Brandt and Simmons become next Eldon wrestlers with 100 career wins

Eldon saw its first wrestler reach 100 career wins a season ago. Now, there are three of them.

Eldon juniors Dawson Brandt and Isaiah Simmons became the latest Mustangs to accomplish the feat after their senior teammate Trenton Dillon did so a year ago. It is just another positive trend for a program that has only been around for five years and acquired the first state medals in school history last season including the first state finalist.

But the satisfaction does not stop there as all eyes are focused on reaching 150.

“It is big. We’ve got three now and starting last year we did not have any,” Eldon coach Ryan Bird pointed out. “Both of these guys have a real good shot at hitting 150 wins next year, which is huge. When I was in high school 20 years ago, 100 wins was the mark, but now that we are wrestling 50 or more matches every year 150 is the mark people try to get to.

“Dillon was upset he was not going to be able to get there this year, but he has been a leader all year,” Bird added of the senior who was plagued with injury, but recently returned to the mat. “And these guys know what it takes to get to where they need to be.”

Bird knows the two are capable, not only because of their ability to defeat the opponent on the mat, but because of what the two do on all the days in between as they constantly strive to get better in the wrestling room.

“They come to work every day. When they are banged up, nicked up, sick or tired, they are in here working hard,” the coach remarked. “They hit the weights hard and do what they have to do to be good at their sport.”

Brandt reached the milestone during a dual at Mexico on January 19 where the 182-pounder pinned his opponent to do so. With his father being an avid fan and supporter of his, he knew ahead of time just how many wins he had but it was still every bit as exciting for him.

Of course, the junior said that it required time and a little bit of hard work, noting that it was not going to come easy. However, confidence was just as important and Brandt said he had a great supporting cast to thank for that.

“Coach tells me all the time that you have to have the mindset that you are the best in your weight class so that is kind of the mindset everybody on the team has. We are going to go out and wrestle like we are the best,” he noted.

“Looking back, Coach Bird, Coach (Joe) Herman and all the other coaches and sparring partners were super big on that 100th win for me because they are the ones beating me up in practice,” Brandt added with a smile. “They got me ready for it so praise to them for helping me out.”

Now that the postseason has arrived and the junior is preparing to make a run at another state medal and improve upon his fifth place finish a season ago, he will be looking to use that same formula for continued success. But it all goes back to the wrestling room.

“You have to work hard there before you go out in tournaments an wrestle hard. When you are in practice, work hard with your sparring partner and listen to your coaches,” Brandt stated.

Simmons hit triple digits in the win column after pinning an opponent during the Warrensburg Tournament on January 27. He was inspired to do so after watching Dillon take care of the milestone and when he was told by his father and Bird how close he was going into the tournament, that drove and fueled the junior even more.

“I knew I was getting close and I was really pushing for it this season,” Simmons recalled. “Watching Trenton get his last year really drove me to get mine this year and I was really excited to find out that I may be getting my 100th win. That really pushed me to work hard in the match.”

As satisfying as the accomplishment was, Simmons also pointed out that there is always room for improvement as a student of the sport and he advocates that same message to others as well.

“Keep working hard and doing what you’ve got to do. Definitely just talk to your coaches about stuff you can get help on because that’s what I did,” the junior stated. “Keep working hard, fight for what you want and you’ll get it.”

Now, there is just one thing left to take care of in this year’s campaign and that is earning a spot on the medal stand. Reaching 100 wins will certainly fuel his aspirations, not that he needed any more motivation.

“It makes me want to win more. I’m really excited to see what I can do at the state tournament,” the three-time state qualifier said. “I don’t plan on just going and attending, but getting a medal.”

Both wrestlers have the work ethic to go after their goals and have the confidence to succeed, but another thing Bird appreciates is their leadership. The coach said it is on display every single day.

“It is nice when it takes some of the pressure off me that I know they are going to work hard. Even if they are not vocal leaders, they are leaders in the room because people look up to them and see how they wrestle and practice,” he said.

And the coach is hoping to see that permeate through the rest of the program to elevate the level of success, especially when it comes to confidence.

“These guys bring everyone else around them up so that is always good. These two this year and Trenton last year, they know they are going to win when they step up on the mat,” Bird said. “They’ve got the actual confidence in themselves and it is one of those things where confidence breeds confidence so hopefully it will catch.”