When UB wrestlers first enter the program, John Stutzman tells each of them that they have to find their “edge.”
Sophomore Bryan Lantry did not have a hard time finding his.
He was 120 pounds in high school and under recruited, despite winning a New York State title. For Lantry, being overlooked has always been that edge.
“So he comes here and wants to prove that not only is he the best guy in the country but that a lot of people overlooked him,” Stutzman said.
So far in his UB career, Lantry has already put his name on the map. Last year, he qualified for NCAA Championships as a freshman. This season, he has already defeated five ranked wrestlers and earned a silver medal at the Mid-American Conference Championships.
But he’s still not satisfied.
“In my mind, I failed,” Lantry said.
Lantry only wanted gold. Stutzman likes Lantry’s competitive nature and praises his “ornery” attitude.
This weekend, he will compete again in NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the No. 11 seeded wrestler in the 133-pound weight class and has his sights set on becoming an All-American by finishing in the top eight.
Lantry has been competitive since he was a kid. Stutzman said Lantry is always the most aggressive when the wrestling team plays dodgeball.
His family notices it to.
“He has two brothers and a sister and he always has to be number one in everything they do,” said Lantry’s father, Ron Stramonine. “Between spikeball in the backyard, to volleyball, to swimming laps in the pool, he has to be first in everything.”
Lantry had a successful career before coming to Buffalo. He managed to place in the top five of the state tournament during his sophomore and junior season at Wayne High School. But that wasn’t what he wanted.
In his senior year, he was able to achieve his goal when he captured a New York State title. But in his mind, he felt like that moment should have come sooner.
“I didn’t have that special moment that a lot of other athletes get after winning state titles,” Lantry said. “I won the state title and it was more like, why didn’t I do this two or three times?”
UB was one of the programs that invested time in recruiting him. Lantry connected with his attitude and the plans he had for Buffalo wrestling.
Although Lantry is out on the mat alone, he knows he represents more than just himself. He wants to represent his coach and university just as badly as himself and his family.
“That’s what you go to the national tournament to do, to earn respect for yourself and the university,” Lantry said. “I want people to be afraid to wrestle someone that’s wearing a Buffalo singlet.”
Lantry is the kind of wrestler that can make people fear the Buffalo singlet. His relentless style can cause havoc for his opponents. He likes to wear out his opponents in the first period so he can capitalize in the later periods.
He sees the match as a chance to push people to their breaking point.
“I want to dominate my opponents,” Lantry said. “I don’t want close matches anymore, I want to go out there and I want to mentally break every single opponent.”
Lantry will have two more years to make his mark. The way he sees it, a national championship is a matter of when, not if.
“He’s a tough SOB and he could go down here as one of the greatest UB wrestlers of all time,” Stutzman said.
Daniel Petruccelli is the assistant sports editor and can be reach at email@example.com