Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – There are wrestlers that experience immediate success in their first season of varsity competition.
Simply put, Andy Brokaw was not one of those wrestlers.
Brokaw took his lumps as an undersized freshman in the varsity lineup three years ago struggling through an 11-33 season.
“He got thrown into the varsity lineup as a 120 pounder when he weighed about 115 and he got pounded,” Solon coach Blake Williams said of the debut season for Brokaw.
Things didn’t get much easier for Brokaw as a sophomore when he spent most of the season wrestling junior varsity meets.
After two seasons netted a total of 22 varsity wins something happened.
Brokaw kept coming back. As in every single day.
“I really flipped a switch sophomore summer, I knew I had to work hard if I knew I wanted to get to where I wanted to be,” Brokaw said. “I fell in love with that mindset and I worked hard.”
With the end of his prep wrestling career just a few weeks away Brokaw hasn’t stopped coming back.
The senior has yet to miss a day of practice, or a meet, or a day of weight lifting or a training sessions.
Four years full of workouts, four years of perfect attendance.
“It has just become such a part of my lifestyle, working hard every day,” Brokaw said. “That is how I have lived my whole life.”
Even those first two years when the win-loss record didn’t standout the work ethic from Brokaw caught the attention of Williams.
When a wrestler coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons is among the hardest workers in the room people tend to take notice and Williams certainly did.
“When you go four years without missing a single day that tells you something about a kid right there,” Williams said. “Out of all those days there were probably days where he was sick or didn’t feel good or something but he was there every day.”
It didn’t take long for the hard work to pay off.
Brokaw went from 11 wins in a reserve role as a sophomore to a state qualifier with 32 wins last season.
As a senior Brokaw boasts a 33-9 record and is seeking a second consecutive appearance at the state meet later this month.
“From a couple of years ago I have improved leaps and bounds, it’s night and day it’s not even the same person,” Brokaw said. “You wouldn’t even be able to tell that was me freshman year.”
Williams agrees the once silent freshman has become a team leader.
“His freshman year you never heard him talk to now he never isn’t talking, he is always talking which is a good thing,” Williams said. :He has a great sense of humor, he is a great kid, he’s a leader.”
Brokaw doesn’t limit the hard work he puts in to just wrestling and that has led to success outside of the wrestling room.
The senior spent three years on the football team and one year on the cross country team at Solon and boasts a 3.7 grade point average.
Brokaw says his success in athletics begins with being a strong student.
“Being successful in one thing really leads you to be successful in another,” Brokaw said. “I feel like getting good grades in school or having a good day in classes helps me have a good practice and it leads to good meets and wins and success on the mat.”
Brokaw plans to attend Hawkeye Community College next fall to take part in the HVAC program.
First he has his sights set on a strong finish to his wrestling career with trips to the traditional and dual state tournaments.
“You have to wrestle your best at the end of the year and whatever pans out, pans out,” Brokaw said. “The goal ultimately is to wrestle your best at the end of the year.”
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