’ advice to those that want to reach his accomplishment: Always work.

“It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be tough. Never stop working, because one day you will succeed.”

While Hughes’ wrestling career has come to an end, the talented athlete will look forward to his next
chapter after signing with Olivet College to play football; but from now on, he’ll always be remembered as a Reed City Coyote State Champion Wrestler.