Wrestling: Brandon makes it 11 straight By EDDIE DANIELS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 20, 2011
LAKELAND - Back in 1977, snow fell in Miami. Yes, Miami.
That same year, former Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.
The space shuttle, hoisted on top of a 747, took flight for the first time that year as well.
Oh, and Brandon High won its first state wrestling championship.
Saturday was just a formality as the Eagles captured their 22nd team championship and their 11th consecutive title. En route to claiming the Class 3A state title, Brandon scored 269 points and had seven individual champs.
The number of champions ties a state record the Eagles set in 2009, while they were one point shy of tying the program's and the state's all-time high for points scored at the tournament.
"I'm really lucky," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "I can't say enough about the kids, this group of guys. They're very similar to last year's team. We sent nine to the finals with seven champs. This team was built around hard work. They have a great work ethic."
South Dade Homestead (151 points) was second in Class 3A, followed by Winter Springs (112).
In Class 2A, Spring Hill Springstead (185.5) won the team title, while Lakeland Lake Gibson (164) was second and Fort Myers Riverdale (106) was third.
Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (157.5) won the Class 1A team title, followed by Green Cove Springs Clay (117) and Orlando Lake Highland Prep (107.5).
James Flint was the first Brandon wrestler to earn a state title Saturday night after beating Zach Whitmire of Orlando Dr. Phillips, 7-3, in the 112-pound final. Flint won a title last season as an eighth-grader for Tampa Bay Christian, but this one, he said, was sweeter.
"I'm wrestling with a 'B' on my chest and an 'E' on the back, the No. 3 team in the nation, so this is a big deal," Flint said, nearly out of breath. "Finally (realizing) the dream of being on the Brandon team as a varsity starter is awesome."
Joining Flint as individual champs were Kevin Norstrem (125, third title), Rossi Bruno (130, fourth consecutive title), Tyler Liberatore (135, third title), Clark Glass (152, fourth title), Wally Figaro (160) and Kyle Koziel (171). Also placing for Brandon were Devan Berrian (second, 103), Travis Berridge (second, 145), Mike Ettore (third, 189) and Brice Jones (fifth, 140).
Gulf's Anthony Ayers (130) and Ladarious Jackson (171) ended their high school careers with consecutive state titles.
Tampa Bay Christian's Chris Singletary (112), the first sixth-grader to compete in the state tournament, finished second, as did Tampa Prep's Eric Bach (135).
Meanwhile, eighth-grader Dylan Lucas kept the Tampa Bay Christian championship streak alive with an 8-0 major-decision victory against Strawberry Crest's Abe Fernandez. Bruno (2008), Norstrem (2009) and Flint (2010) were previous Rams state champions.
"I'm used to big matches," said a calm Lucas, "… so I came out with the same thing. I just pushed the pace."
Bruno, who suffered just his second loss of the season last week in the region tournament, avenged the defeat by beating Palm Harbor University's Aaron Hartman, 5-1.
"This one is special," Bruno said. "I don't want to say there's bad blood between us because I'm a junior and he's a freshman. I lost to him. It was in my head all week and just getting that over with, quieting all the critics that said I couldn't beat him, it just feels good."
Brandon Wrestling Continues To Set Goals High
Streaks and records are nothing new for Head Coach Russ Cozart and Brandon wrestling, where shooting for the impossible is plausible.
It’s no longer news that Brandon High School dominates the wrestling scene, or that Head Coach Russ Cozart — at the helm for 21 of the school's 22 state crowns — knows his sport as well as anyone.
Or that there isn’t just one streak for the record books, but many — and many of which are not expected to be broken any time soon, if ever.
That families move to Brandon to wrestle for Cozart is no secret to the people who know and observe Brandon wrestling, which is a hard thing not to notice if you follow the sport. The team owns a 34-year streak of consecutive dual-meet victories, which ended Jan. 5, 2008 at number 459.
No secret, too, that Cozart nurtures his players from a young age.
That former players dream about having their kids wrestle for Cozart.
And that boys just years after they learn to walk dream about wrestling for Brandon, having participated in one of his many youth program and tournaments, such as the one held at Brandon High on Feb. 20, the day after the 2011 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A state tournament ended.
So, does it ever get old?
“It never gets old," said volunteer coach Mike Ferrario, one of many former Brandon wrestlers still active with the program. "And it never gets old winning a state title."
“I’ve wrestled for Russ Cozart and I’ve now coached with him for 22 years,” said assistant coach Bob Hendrickson. “I think what he does with this program is second to none and he continuously looks for ways to better the program. I don’t think he’s going to be happy until he has 14 state champions in one year.”
“It’s a heck of a goal,” Hendrickson added, shortly after the last match at state competition, “but when you see what’s happening here, I think it’s a reasonable goal for Russ Cozart.”
Thirteen Brandon wrestlers collectively compiled the 269 team points that brought home the school’s 22nd state crown and it was the second year in a row that wrestlers qualified in each of the 14 weight classes. (Heavyweight Jo Dudley forfeited his match.)
Qualifying a wrestler in each weight class is a Brandon record, first set in 2004, the year the team also set the record for points at a state competition (271).
To put that accomplishment in perspective, consider that at the 2011 state competition, Brandon's 269-point total was three points higher than the combined scores of both the second- and third-place teams. The South Dade (Homestead) and Winter Springs teams scored 151 and 112 points, respectively.
So, does it ever get old to Cozart?
“Not yet,” he said.
Cozart knows the numbers, and the records, and the titles, including the fact that Brandon over the years has earned 90 individual state titles.
So, what matters most to Cozart?
For one thing, his youth program, he said, because when he was young, someone showed him the ropes and he knows how important that was to him both in life and in his quest for wrestling excellence.
His goals for Brandon wrestling are set high, he said, but that’s the point, for an elite-level program. And he knows, too, that he is losing only four seniors and has strong wrestlers coming in to complement “the great group of guys” who remain.
Despite all the wins, titles and records, Cozart on the record remains steadfast in his belief that it’s not the getting that’s great but rather the steps it takes to get there.
“Like I tell them,” Cozart said, “it’s not being on top of the mountain that’s exciting, but the work it takes to get there.”
Representing that work this year for Brandon wrestling are this year’s Class 3A state qualifiers, champions and placeholders:
103 pounds: Devan Berrian (50-10), second place
112 pounds: James Flint (50-5), first place
119 pounds: Victor Fugate
125 pounds: Kevin Norstrem (63-0), first place
130 pounds: Rossi Bruno (63-2), first place
135 pounds: Tyler Liberatore (50-0), first place
140 pounds: Brice Jones (48-17), fifth place
145 pounds: Travis Berridge (44-10), second place
152 pounds: Clark Glass (65-1), first place
160 pounds: Wally Figaro (64-2), first place
171 pounds: Kyle Koziel (62-1), first place
189 pounds: Mike Ettore (65-2), third place
215 pounds: Lorenzo Martinez
285 pounds: Jo Dudley (match forefeited)
For information on the matches, click here for brackets and scores.
Brandon Clinches 22nd State Title, 7 Wrestlers Win Individual Crowns (and the Koziel 'Curse' Is Lifted)
It's business as usual for Brandon High School, coming home victorious with the wrestling team's11th consecutive state title — and 22nd overall. Brandon placed 14 wrestlers in the finals and seven came home with individual titles. By Linda Chion Kenney|Email the author|February 19, 2011
The Brandon High School wrestling team comes home from Lakeland tonight, Feb. 19, with its 11th consecutive state title — and 22nd state crown overall.
Seven wrestlers earned individual state titles, which is a Brandon High record, a milestone first reached in 2004. That's the year Brandon scored 271 points, just two more than they did tonight.
"Seven's the record, we tied the record," said assistant coach Bob Hendrickson, who played for Cozart as a high schooler and has coached with him for 22 years.
It was the second year in a row that Brandon qualified for state competition wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes, a true sign of Brandon's dominance.
Bringing home state titles: James Flint, Kevin Norstrem, Rossi Bruno, Tyler Liberatore, Clark Glass, Wally Figaro and Kyle Koziel. Also helping Brandon achieve its 269 points at state competition were runner-up finishers Devan Berrian and Travis Berridge. Mike Ettore placed third and Brice Jones placed fifth. Victor Fugate and Lorenzo Martinez also competed; Jo Dudley's heavyweight match was forfeited.
Keith Koziel said earlier in the day he knew what he would do if his brother won a state title at the Flordia High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A state title.
He said he would cry — and he did.
Keith Koziel, now an assistant wrestling coach at King High School, as a player found the state title elusive. He made it to the finals five times and was runner-up three times.
"I've been working my whole career for this," Kyle Koziel said before the state tournament, "trying to be the first in my family to live the dream."
Following his victory, Keith Koziel could relax a bit.
"It got the monkey off my back, that's for sure!" Keith Koziel said. "It's a huge thing in my family to bring home the gold. Between the two of us, we had five silvers. I guess the curse has been lifted."
Liberatore, in the 135-pound weight class, was one of two Brandon wrestlers to win with a pin. Glass did it, too, in the 152-pound weight class.
"I was pretty confident going into the match," Liberatore said. "I know none of these kids work as hard as I do but you still never know until the match is over. It's an adrenalin rush when you win, especially if you pin your opponent."
Brandon Wrestling: Timeline
By ADAM ADKINS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 5, 2008
1969 - Brandon's program begins with a 45-13 loss to Robinson.
Feb. 20, 1973 -Bradenton Manatee defeats Brandon 28-19 in the final dual meet of the 1972-73 season, the last time the Eagles lost a dual meet.
Nov. 29, 1973 -Brandon defeats Chamberlain 40-12 in the first match of the 1973-74 season, the start of a national record unbeaten streak, which ended at 468 after this year's Graves Duals final.
Jan. 26, 1974 - Brandon and Bradenton Manatee tie 24-24 in the ninth match of the season, the last time the Eagles did not win a match before Saturday. Therein lies the nine-match difference between the unbeaten and undefeated streaks, both national marks.
Feb. 7, 1980 -Brandon's last dual under Jim Graves, a 59-6 win against King. The Streak stood at 75 consecutive wins and 84 matches without a defeat. Graves resigned at the end of the season. He left with a career record of 97-11-1 and led the program to its first state title in 1977.
Dec. 1, 1980 -Brandon defeats Chamberlain 47-17 in the first match under new Eagles coach Russ Cozart, who took over the program following two seasons at Chamberlain.
Nov. 30, 1982 -Brandon gets consecutive win No.100 with a 29-27 win against Chamberlain.
Feb. 6, 1988 -Brandon notches win No.176 with a 76-6 win against Hillsborough, breaking the national wrestling program mark for consecutive wins held by Bismarck, N.D.
Jan. 27, 1990 - Brandon gets consecutive win No.200 with a 70-6 win against Hillsborough. One day later â€” exactly 16 years after the winning streak began â€” Tony Ippolito, a beloved former Eagles standout and the program's and Hillsborough County's first state champion, dies from a rare form of cancer. He was 33.
Jan. 18, 1997 - Brandon defeats Chamberlain for consecutive win No.293, breaking the national mark for consecutive victories by a high school team in any sport. The old record was held by the Amherst (N.Y) Sweet Home High volleyball team, which won 292 consecutive matches from 1978-87.
Dec. 16, 1997 -Brandon gets consecutive win No.300 with a 70-3 rout of Plant.
Jan. 8, 2005 -Brandon gets consecutive win No.400 with a 53-12 win against Chamberlain in Graves Duals semifinals.
Jan. 5, 2008 -Brandon loses to Homestead South Dade in the final of the Graves Duals 32-28, ending the Streak. The Eagles' national record winning and unbeaten streaks end at 459 and 468, respectively.
Wednesday afternoon in the Brandon High School gym, Eagles wrestling coach and icon Russ Cozart kept blowing his whistle.
Each time he did, two more of his wrestlers hopped on the mat, locked arms, then legs and started grinding, sweating and caring.
That's how tradition has always started around here.
The Eagles participate in their first dual meet of the season tonight, in their own gym, against Riverview. They should win.
"That would make one," three-time state champ Eric Grajales said.
"It would be a good start," said two-time state champ Joe Cozart, the coach's son.
Brandon wrestling history starts over tonight.
Never far from them, never to be forgotten, is "The Streak" - Brandon's extraordinary 34-year, 459-dual-meet win streak, a national record for any sport.
It ended early in January in this same Brandon gym against the wrestlers from South Dade. The joint filled with tears that night.
Now they start over.
Actually, they started over a while back. After The Streak fell, Brandon won its eighth straight state title. Grajales and Cozart won titles, as did Kevin Timothy, whose loss to South Dade made it official that The Streak was done. Fairy tale enough.
But tonight is different.
Tonight is the first dual meet since South Dade.
It starts all over.
Cozart's kids became something of celebrities, even in defeat. ESPN released "The Streak," a wonderful two-hour documentary that detailed last season's journey.
It was produced by Kelly Ripa and her husband, actor and Brandon High graduate Mark Consuelos. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
Russ Cozart and his wife attended. They arrived in a limo. There was a red carpet. He received a standing ovation when it was over. The audience waited for Cozart and his wife to exit first.
"High school wrestling," Cozart said with a smile.
His wrestlers loved most of what they saw in the film.
"It showed that dedication, that we work as hard as anybody at anything," Grajales said.
"It was hard to watch it end all over again," Joe Cozart said.
The film captured the essence of Brandon wrestling. It captured something else: The Streak was the enemy, too. It bore down on them. The Streak took on a life all its own, and a death all its own.
"We didn't really talk about The Streak much until ESPN came in," Grajales said. "We always knew it was there and knew we were part of it. We just never wanted to be part of the end of it."
"This is something they can take on," Russ Cozart said. "It's great motivation."
He pointed at a December dual meet at South Dade.
"This is a special group," Russ Cozart said. "These guys have been through an amazing experience, and they've learned from it. We all have."
First comes Riverview.
That would make one.
Brandon senior wrestlers ready to lead
By Terry Jones, Times Correspondent In print: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Brandon’s senior standouts, clockwise from back left: Zaq Berridge, Nick Hutchinson, Ryan Renkey, Kevin Timothy and Eric Grajales, a three-time state champ.
[DANIEL WALLACE | Times]
BRANDON — For several seasons, Brandon has been recognized as a young team loaded with freshmen and sophomore talent.
With three incoming freshmen already wearing individual state championship belts and another underclassman with his individual title, the Eagles look young and stacked again this season.
But don't forget about the seniors.
Quietly the six seniors have enough experience and skill to possibly score more points as a unit than any other full Class 2A team at the state championships this season.
Ryan Renkey (112), a state champion move-in from Arizona, three-time state champion Eric Grajales (135), state runnerup Nick Hutchinson (135), state champ Kevin Timothy (140), three-time state placer Zaq Berridge (171) and returning state qualifier Rob Hoelzer (215) give Brandon maturity and leadership.
"As seniors, we are part of a great team with all grades represented," Timothy said. "We are working hard to achieve together. The seniors will provide the leadership in the practice room and in matches. We will be much improved by states."
Because of his experience on youth team USA, three state and numerous national championships, Grajales is the name most recognized. He is one of the top wrestlers in the country and has committed to Michigan.
Timothy overcame a couple of devastating regular-season losses last year to win his first state title. He is a dominant wrestler but not with pins, and could rewrite the technical fall (win by 15-point difference) record at Brandon.
Berridge, an excellent scholar and a tough upper-weight wrestler, is capable of winning a state title anywhere between 160-189 pounds.
Hutchinson will fit into the lineup wherever he is needed. His two brothers wrestle in college and his uncle, Bobby Hendrickson, is the JV coach and a former Brandon state champ.
Renkey won a pair of individual state titles at 103 in Arizona. He has a good opportunity to add a Florida title to his trophy case.
Hoelzer (215) is a seasonal wrestler, but is needed in the upper weights and should qualify for state a second time.
"Our seniors have worked hard, taken their lumps for several years and provide mature leadership," coach Russ Cozart said. "They listen, work hard and are easy to motivate."
Junior Joey Cozart (145-152) has two state titles and is a contender for a third. His experience has made him one of the team leaders.
Freshmen Rossi Bruno (119), Tyler Liberatore (125) and Clark Glass are state champs.
Wrestlers to watch
Eric Grajales, Brandon, Sr., 135: Ranked second nationally for high schoolers, a three-time state champ and multiple youth national champ, member of youth team USA with international experience.
Joey Cozart, Brandon, Jr., 140-152: Two-time state champion with numerous national youth titles.
Kevin Timothy, Brandon, Sr., 140: Defending state champ.
Ryan Renkey, Brandon, Sr., 112: Arizona state champ.
Rossi Bruno, Brandon, Fr., 119: Defending state champ.
Tyler Liberatore, Brandon, Fr., 125: Defending state champ.
Clark Glass, Brandon, Fr., 130: Won at state as a seventh-grader.
Herman Hernandez, Riverview, Sr., 140: Returning state qualifier and potential state champ.
Chris Figari, Bloomingdale, Sr., 152-160: Third in state as sophomore, fourth as junior; state contender in 3A.
Carlos Montero, Bloomingdale, Sr., 145-160: Second in state last year at Coral Gables, state contender at 3A.
Alex Hamm, Durant, Jr., 103: State qualifier last year, should place in state in 3A.
Tony Milanes, Alonso, Sr., 103-112: Fifth in state last year in 3A, potential repeat state placer.
Kendall Ivy, Alonso, Sr., 189-215: State qualifier last year in 3A, potential state placer this season.
Kevin Norstrem, Tampa Bay Christian, eighth, 112: State contender.
James Gray, Armwood, Sr., 112-119: Fifth in state last year, should place higher this year.
Others to watch:Armwood: Timothy Witte (152-160); Plant City: Travis Vollick (189); Sickles: Shawn Mrozko (130-135), Skyler Woods (145); Tampa Bay Christian: Victor Fugate (103), Travis Berridge (125) Brandon: Zaq Berridge (171), Nick Hutchinson (135)
Top five teams
Others to keep an eye on:3A: Plant City 2A: Armwood, Chamberlain, East Bay, Newsome, Sickles A: Berkeley Prep, Jesuit, Robinson, Tampa Prep, Tampa Bay Christian Academy
Wrestling: Tournament crown comes easily to Eagles
Brandon shuts down its competition, winning the title by more than 100 points.
By TERRY JONES, Times Correspondent Published January 20, 2008
BRANDON - Brandon returned to its winning ways Saturday with dominating performances and a victory in the 24th annual Ippolito Memorial wrestling tournament.
The Eagles scored 351.5 points to easily defeat second-place Manatee (230). Springstead finished third with 182.5 points, St. Cloud was fourth at 181.5, and Alonso took fifth at 128.5.
Brandon crowned six individual champions and three runnersup at the 30-team tournament, and all 14 starters placed in the top six.
Zaq Berridge won the medal for the most pins in the least amount of time, scoring five falls in five matches in 10 minutes, 33 seconds.
Springstead senior Schuyler Swanton, 2007 state champion in 103 pounds, was selected wrestler of the tournament. He wrestles at 112 pounds.
Nick Hutchinson scored the quickest pin in the finals in 22 seconds.
""We looked very solid throughout the tournament," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "The tournament this year had excellent competition with some top individuals. There should be a number of state champions coming out of this year's tournament."
Hutchinson, a junior 125-pounder for the Eagles, was especially pleased with his title match.
""This is my first tournament championship this season," he said. ""My opponent was very good, and I wanted to show everybody I could beat a quality opponent.
"I want to go all the way to state this season."
Other Brandon champions included Sean Padgett (103), Eric Grajales (130), Kevin Timothy (135), Joey Cozart (140) and Berridge (160).
Bloomingdale junior Chris Figari won a 2-1 decision over Brandon's Wally Figaro at 145, and Middleton senior Ricardo Albaladejo scored a pin over Alonso's Jack Nueman to complete the list of individual champions.
Brandon's 456-Match Win Streak On The Line In Weekend Tourney
By ADAM ADKINS, The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 4, 2008
BRANDON - It seems every few years the same talk resurfaces, that this is the year "The Streak" will go down.
Alonso coach John Moore has heard it plenty of times. It's safe to say any sports fan in the area has heard it. And just as many times as Moore has heard that the Brandon wrestling program's national record winning streak is going down, he has seen The Streak - as its aptly known - live on.
So it's understandable why Moore is a little reserved about the hype surrounding this weekend's Jim Graves Challenge the Streak Dual Meet Tournament at Brandon, when the Eagles will put their national mark - 456 consecutive dual meet wins - on the line. Talk, as they say, is cheap.
"When it happens," Moore said, "then I'll believe it."
Many probably share that sentiment. But when Brandon coach Russ Cozart again opens the doors to the Eagles Nest tonight to invite teams in to challenge The Streak, one thing is certain: The Eagles will be tested.
Never before has the two-day Graves Duals boasted a field as talented as this. Of the 15 teams other than Brandon entered in the field, three - Naples Palmetto Ridge, Homestead South Dade and Bradenton Manatee - are among the state's top programs, while several others - Springstead, Parkland Douglas, Alonso, Jesuit and Durant - are among the best in their respective areas.
The strength of this year's opposition and the fact that Brandon isn't loaded with superstars like in years past has fueled the talk this season. Brandon is led by returning state champions Eric Grajales, a junior, and sophomore Joey Cozart, but the Eagles lost six of their 14 varsity wrestlers from last season to graduation, five of whom placed at state.
"It is going to be one of Brandon's toughest challenges yet," Durant coach Dennis Kitko said after getting a first-hand look at South Dade, Manatee and Springstead at the Cougar Invitational the first weekend in December. Kitko knows a little about The Streak, considering he helped defend it as a Brandon wrestler in the early 1990s.
Coach Cozart agrees this will be a tougher challenge than any in recent memory.
"The last seven years we've just been heads and tails above everybody. This year is a little bit different. There are three teams out there that are very close to us," Cozart said. "I know they're all going to be psyched up and ready to go. We're just trying to do our best to get ready."
Brandon seems ready. This past weekend, the Eagles claimed a team title at the Heart of Dixie Classic in Alabama, a tournament featuring multiple state championship programs from Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont. Cozart called it a big confidence builder for a team still trying to figure out its identity.
What better identity to establish than as the protectors of The Streak? That's the chance the Eagles have in the next two days.
And if history tells us anything, the chance of The Streak continuing is better than anything else.
"I've been coaching against Cozart for about 10 years, and no matter what - the talk that they're weak and this is their down year - they always seem to pull it off," Moore said. "He is the master. He always seems to have his team ready."
That's why it's hard for Moore, and a lot of others, to buy into the hype.
"I'm not sure if it's Brandon losing possible or not," he said. "When Cozart's team loses, I'll say they're beatable then."
Reporter Adam Adkins can be reached at (813) 657-4533 or
Brandon has faced some very close calls in its record win streak, but there were three wreslters in particular over the past 30 years who coach Russ Cozart said "saved the streak."
By JOE SMITH Published January 4, 2008
Dual: 1980 vs. East Bay
Skinny: When the 1979-80 season started, former Brandon coach Jim Graves said to himself, "There's no way we can beat East Bay." But Gustafson helped save the day. He took on East Bay's Greg Sumner at 189; Gustafson had beaten Sumner in overtime three weeks prior. The Eagles were losing at the time, but Gustafson scored a five-team point superior decision, sending Brandon into the final few matches down 22-21.
"If Tony loses, we lose the match," former Brandon coach Jim Graves said. "He saved the streak."
Dual: 1982 vs. Chamberlain
Skinny: Brandon coach Russ Cozart called it a miracle. He said the match with Chamberlain looked "hopeless on paper." Grant had lost to Tom Timchuk the four times they met previously, but he beat him on this memorable day with a stunning reversal (winning 7-6) in the Eagles three-point victory.
"If Chamberlain would have tied that match," Cozart said. "They would have won."
Dual: 1989 vs. Chamberlain)
Skinny: Nearly 2,000 fans packed Chamberlain's gym for this showdown; the Eagles were thin and vulnerable due to school splitting four times over the previous years (Armwood and Bloomingdale opened). The Eagles tied a match and lost three by one point. Now it was up to Smith, a 5-foot-6 unlikely heavyweight taking on a 6-2 Chiefs wrestler "built like a big football player." Smith took him down with a headlock to preserve the win.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer
Keys to The Streak
By JOE SMITH Published January 3, 2008
Four keys to the streak
Brandon Wrestling Club: In some areas, kids start playing baseball at age 5. In Brandon, they wrestle. The Brandon Wrestling Club, a youth program run by Eagles coach Russ Cozart, has been like a feeder system of champions. In the early years, Cozart said it was like "banging my head against a wall" to get kids out, but now there are routinely 30 to 50. All in all, the kids have compiled more than 150 individual national titles in the past 15 years.
Stability: When Brandon started a wrestling program, it had three coaches in three years. But in the past 35 years it has had two, Jim Graves (8) and Russ Cozart (27). Their dedication to the program, from youth to high school, has sparked wrestlers from around the country to move in and become part of the tradition.
Schedule: For years, the Eagles have feasted on in-county competition. The county has set its schedule, like it does every other school, limiting Brandon's option of facing top-caliber out-of-area teams other than in invitationals, like the Graves Duals. Critics say Brandon has dodged other great teams, but as former county athletic director Vernon Korhn said, "They never ran from anybody."
Work ethic: The Eagles' workouts are almost legendary, second-to-none when it comes to precision and execution. Their administration has supported the program with great facilities, and they've taken advantage.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer
By JOE SMITH Published January 3, 2008
Feb. 20, 1973: In the final match of the regular season, Bradenton Manatee beats Brandon 28-19, leaving the Eagles 12-1.
Jan. 25, 1974: Manatee and Brandon wrestle to a tie at 24, the last time the Eagles did not win a dual meet.
Jan. 16, 1975: Brandon edges nemesis Manatee 29-23 in a dual meet and goes on to post its first unbeaten dual meet season.
Dec. 11, 1976: The Eagles beat defending state champion Miami Palmetto 30-17. In a conversation about the match, Palmetto coaches mention the win streak, causing Brandon coach Jim Graves to take note. It stands at 31 victories and 40 matches without a loss.
March 1, 1980: The state meet is Graves' final appearance as Brandon coach. He retires with a record of 97-11-1, including 75 consecutive dual meet victories.
Feb. 27, 1982: Coach Russ Cozart leads the Eagles to the first of his eight state titles as Brandon coach.
Feb. 6, 1988: A 76-6 win over Hillsborough gives Brandon 176 dual meet victories in a row, one more than previous national record holder Bismarck, N.D.
Jan. 19, 1997: Brandon defeats Chamberlain 59-14, extending its unbeaten streak to 293, breaking the national record for consecutive victories in any sport.
March 15, 1998: Brandon wins 11th state title with 141 points, breaking its previous record.
Aug. 15, 1998: Cozart wins his fourth consecutive gold medal in as many World Masters Wrestling Championships.
2000 and beyond
Feb. 24, 2001: Brandon wins 12th state title with record 156.5 points.
Feb. 23, 2002: Brandon wins 13th state title with 124 points, 17 ahead of second-place St. Thomas Aquinas.
BRANDON - Before "The Streak," there were struggles. Before they were dominant, they were dormant.
The Brandon wrestling program has received national acclaim for its record 456 consecutive dual match victories - the longest for any sport, in any state, in high school history.
Those close to the program believe the Eagles will face their biggest test in nearly two decades Friday and Saturday at the Jim Graves "Beat the Streak" Tournament; with Brandon graduating half its starters from last season and three fierce contenders in Manatee, South Dade and Palmetto Ridge primed to climb "Mount Brandon," it has sparked Eagles coach Russ Cozart to admit, "We could get beat."
But to those former Brandon wrestlers who started the streak in 1973, they say what's often lost in the mystique of the streak is that it was started from scratch.
"Nobody ever thought it'd last this long," said Robert Holsonback, a St. Petersburg engineer who wrestled for Brandon from 1971-74. "We had some humble, humble beginnings."
For the first couple years, the team had no mats, no singlets. It practiced in tennis shoes and shorts on the stage of an auditorium, ripping the 4 by 6 mats off the gym wall before bracing for bumps and bruises. Holsonback said to save money, the team reused the same roll of athletic tape all season.
"We'd tape the mats together, but they'd slide," said Roger Jenkins, 53, a 158-pounder from 1969-72. "Guys would hit their knees, nose and elbows on the floor."
Jenkins had three coaches in the first three years. Assistant football coach Jim Graves took over the program in 1971 even though "I didn't know anything about the sport. I didn't have a clue."
They learned together. Practices consisted of Graves bringing in old filmstrips, describing fundamental moves like the half nelson. The Eagles struggled, going 3-10 in 1972, the only losing season in school history.
Few noticed. Today, a film crew is following Brandon all season for an ESPN documentary, and former wrestler Dave Ryndes is writing a book. But back then, the teams in the early 1970s had to sell themselves in creative ways.
"There were maybe 50 fans in the stands," Holsonback said. "The only people in the stands would be parents, and some girls to come watch Tony Ippolito because he was so athletic."
The turning point for the program came that following summer. Graves told his team it deserved to be winners. So he read three books on the sport - "I even read the rule book," he joked - then took the Eagles to several wrestling camps. The most memorable one, Holsonback said, was a free clinic offered at USF by Masao Hattori, who was third in the 1970 World Games.
"He lined us up by weight and wrestled each one, taking us down in no time flat," Holsonback said. "It was eye-opening."
The following year, the Eagles went 12-1, earning the nickname "Graves' grappling gorillas." A 4-foot toy gorilla named Mongle, dressed in Eagles gear, joined them on the bench.
The school and community started to buy in. Holsonback said Roger Shotz drummed up interest with a flier on which he mimeographed a picture of a wrestler; the flier was put on every door in the school during that 1972-73 season.
News traveled fast, with 1,500 packing the Eagles Nest for Brandon's dual with East Bay, a 30-20 Eagles win. They lost to Manatee (30-20) that season, but haven't since.
"I don't think anyone will beat Brandon for the next 30 years either," Alonso 171-pounder Jack Neuman said. "Usually kids start playing football at age 3. In Brandon, they wrestle. So when you face them, you go in there with nothing to lose. If you lose, you lose to a state champion."
Format: The dual team tournament pits 16 seeded teams (No. 1 wrestles No. 16, No. 2-No. 15); in each dual, the teams wrestle each weight class (103 to heavyweight) like a regular dual. The team with the most points moves on to quarterfinals, then semifinals, etc. These are different than individual-bracketed tournaments, where individual wrestlers are seeded by weight class, regardless of team.
Times: Wrestling begins 5 p.m. Friday; semifinals Saturday at noon, finals at 7
Top teams: Brandon, Palmetto Ridge, Manatee, Miami South Dade, Springstead, Durant, Venice, Jesuit, Plant City, Alonso, Wharton
Skinny: The Eagles put their national-record 456 consecutive dual match victories on the line against their stiffest competition in years.
Hillsborough wrestlers are coming of age
By TERRY JONES, Times Correspondent Published November 12, 2007
Take a long, hard look at the better wrestlers in Hillsborough County this season. They are young.
Clark Glass, 15, won the Class A 103-pound state championship last season as a seventh grader. He is back at Tampa Bay Christian with three buddies who are capable of combining their skills for a top-10 Class A team finish.
Eighth-graders Rossi Bruno (103), 14, Kyle Koziel (135), 14, and junior David Alonso (125), 16, all train with the Brandon Wrestling Club. Bruno has earned more than 20 national championships in youth wrestling. So has Glass, and Koziel has about a half dozen.
"This is only the second year of wrestling for David, but he is amazing the way he continues to improve," Rams coach Darrell Tabor said. "Clark and Bruno are contenders for state championships this year and Koziel is capable of winning or at least placing high in the state. David is capable of qualifying for states and scoring some points for us. I like our chances of making our presence known in tournaments this season."
Tabor says his three middle-schoolers have a mutual challenge, normally not faced by older wrestlers in the high school ranks.
"Even though they have similar weights to older opponents, 14- and 15-year-olds have less mature muscle structure," he said. "An 18- or 19-year-old is stronger at the same weight. Our kids will have to use their superior skills and experience to overcome strength. They must wrestle smarter."
The Rams don't wrestle dual matches because they don't have enough wrestlers. Koziel and Alonso have the rougher paths to travel in their quests for berths at the state tournament.
"I just can't move Kyle," Alonso said. "He is just too strong and too big. I'm getting better every day though. All three teach me. They make me feel like part of the team, and I will work hard to help the team win."
1. Can Brandon continue its 32-year dual meet win streak of 439?
Yes, but it will be tough. The Eagles graduated two state champions and several other talents. But they still have state champions Eric Grajales and Joey Cozart, plus state runnerup Kevin Timothy, state placers Zaq Berridge and Phil Uno, plus Nick Hutchinson, Terry Dawson and several surprises. But Manatee, the last team to beat the Eagles, has been working hard for this season and can win. South Dade has potentially the best team in Florida, and Palmetto Ridge is capable.
2. What are the most competitive private schools?
Mike Joyce is helping Jesuit as a friend of the school so the Tigers will be competitive. Tyler Liberatore is wrestling for Tampa Prep, so those teammates around his weight (112) will get better just working out with him. Tampa Bay Christian is tough.
3. Will coach Willie Sargable returning make a difference in Hillsborough County wrestling?
Sargable made Riverview a competitive program before taking a break for a couple of years. With him back, the Sharks should be competitive by districts and challenging by next season.
1. Brandon: In the county, still the best. In the state? South Dade, Naples Palmetto Ridge and Manatee have the potential to beat Brandon. They all meet in the Graves Challenge on Jan. 4-5 in the Eagles Nest. Seats will be at a premium.
2. Bloomingdale and Durant, tie: Bulls coach Donnie Peek has a strong stable. Cougars coach Dennis Kitko doesn't have the word "lose" in his vocabulary, so even though he is reloading, these teams will be nose-to-nose all the way to regionals.
4. Robinson: Coach Tom Montero has a savvy staff of assistants and some tough kids. They need a few more skills to be a state challenger, but they are working on that.
5. Alonso and Armwood, tie: Ravens coach John More and Hawks coach Robert Langford both have a group of returnees to fill lineups in competitive programs and enough move-ins and new wrestlers capable of making a difference.
Darkhorses: Wharton, Jesuit, Riverview, Plant City, Sickles and Newsome.
Top three tournaments
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Cougar Invitational at Durant: Good early measuring stick. Tough teams and several individual state champions. Local teams include Durant, Wharton, Plant, Sickles, Jesuit, Hillsborough, Chamberlain, King, Jefferson, Plant City, Riverview. State powerhouses: Naples Riverdale, Miami Braddock, Suwanee, Manatee, Osceola.
Jan. 4-5, Graves Challenge at Brandon: With the Eagles' loss of its almost invincible middle weights to graduation and youngsters counted on to maintain the 32-year streak, it is definitely in danger. Included in the attack will be Palmetto Ridge, Miami South Dade, Springstead and Manatee.
Jan. 18-19, Ippolito Memorial at Brandon: A final big-bracket tournament before districts. Jesuit, Manatee, Springstead, Osceola, Flagler Palm Coast and others usually compete in a final warmup to the big dance in Lakeland.
Eagles Again Rule The Roost
By BRYAN BURNS
Published February 12, 20
LAKELAND - No surprise here - Brandon again is king of the region.
The five-time defending state champion Eagles qualified 12 for the state tournament and crowned eight region champions Saturday at Lake Gibson High. Brandon finished with 292 points, 149 better than second-place Springstead.
"I'm happy to take twelve to states," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "I'd like to take 14, but there are too many good wrestlers in this area."
Eric Grajales (103), Kevin Timothy (119), James Brown (125), Alex Araoz (130), Sean Joyce (145), Keith Koziel (152), Tom Timothy (160) and David Craig (171) all took home titles for Brandon. Kyle Keller (112) and Clayton Simmons (215) fell in the finals to finish in second.
Zaq Berridge (140) and Billy Gower (189) made the consolation finals - both losing to finish fourth - to qualify for the state tournament at the Lakeland Center, which starts Thursday.
"The region meet is a funny kind of meet because it's so emotional," Cozart said. "You see favorites getting beat and people coming out of nowhere to win titles. I like the way my kids reacted to that emotion."
Keller Leads Brandon To Another Wrestling Title
February 2, 2006
WINTER HAVEN - The wrestler with the funny style got his payback Wednesday.
Brandon junior Kyle Keller and his unorthodox stance led the Eagles to another title at the Class 2-District 7 meet at Polk Community College. Brandon had 12 individual champions and took home the team title with 292 points, thanks mainly to Keller's inspiring 5-4 decision against Lakeland Lake Gibson's Anthony Jorge in the 112-pound weight class.
"It was unbelievable. It got me ready; it really got the rest of us ready for our match," Brandon 130-pounder Alex Araoz said. "It definitely set the mood for the rest of the tournament."
After Jorge scored the first points on a takedown in the first two-minute period, Keller responded, scoring five fast points on two near falls in the second period to help fend off Jorge and hand the reigning state champion his first loss of the season.
This was the second shot Keller had at Jorge. Keller faced him earlier in the season in the finals of the Ippolito Memorial Tournament on Jan. 21, but Jorge came out on top 10-4.
The difference between Wednesday's Keller-Jorge match and the first was all in the stance.
Keller is jokingly teased by his teammates because he bends over awkwardly because of his long, skinny frame.
"Every kid's different," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Kyle's really tall and lanky, and he gets down real low."
Keller also stands crooked with his left knee out when facing an opponent, a weakness Jorge exploited in their first match. But Cozart noticed Keller's tendency and his teammates helped him fix it.
"James [Brown] and Alex [Araoz] worked with me a lot," Keller said. "Alex was the one that really taught me how to stay low. I owe a lot to Alex - and to James for throwing me around in practice."
Araoz and Brown also helped the team as part of the 14 Brandon wrestlers to make it to the finals.
"Every kid is behind each other, and they put a lot of time into it," Cozart said. "[Keller's win] got the team rolling; we kind of went on a run after that."
Keller's win was followed by nine more victories, including another win by pin from 171-pounder David Craig, who took only 1:37 to take down Auburndale's John Haak to improve his career match record to 171-0.
Freshman Eric Grajales (103) turned in a solid effort by pinning Lake Gibson's Brent Jorge in 1:39.
CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 6: At Pinellas Park, Mitchell had four place winners. Michael Trinidad, a senior, led the Mustangs as he advanced to the 171-pound final via two pins. Trinidad fell to Palm Harbor's Jon Dinsmore 13-5 in a major decision.
Jared Hayes (189) was third, while Jordan Holding (130) and Moises Gomez (160) were fourth. All four advance to the 3A-Region 2 tourney.
Countryside, with six champions, won the team title with 227 points. Palm Harbor was second with 189.
Mitchell finished in eighth place with 59.
Cozart Remembers Pioneer Wrestling Notebook
For Brandon coach Russ Cozart, the Ippolito Memorial Tournament gives him a chance to remember a friend.
The tournament is named for Tony Ippolito, Brandon's first state-champion wrestler, and to Cozart, one of the most important contributors to the Brandon wrestling program.
"It's a way for us to recognize Tony Ippolito and his accomplishments that he made as a teacher and as an athlete here at Brandon High School," Cozart said. "It's a way for us to [honor] Tony Ippolito's career."
Ippolito also worked as an assistant under Cozart, but in his early 30s he was diagnosed with the cancer that would take his life shortly after. Cozart is constantly reminded of his former wrestler's contribution to the program.
"He's our first one, the way [former coach Jim] Graves described him was that he was one of the first guys that knew he was a great wrestler," Cozart said. "He knew that Brandon was a great team, and that they could form a tradition."
Ippolito's words proved prophetic, and now Brandon is one of the most successful teams in all of prep sports and boasts a remarkable dual-meet winning streak of 423 consecutive matches.
Around this time every year, the Ippolito Tournament allows Cozart a chance to remind his team about one of the greatest wrestlers to wear an Eagles uniform.
"A lot of people feel that the heart of this program started with Tony Ippolito," Cozart said. "That's why we named it after him, so people don't forget about him.
By TONY MARQUIS Tribune correspondent
Published: Jan 19, 2006
Brandon Keeps It Going
DURANT - Maybe one day Durant will be the team that ends Brandon's four-decade-long winning streak. Maybe someday, Durant coach Dennis Kitko will receive the congratulatory handshake he has dreamed of from his mentor, Brandon coach Russ Cozart.
When - or if - that day will arrive remains a mystery. However, what is certain is that the Cougars have some work to do before they can say they're in Brandon's league.
With a packed house on hand for what some believed would be a dangerous match for Brandon and its national-record winning streak, the Eagles were not seriously threatened on their way to a 40-18 victory to extend their win streak to 423 dual meets.
"When there's a chance for us to get beat, people want to see it," Cozart said. "It's a good story. It was a good wrestling atmosphere. Things went our way."
They did, and right from the start when Brandon 103-pounder Eric Grajales pinned Sean Padgett in 2 minutes, 12 seconds of the first match.
Cozart said he thought the better test came in the second match, when Brandon's Kyle Keller defeated Tommy Bennett, 5-2, at 112 pounds.
"When Keller went out and did a good job against Bennett, and he won that match, that was a good turning point," Cozart said. "Things went pretty much as scripted."
Durant's Justin Bechtold put the Cougars on the board with an 8-2 win over Kevin Timothy at 119 pounds. However, Brandon reeled off three consecutive wins to open a 22-3 gap.
"Overall, we did not wrestle well," Kitko said. "I don't know if we would have won anyway, but we did not wrestle well as a team. I expected a little bit more than that. I thought the [final score] would be within 10. If we would have wrestled the way we should have, it would have been."
Instead, Brandon took a 40-12 lead before Durant's Chip Bowden and Greg Updike got pins in the final two matches at 215 and 275 pounds.
"He's building the program," Cozart said of Kitko, who won three state titles as a wrestler at Brandon from 1991-93. "He is working hard with the kids. Durant is lucky to have him."
By SCOTT CARTER Published: January 13, 2006
Floridians Dominate Tournament
Daily Bulletin – Ontario, CA 12/31/05
Jeff Gluck, Staff Writer
UPLAND - They were the New York Yankees in singlets, the team everyone came to see but loved to boo.
Each time a wrestler from the Brandon (Fla.) squad was put on his back, the crowd at Upland's Black Watch Tournament exploded in cheers.
Unfortunately for the other 52 teams which showed up for the tournament, that didn't happen very often.
Brandon, which hasn't lost a dual meet in 32 years, earned a victory on its California vacation by placing 12 of their 13 wrestlers in the top six. The Eagles, coached by Upland graduate Russ Cozart, won five weight classes and and placed second or third in five others.
By the end of the second day, the fans were eager to see anyone in a maroon uniform lose.
"We're used to that," Cozart said. "We get the same thing in Florida. It comes with the price of being good ... we seem to build a natural rivalry wherever we go."
Though the Brandon Show drew the most attention, several local teams had solid performances.
Hesperia finished second with 170 points (Brandon scored 352.5) and Los Osos was sixth with 120.
"We told these guys coming in, if we could finish as the top California team, that would be a great achievement," Hesperia coach David Stidham said. "It would really put our school on the map and get us going in the right direction."
Three area wrestlers won their weight classes: San Dimas' Angel Garcia (112 pounds), Los Osos' Dylan Sweet (160) and Hesperia's Ryan Hoover (275).
"This means a lot," said Sweet, who moved up from 140 pounds to 160 when he gained weight over the summer. "I didn't know how (changing weight classes) would go, but I did well and stuck with it."
Garcia beat Victor Valley's Jarrett Zubiate 9-6, but the match was tied briefly in the third period.
"I was nervous going in because he's a tough wrestler," Garcia said. "When I gave up points and it was tied, I was really scared then."
In a different year, more area wrestlers might have joined the winning trio. But three local wrestlers were stopped by Eagles in the championship matches.
Diamond Ranch's Ruben Pereida lost the 171-pound match to David Craig, who is rated as the No. 1 wrestler in the country. Craig had a lethal combination of unreal speed, technique and strength, earning him comparisons to Cael Sanderson, the Olympic gold medalist and four-time NCAA champion.
"It shows me where I gotta be, what I've gotta work toward," Pereida said.
Losing to the best wrestler in the country wasn't something Pereida was hanging his head over. After all, he made it to the second period before being pinned - the only one of Craig's opponents to do so in the tournament.
"It wasn't too bad, I guess," Pereida said. "I almost scored a takedown on him, too."
Damien's Frank Lucero (145 pounds) and Los Osos' Bobby Ziello (130) also made the finals before losing to Brandon wrestlers.
"For us, to see the kind of level you can achieve is quite inspiring," said Upland coach Bob Irwin, whose team finished 14th. "(Craig) is absolutely as slick as they get."
Back-to-back matches for Brandon High wrestlers
By TERRY JONES, Times Correspondent
Published November 25, 2005
BRANDON - In a new format being tested this season, north Hillsborough County's top three high school wrestling teams - Alonso, Chamberlain and Sickles - all traveled to Brandon to challenge the 11th-ranked team in the country.
Brandon High School is ranked that highly even after losing four of its best wrestlers to graduation last year.
Brandon coach Russ Cozart said the new format of four teams competing against each other on a Saturday is designed to save money with just one bus trip rather than three, and to cut back on school-night activity also.
"All three coaches readily accepted the opportunity to try out the new format," Cozart said. "We started at 11 a.m. and all six duals were finished by around 3 p.m. Because of the quality of the four schools, each wrestler had the opportunity for three challenging matches in one day."
"I think this is a great idea for everyone involved," Sickles coach Terry Brockland said. "It gives us an early opportunity to measure where we are and find out what we need to work on the most."
Brandon won all of its team matches and gave up only one individual match. Alonso went 2-1, Sickles was 1-2 and Chamberlain was 0-3 in close matches without some of its best wrestlers. The Chamberlain Chiefs still had football players competing last Friday.
Individually, Sickles senior Joe Russell recorded the best mark of the north Hillsborough teams. As the only wrestler to take a win from the Eagles, heavyweight Russell was 3-0.
He scored a 1-0 decision over Brandon's Clayton Simmons at 275 pounds.
"Joe is one of our best wrestlers and a great athlete," Brockland said. "He is also an outstanding football player and is being recruited by several Division I college teams."
Chamberlain and Alonso wrestled the toughest battle in the four-way dual match. The two teams finished 39-39. Officials had to go through several tie-breaking criteria before awarding the match to Alonso.
[Last modified November 25, 2005, 00:09:59]
From St. Pete Times 11-25-05
Brandon Wrestling: Winning + Family
Eric Grajales, left, and Sean Joyce, right, are following in their brothers' footsteps by wrestling for Coach Russ Cozart, center, at Brandon High School.
ROBERT BURKE / Tribune
By TONY MARQUIS Tribune correspondent
Published: Nov 17, 2005
For the Brandon High wrestling team, winning has always been a family tradition.
Ten of the 21 members of the Eagles' varsity wrestling team have at least a brother, uncle, cousin or father who once wrestled at Brandon.
"It's probably like a lot of sports," Coach Russ Cozart said. "Once you get sports going in a family, usually the younger siblings will follow in the footsteps of the older siblings."
Freshman Eric Grajales is just one Eagle who comes from a long line of wrestlers.
"My dad, he kind of got me started off on it," Grajales said. "After that, it was always my choice, but my brother always pushed me hard. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be where I am today."
Eric's father, Cesar, wrestled for Brandon in 1982, but it is Eric's brother, also named Cesar, who has his name on the wall that borders one end of the Brandon gym -- the wall that lists every state champion for the Eagles.
The wall has even more importance to those who are kin to those inscribed upon it.
"I look at all the people I know up there, all these people [who] worked together to keep the streak going," said junior Sean Joyce, whose brother Ryan wrestled for Brandon and won a state title in 2003. "It's kind of amazing just to stare up at the wall."
Everyone knows the streak -- Brandon's consecutive win streak in dual matches -- which now stands at 413. But Cozart said it's not the families that have made Brandon what it is; it's the program that has produced the family ties.
"I don't think it's so unusual that their families are a part of it," said Cozart, who runs a program for younger wrestlers. "We've had a really good program over a long time, so you get fathers that were part of the streak and now their sons are part of the streak."
Cozart's son Rocky, who is now a freshman on the wrestling team at Michigan State, wrestled for the Eagles from 2002-2005 and took home three state titles. Cozart has another son, Joey, who is an eighth-grader at Temple Heights, and is expected to wrestle for Brandon next year.
"Having a relationship with a kid over a longer period time helps a kid have confidence in me," Cozart said. "I know them better. You know his parents, you know his family, and you have more of a one-on-one relationship. There's a much higher level of trust."
Building a wrestler, especially one who has had a successful relative at Brandon, comes with high expectations.
"You kind of expect something. They're not their brothers, but in that same sense, you figure they've been brought up with wrestling," Joyce said. "You do expect a lot from them. I don't know if that's fair or not, but it happens."
As hard as it is to imagine, one day there might not be a streak, but there will always be cousins, nephews, fathers and brothers, and there will always be a wall of names that will be there to inspire every wrestler who walks into the Brandon gym.
Top 10 wrestlers in the area, regardless of weight class: