Brandon Mutz is on a mission.
Some may have thought the Brainerd Warriors wrestler, who finished second in last year's Class 3A state tournament at 119 pounds, would cruise through this season.
That thought took a quick detour in the opening tournament of the season as he lost a 7-2 decision to Darick Vancura of Jackson County Central for the title at 119. Vancura is ranked seventh in 1A at 112 pounds.
Since then Mutz has rattled off 15 straight victories, including titles in three tournaments, and went 3-0 in another invite.
"It definitely has helped me," Mutz said of his only loss. "It's motivated me more, definitely, not to look past anybody."
Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran isn't sure he would classify the loss as a blessing in disguise.
"I know it's made him realize there are some wrestlers out there who are pretty good," Boran said. "He's got to turn it up a little bit, and he's done that. He has pretty much dominated since then."
After a forfeit victory Tuesday, Mutz's record stands at 18-1. Thirteen of his victories have been pins, which are worth six team points.
"He gets a lot of big team points for us, which is important, given the depth of our team," Boran said. "We need those points from him, we kind of expect that from him."
Mutz won the Paul Bunyan, Big Bear and Cambridge-Isanti tournaments and went 3-0 at last weekend's Moorhead Invite.
Weight: 119 pounds
Career highlight: Finishing second in Class 3A state tournament
Grade-point average: 2.5
Favorite subject: History
Favorite TV show: Ultimate Fighting Championship
Favorite Web site: The Guillotine
Future plans: Attend college, wrestle, undecided on major
Parents: Shane and Michelle Danielson
"He won the Paul Bunyan and turned around the next weekend and won the Big Bear, that's definitely one of the toughest tournaments in the state that weekend," Warriors co-head coach Jim Kath said. "He has stepped up against good competition in each of those tournaments."
Mutz said he doesn't wrestle any different in a tournament than he does in a dual meet.
"I just go out there and have the mindset to beat the kid," he said, "and I work really hard in the (wrestling) room to do that."
Kath said Mutz is working on a few things to hopefully beat the best on his way to a state championship.
"He's a great wrestler," Kath said. "He would beat most kids anyhow, but he's looked at areas where he could get better. On the bottom it's getting away from guys. He's good defending against (opponents') shots. That makes him hard to score on. That makes it easier for him to score a lot of points."
Boran said Mutz is humble and doesn't let success go to his head.
"He's not a showoff or a hot dog kind of kid when he wrestles," Boran said. "At state last year I don't think I saw him raise his arms in celebration, even though he made the finals. He pretty much walks off the mat, shakes the coaches hands, and doesn't bring a lot of attention to himself.
"At that level a lot of wrestlers sometimes want to put on a show. Brandon's not like that."
Other notable efforts:
• Bror Linnerooth, Alpine skiing, won the boys' title at the Duluth East Invite.
• Gina Engel, Alpine skiing, won the girls' race at the Duluth East Invite.
• Jared Anderson, swimming, won two individual events and was on two first-place relays in the True Team section meet.
• Luke Boran, Tyler Kohlmeier and Chad Ohman, wrestling, all went 3-0 at the Moorhead tournament.
• Reid Mimmack, hockey made 24 saves in a shutout against Rosemount.
• Amanda Finstad and Rachael Howard, Nordic skiing, won the pursuit race at the Alexandria Invite.
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