The wrestling program at Eldon has only been operating since 2012, but now has a wrestler who has reached 150 career wins and 100 career pins.
Eldon senior Dawson Brandt is in uncharted territory.
The wrestling program at Eldon has only been operating since 2012, but now has a wrestler who has reached 150 career wins and 100 career pins. Brandt became the first Mustang to lay claim to those landmark numbers after earning his 150th win in a quadrangular at Centralia on January 18 and his 100th career pin at the Thundering Herd Invitational in Buffalo the following week.
“It kind of puts it all into perspective on how hard I’ve worked, how much sweat and dedication I’ve put in and how hard it is to truly hit those milestones. It takes all four years so it is just a big thing that makes you feel accomplished inside,” Brandt stated
“It was really humbling just because when you get there, you know that you’ve accomplished something a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to accomplish… It really is a moment of enjoyment.”
And it was just one of a number of enjoyable moments over the course of the 182-pounder’s career that also features a fourth and fifth place medal from state. Eldon wrestling coach Ryan Bird said a lot of the senior’s success stems from the attitude he takes every time he steps on the mat.
“He has got the mindset that he is going to go out and beat everyone he wrestles whether it is a two-time state champion or a scrub from another school,” the coach said. “He has got the same mindset to go out there and control the pace, action and center of the mat. When he does that, he is pretty successful.”
While it was up to Brandt to hit those milestones, he certainly did not take all the credit as he quickly pointed out how thankful he was for his supporting cast between coaches and training partners.
“If I did not have Coach Bird, Trenton Dillon, Kaden Dillon and Coach (Joe) Herman working out with me and helping me train and the coaching staff we have now, there is no way I would have been able to hit it,” the senior said. “I want to give props to them and say thanks to them for helping me get there.”
Reflecting on his career overall, it is that supporting cast and the camaraderie he had with them that may stick with him the most, well beyond whatever numbers he ends up posting. Among his favorite memories are all the tournaments he wrestled in.
“Just the process of going and getting the workout in before weigh-ins and after that just having fellowship with the team as we eat breakfast before the meet starts,” Brandt described, looking back. “That is something that has really stuck with me throughout my four years when we go to tournaments, just hanging out and stuff as we wrestle. That is something that has been really fun to me.”
At the same time, Bird said it has been fun to watch Brandt grow and commended him for his achievements. The coach said a wrestler reaching milestones is not something he or his coaching staff look for, but when he arrived at Eldon during Brandt’s sophomore year he had a hunch the young grappler could be pretty good.
“I knew we had some talent,” Bird recalled of that first season. “I think Dawson was 20-15 as a freshman so there was some ability there and I watched him play some football and saw his athleticism. We were lucky enough to get a good bond whenever he came out his sophomore year so we have just been working hard and grinding. It probably clicked about halfway through his sophomore year when he started winning a lot of matches and parlayed that into a fifth place finish at the state tournament.”
Note that Brandt’s success on the mat was not instantaneous. As a freshman he missed out on the state tournament, but he maintained high goals and expectations. He implored other Eldon wrestlers who may have high aspirations to do the same and not view milestones like 150 wins or 100 pins as some out of reach or unattainable goal.
“If you are wanting to be as good as you can or the best in the area or state, one thing you have to push yourself for are those high expectations and goals,” the senior remarked. “A lot of people will look at records that have been standing for a while and be like, ‘Wow there is no way anybody can beat that.’ You have to get past that mindset and say, ‘Hey, if I put the work in I’ll be able to get there.’
“Hopefully it will push the younger kids to be the best they can be.”
And it is precisely that reason why Bird chose the profession he did.
“That is why we coach so that we can see other people succeed and can work to better people whether it is in the wrestling room or the classroom,” he noted. “Becoming a better person is what it is all about.”
Well, it may be safe to say mission accomplished in the case of Dawson Brandt.