Brute Nationals 2015 Setting Record Numbers

Brute Nationals 2015 Story — Every year in every sport, the competition gets tougher and tougher.  Wrestling is no exception.  Youngsters begin early in life and take on the tasks and responsibilities set before them by siblings, parents, coaches, friends, and others as they start to eye the dreams of championships that lie before them.  Those who stand above the rest and reserve the adjective “special” to soon describe their name are constantly training and striving and drilling so as to reach an unattainable goal: Being PERFECT.  But they realize the end result is not the measuring stick for determining their success or failure, for they are wise and mature and taught the proper mindset along their journey toward the top of the mountain.  Sometimes the road is lonesome, the travel is expensive, and the hundreds of matches are difficult, but many families who strive to give their sons and daughters the extra opportunities to reach that desired final destination can be found in Kansas City each spring at Brute Nationals.

This year was no exception, as a record number of competitors in twelve grades divided into boys and girls divisions settled into Independence Events Center to make their mark, lay it on the line, and step into that circle where only they can accept the accolades from success or take responsibility for any shortcomings.

In the 12th grade, Christian Robertson (state runner-up, Missouri) was crowned champion at 288 pounds as he started off the tournament with a fall over Colorado state champion, Jordan Carwin (Colorado).  In the semis, Robertson pinned fellow Missourian, Andruw Goin.  Facing another Missouri wrestler, Christian Boyles, who also had two prior pins, Robertson needed only the first period to capture his first Brute title with a third fall.

Oklahoma state champion, Brody Largent (Oklahoma) won the 192 class.  First, he disposed of Trey Stickler (Iowa) by fall and then knocked off Ethan Leighton (Missouri) a three time state medalist, by a score of 10-3.  The final victory was a hard fought win in overtime, 4-2, over Austin Tresner (Kansas).

The finals at 163 were highly anticipated as Mike Binns (Tennessee), this year’s state champion, faced off with Ethen Carlberg (Missouri), a 3-time state medalist.  Binns pinned Jake Anderson (South Dakota), Estevan Navarro (Minnesota), and Timothy Armintrout (Colorado) as he blazed his way to Friday night’s finals.  Carlberg pinned Jalen Dixon (Louisiana), decisioned Cory Washburn (Nebraska), and finished off Nathan Enzor (Tennessee), 12-3.  A very talented bracket of seniors from nine different states was won by Binns as he pulled away from Carlberg in a 12-5 victory.

Moving to 11th grade, the 192 bracket featured 21 wrestlers from 11 different states.  Rising to the top and reaching the finals was Sam Pennington (Missouri) and Jonah Lange (Minnesota).  Pennington started off with a 5-0 decision over Jacob Harrington (Kansas) before majoring Andrew Shaw (Indiana), 8-0.  A tight 6-4 win against Keegan Gilligan (Louisiana) moved him to the semifinals where he pounded Jacob Seely (Iowa), 18-4.  Lange squeaked by Jacob Briscoe (Iowa), 1-0, but then scored a fall against Cole Chisler (Missouri).  He then downed Carlos Cubas (Missouri), 6-2, to set up his showdown with Pennington in the finals.  26 points were scored overall, but it was Lange’s last second takedown in regulation that secured him the title, 14-12.

Sophomore standouts Kaleb Popplewell (Missouri), Tanner Reetz (Minnesota), Wolfgang Clapper (Missouri), and Trent Rakers (Illinois) all claimed national championship honors.  Popplewell, a state champion and runner-up in his first two high school seasons, scored three falls on his way to the 128 pound finals where he decisioned Kobe Kortan (South Dakota), 10-5.  Reetz, a state champion, won his first three matches with two falls and a 4-0 decision before reaching his stride with a big 17-4 victory over Chase Bates (Louisiana) in the 133 pound championship match.  At 138, Clapper, a state runner-up and a Fargo Greco All-American last summer, cruised to three victories of 14-1, 6-4, and a 13-2 finals major decision over Isaac Haman (Minnesota).  Rakers, at 163 pounds, started off the bracket with a 4-1 decision and then recorded two falls prior to the finals match with Andrew Edgar (Missouri), a two-time state medalist.  Rakers wrestled a solid match in a 4-1 win to claim his national title.

Freshman, Sam York (Michigan) got past Evan Richards (Louisiana) in a tough 1-0 first match at 138 pounds.  In the semifinals, he pinned Connon Simpson (Oklahoma) and then outdistanced Maxx Fritz (Illinois), 10-5, to take home the gold.  In the 192 weight class, Easton Randleman (Oklahoma) was a clear stand-out as he pinned Nathan McDonald (Iowa) in the first period while also recording a fall in the semifinals over Matthew Salinas (Louisiana) and a 4-1 decision against Jim Molt (Missouri).

The high school girls once again shined as well.  Their brackets consisted of all four grades combined.  Alisha Howk (Missouri) claimed the 115 pound bracket with four wins.  First was a 3-2 decision over Kitana Diediker (Kansas), then a 12-2 major over Brooke Koerner (Wisconsin).  A fall versus Raven Guidry (Louisiana) and finally a 7-0 decision over Brooke-Lynn Rush, propelled Howk to the top of the medal stand.  At 123 pounds, Brittany Bates (Louisiana) scored two falls over Ariel McDonald (Texas) and Allicyn Schuster (Nebraska) to take her place atop the medal stand and be crowned Brute Nationals champion.

On Saturday, the 1st through 8th graders took the floor and some outstanding wrestlers faced off throughout the day and evening.  8th grader Cade Waltman (Oklahoma), a 3-time state champion, pinned Brenden Spencer (Michigan) in the 98 pound championship match.  At 118 pounds, Peter Rolle (Oklahoma), 2-time state champion, pinned three of his four opponents on his way to the national title, including his finals opponent, Dawson Javier (Missouri). And at 141, another Oklahoma 8th grader, Noah Almy, a 3-time state champ, gained wins in his bracket by fall, tech fall, 1-0, and finally a 3-2 decision over Evan Frisque (Wisconsin).

At 92 pounds, 7th grader Peyton Lane (Illinois), a 2-time state champ, captured decisions of 7-2 and 4-2 before pinning Tyson Beauperthuy (Colorado) in the finals match.  Another 7th grade standout was Graham Calhoun (Indiana) at 111 pounds.  Calhoun scorched his first two opponents by a combined score of 39-6 (19-2 and 20-4). A 7-4 decision over Luke Collett (Oklahoma) in the finals completed Calhoun’s championship run.

Kai Allen (Kansas) a 70 pound 6th grader, a 3-time state champ, was a beast in his bracket with three falls including a pin over his finals opponent, Colton King (Illinois).  In the 85 pound bracket, Vincent Zerban (Illinois) was dominant.  A 15-0 tech fall to open the day, then a 1st period fall, and a 14-1 major decision advanced Zerban to the finals where he blanked Trevor Davis (Arkansas), 10-0.

5th grader, Zach Blankenship (Oklahoma), a 3-time state champ, pinned his way to a championship. Falls over Chase Hall (Illinois), Shon Badder (Missouri), Ethan Barr (Missouri), and Ryan Summerlin (Alabama) paved the way to his Brute Nationals title.  4th grade 85 pounder, Cyrus Traugh (West Virginia), a 4-time state champ, cruised through his three matches with a 10-0 major decision and a fall in his first two matches.  A pin in the finals over Payton Thomas (Oklahoma) capped off a great day for the youngster and etched his name in the Brute Nationals record book.  2015 3rd grade Oklahoma state champ, Kody Routledge, at 55 pounds, had wins of 16-2 and a pin before reaching the finals and then beating Chase Hoofman (Missouri), 8-2.

Maybe the most decorated wrestler of the tournament was 2nd grader and 61 pound Ryker Graff (Iowa).  Graff ran his way through a 21-man bracket to the national title.  A 9-0 major decision and 3 falls, including one over his finals opponent, Dwayne Taylor (Nebraska), showed why he is #1 in the nation at his age and weight class. And in the 1st grade division at 43 pounds, Israel Borge (Missouri) stormed to the national title with 3 pins and 13-0 victory in the finals over Jaxon Kennedy (Oklahoma).

Two elementary grade girls stood out.  Lilly Brower (Missouri) at 70 pounds claimed her bracket with a 5-2 victory over Raegan Codden (Michigan) and a fall in the finals over Payge Fuller (Missouri).  At 85 pounds, Haley Ward (Missouri) went 3-0 in her round-robin bracket with a 4-2 SV win over Brianna Randles (Kansas), a fall over Alexandria Schwelling (Georgia), and a 7-0 decision topping Keelea Benedick (Kansas).

Great competition with wrestlers from around the country and once again the cream rose to the top and Brute Nationals version 2015 came to a close. Congratulations to all participants, fans, and coaches who joined forces to make this another extraordinary wrestling event.

R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2007 in an effort to promote, protect and preserve the integrity of amateur athletics by providing athletic and educational opportunities to all athletes of all ages and abilities. This unique experience will provide educational, technical, and lifelong lessons for athletes, coaches, parents and fans that seek to capture meaningful, compassionate, harmonious, interesting and active lives. All profits from R.E.A.C.H.E.S. will be used to support specific needs in each sport to ensure future generations of athletes, fans, parents and coaches will continue to learn from valuable lifelong athletic lessons.

Brute Wrestling was founded in 1967, in Virginia, by retired U.S. Navy Captain Josiah Henson. Captain Henson was an Olympic bronze medalist in Freestyle wrestling in 1952 and the first American wrestler to beat a Russian at the Olympics. The company began as the first wrestling mail order business. John Purnell joined the company in 1975 and in 1977 became the President and majority owner. Shortly thereafter, Purnell moved the company to Reading, Pennsylvania to begin manufacturing wrestling uniforms under the brand name Brute Wrestling. At that time, the company began distributing through a network of sporting goods dealers. In 1989, a line of soccer uniforms was added under the name Liga Soccer. In 2003, the company product line was expanded to include custom uniforms for volleyball, softball and basketball under the brand name NeuEdge Sportswear. NeuEdge Sportswear quickly became one of the leading producers of custom sublimated team uniforms in the country. In 2010, Henson Group launched a lacrosse and field hockey line under the brand Evolve Team Sportswear. Today Henson Group Sports provides a complete line of top quality wrestling, lacrosse, softball, basketball and volleyball products and apparel to sporting goods dealers; amateur and professional athletic clubs and teams; and other buyers all over North America.