ASHLAND — Ashland University sophomore Joe Brandt had dealt with pressure throughout the wrestling season.
Going in to the season, the Versailles High School graduate was picked to win his weight class. While he did not reach his goal of winning the national championship, he repeated as an all-American.
“My goal was to win the national tournament. Did real well throughout the season, had a couple downs,” Brandt said. “Came into the tournament still thinking I could win it. It just wasn’t my year.”
Brandt finished seventh at the national meet.
“I’m happy to be an all-American.” Brandt said. “That is an honor, but I am not going to be satisfied until I get that national title.”
Brandt lost his first match at the NCAA championships to the fifth seeded wrestler. The match went to overtime with Brandt losing a 3-1 decision.
Relegated to the consolation bracket, Brandt won his next two matches and was a win away from wrestling for third place.
He lost another heartbreaker in overtime to Carl Broghammer, who was projected to win the tournament but was upset in the first round. Broghammer finished third at the meet.
“We both lost in the first round. I knew it was going to be a heck of a brawl,” Brandt said. “We were both bleeding everywhere; it was a fight. He ended up taking me down in overtime.”
The loss put Brandt in the running for seventh place. He was able win a 4-3 decision to finish seventh.
Brandt has high expectations over the next two years and knows that it will take hard work to accomplish his goals.
“Looking back I think I could have been more aggressive in my offense,” Brandt said. “I am going to train and lift hard.”
He sets goals for each match and knows that if he accomplishes those goals, he will be on target for his overall goal of the national championship.
Brandt was not the only Ashland wrestler to place at the meet. Freshman Michael Labry secured a fourth place finish at the 133 weight class. The Ashland team finished 13th overall scoring 38 points.
As a team, Ashland only loses one senior off their varsity team, and Brandt expects the team to continue to improve their spot at the national meet.