In the season's first wrestling meet Jason Brill of Little Falls registered a technical fall against Bemidji's Denver Collins.
The Flyers won 37-27, but head coach Mike Hendrickson saw more potential in Brill.
"He had beaten that kid twice and earned a tech fall against a kid who is very hard to get pins against," said Hendrickson. "After that match I just told Jason that it's really important to get that pin and, well, enough said."
Brill, who wrestles at 103 pounds, rattled off six straight pins, helping Little Falls start the season 6-1.
"Coach told me I needed to take it a little slower and not rush into it so quick," Brill said. "He told me they needed me to get pins. I just started getting them. He told me what I needed to do and I listened to him."
At the Monticello tournament Dec. 4, the sophomore was 4-0 with four pins and Little Falls finished third.
Hendrickson said getting six points from your smallest wrestler is huge. He said during the postseason the 103-pounder is the first wrestler and a pin gives the team early momentum.
"To start with a really good wrestler is nice because it gets the ball rolling," said Hendrickson. "It's a fortunate thing for us we have Jason. He is really a determined wrestler. He has a lot of lofty goals and he'll achieve them all."
"He told me they needed me to get pins. I just started getting them. He told me what I needed to do and I listened to him."
Little Falls sophomore wrestler
The three-year varsity wrestler pinned Joseph Pesta of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle in 3:02 after his match with Collins. On Dec. 3, he pinned Zac Walz of Rocori at 1:03, lifting the Flyers to a Central Lakes Conference victory.
"He's pretty good from all positions," said Hendrickson. "He's aggressive and goes after guys. He did spring and summer wrestling. He was on the Minnesota National Greco-Roman and freestyle teams. He spent a week in Colorado and Oklahoma. He has a ton of confidence and he's really a determined kid."
Brill said the extra two weeks gave him confidence heading into the season. He said the experience helped him with the technical aspects of wrestling and gave him a mental edge.
"The last two years he was a 103-pounder but he was light for his weight," said Hendrickson. "Now he's finally a legitimate 103-pounder. Last year any time he had a kid stronger or longer than him it gave him fits. He was a good wrestler, but he struggled with those type of wrestlers. This year he's able to run with those guys. He's already had a couple of them and he's beaten them."
Brill, whose family has a wrestling tradition, is excited about the season. The Flyers are considered one of the teams to beat in the conference and Section 8, Class 3A.
"We're expecting to go to state," said Brill. "The whole atmosphere is hard to explain. Everyone is just really excited."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Travis Fedor, Little Falls, had 22 points and 11 rebounds against Sauk Rapids.
Joe Stoll, Pillager, collected 32 points and 10 rebounds against Nevis.
Joe Kavanaugh, Pillager, had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Nevis.
Aaron Kampa, Lake Region, scored 20 points against First Baptist.
Hockey -- Preston Stearns, Wadena-Deer Creek, had three goals and an assist against Pequot Lakes.
Steven Festler, Little Falls, had three goals and two assists against Willmar.
Mikael Lickteig, Little Falls, had two goals and three assists against Willmar.
Wrestling -- Ted Wilczek, Little Falls, finished 7-0 with four pins last week.
Kenny Steffens and Tanner Rentz, W-DC, won individual championships at the Wolverines' invitational.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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