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The state qualifiers: Brant Beck

Energetic sophomore heads back to state for 2nd straight year


Sports Editor, RTC

Brant Beck

Rochester sophomore wrestler Brant Beck lost at the IHSAA state finals to Crown Point’s Sam Goin at the IHSAA state finals last year.

He did not lose again until a 3-0 loss to Crown Point’s Anthony Rinehart at the East Chicago semistate 165-pound final on Saturday.

In between, he’s been racking up conference, sectional and regional titles, not to mention weight class titles at tournaments like the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational and the Jim Nicholson Invite at Elkhart and a 3-0 record to help Rochester win the Class 1A team state duals.

Now he’s headed back to state after his runner-up showing behind Rinehart at East Chicago.

He will wrestle Cowan’s Levi Abbott in the first round at state at the Ford Center in Evansville later today.

“In my head, it will feel different just because of the place, and where it’s at is in Evansville and the Ford Center, so I think it will be different than at Gainbridge (Fieldhouse in Indianapolis),” Beck said. “But other than that, it should be the same.”

Beck survived a harrowing match in the final at the Penn regional against Mishawaka senior Will Kennedy. He won 8-7 but needed a takedown in the final seconds to pull out the win.

Coach Clint Gard said Beck seemed to lack energy against Kennedy but vowed that things would be better at the semistate.

He punched his state ticket by pinning Highland’s Hunter Sopkowski in 52 seconds in the first round and a 20-4 technical fall over Chesterton’s Lucas Anderson in the second round in which Anderson’s four points came on escapes Beck gave him just so he could take him down again.

A similar takedown tour de force occurred in the semifinals against Lake Central’s Emilio Tirado, and Beck earned another technical fall win, this time 23-8 in 4:46.

He said part of his energetic strategy involves proper breathing.

“My goal was just to push the pace and score points,” Beck said. “Just work hard in practice, drill hard. Work on my breathing techniques and just get after it. … It’s all about my footwork, my motions and make him open up his legs for my shot fakes.”

Beck said Rinehart is “known around the country for wrestling.” He also said he’s pretty strong and “just a tough kid.”

“He’s really good at sitting in the corner, and he’s long,” Beck said. “So he sat in the corner and hooked my leg and caught me.”

Beck has already beaten Abbott twice this year – once in the finals of the McKee Invitational on Dec. 16 and again at the Class 1A team state duals on Jan. 6. He needed a last-second takedown to win the first match 4-3 and won the second match by injury default when Abbott could not stop a nosebleed in the allotted five minutes of blood time.

Beck’s goals are even higher this time. He wants another chance to wrestle the top-ranked Rinehart.

“My goal is I want to make it to the finals with him again,” Beck said.

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