Brandon Mutz lets his performance on the wrestling mat do his talking.
The soft-spoken Brainerd wrestler turned in a rousing performance last week in the Class 3A state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The unranked junior won his first three matches to reach the 119-pound finals where he ran into unbeaten and two-time defending state champion Destin McCauley of Apple Valley.
McCauley scored a technical fall with one minute remaining. The Apple Valley freshman was in the bracket opposite Mutz.
"We thought going in, looking at the weight class where Brandon was, that he could get a medal," Warriors co-head coach Mike Boran said. "To get to the finals was a little bit of a surprise, but he had as good a shot as anybody. He was opposite of the guy who beat him, and that's how it ended up in the finals."
Mutz finished with a 28-4 record after bumping up a weight class this season. Last year he wrestled at 112, the year before at 103.
"It was better because I didn't have to cut as much weight so I could have more energy," Mutz said of wrestling at 119.
Boran said Mutz made the decision to be at 112 or 119.
"He stayed at 119, mostly for the team, but it worked out for him as an individual," Boran said. "He's pretty unselfish that way. He's a hard-worker, a hard-nosed kid. He had a great season."
Warriors co-head coach Jim Kath said Mutz handled the pressure of wrestling in his first state tournament.
"The first trip to the state tournament you always deal with nervousness," Kath said. "Brandon worked through it, wrestled a good match his first match and kept the ball rolling."
Weight: 119 pounds.
Memorable sports achievement: Finishing second in last week's Class 3A state tournament.
Favorite subject: History.
Favorite food: Pizza.
Favorite Web site: www.guillotine.com.
Hobbies: Skateboarding, weightlifting.
Future plans: Attend Concordia St. Paul, hopes to wrestle.
Athlete he admires: Former Olympian Dan Gabel.
Parents: Michelle Danielson and Shane Danielson.
Mutz opened with a pin at 5:54 against Travis Newell of St. Paul Harding. In the quarterfinals he scored a 15-7 decision against Tyler Trattles of Prior Lake. His 4-3 semifinal victory was against 10th-ranked Kyle Anderson of Coon Rapids.
Boran said Mutz's run to the finals wasn't completely unexpected.
"He's had some success the past few years," Boran said. "He was third in the section as a ninth-grader, and third as a 10th-grader, so he was close to state in both of those meets, but he didn't quite make it there. He didn't get the end-of-season recognition as far as making the state tournament, but he's always been pretty solid for us."
Kath said Mutz's season was an indication of his capabilities.
"He's obviously a kid we expect good things out of," he said. "He's determined to be a state participant. He's got a shot at it. If he gets in the right weight class he's a kid who could win the state tournament. He has pretty high goals as an individual, and we've got high goals for him as coaches."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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