One year later, one place better.
That's how the story went for Diamond Bar senior heavyweight Brian Ryu, who finished fourth overall at Saturday's CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, advancing to the State Meet for the second straight year.
"I really wanted that third place," said Ryu, who lost a 4-2 decision to Corona's Daniel Fusi for third place. "But I improved from last year and I'm happy about that. Now I just have to train harder (for State)."
Ryu was one of two Diamond Bar wrestlers that advanced to Day 2 at Temecula Valley High School, but was the only one that advanced for one more week of wrestling.
The top 9 wrestlers in each weight class advance to the CIF State Wrestling Tournament next weekend in Bakersfield.
Senior 171-pounder Kevin Kim fell one place short for the Brahmas, losing in the ninth-place match to Citrus Hill's Jeremy Bonilla, 5-4. Trailing 5-1 in the third quarter, Kim rallied with three straight points but fell victim to time.
"Kevin should be going with me," Ryu said "He deserves better."
Kim, who won the Southern Regional individual championship last week, posted a 4-3 record over the two days.
Ryu had the tough task of having to work his way up the bracket. After losing a 2-1 decision to Temecula Valley's Zack Smith in his second match on Friday, Ryu had to get to work.
He recorded three straight pinfall victories and knocked off Canyon Springs David Gomez, 6-3, to reach the third-place match. Overall, Ryu posted an impressive 5-2 record over the two-day meet.
Now it's on to a Friday trip to Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena for Ryu, who posted a 2-2 record last year at State and will be looking to place (a top eight finish) his second time around.
He acknowledges a different approach could be helpful.
"I'm just going to start small and try to climb that ladder," Ryu said. "I always place high expectations on myself. I just want to make things easier and be happy that I get another chance (to wrestle)."