JESUP — Brian Sadler enjoys offering a change of pace from the typical heavyweight wrestler.
The Jesup senior has risen to a No. 1 ranking by The Predicament in Class 1A’s highest weight class, compiling 151 career wins with more than 100 pins. He’s 38-0 this season with 24 falls, often refusing to settle for the type of low-scoring decisions that are prevalent in his weight class.
“I’m always on the offense,” Sadler said. “If it’s right away in the first period or two seconds left in the third period, I’m always looking to score. A lot of heavyweights are just big throwers and heavy on top, but I like to take shots and stay moving quick throughout the match — keep it interesting and not just have a boring push-around match the whole time.”
Jesup coach Scott Trueg says Sadler also breaks the heavyweight mold in the practice room, where he’s one of the quicker and more active wrestlers on the team.
“He doesn’t like to be a boring heavyweight,” Trueg said. “He wants to be active and he moves like a lightweight.”
Wrestling is just one part of the equation for Sadler, who plans to play football at the collegiate level for a school to be determined in the coming weeks. He’s a competitor in the throwing events on the track and field team, as well.
“Wrestling has really helped me to become a lot better football player,” said Sadler, an offensive and defensive lineman. “I’m looking forward to the new challenges that it (college football) will bring and meeting new people. I’m just really excited to have that opportunity to compete at a higher level.”
Sadler’s exposure to wrestling began in kindergarten. His older cousins on his mom’s side of the family, Brett Yonkovic and Nathan Vaske, each competed for West Delaware High School and Wartburg College, and helped teach him the basics.
Sadler found exposure to national competition with Team Iowa from fourth through eighth grade and nearly qualified for state as a freshman heavyweight, placing third in districts.
“I was giving up 45-50 pounds as a heavyweight,” Sadler said of his freshman year. “I went into every match thinking, ‘I’ve got to do whatever I can to win, but losses are a learning experience.’ ... When you’re smaller and younger, and they have the advantage on you, you’ve got to work that much harder to be better than them.”
As Sadler continued to gain strength, he found success during a breakthrough sophomore season. In his state debut, he recovered from a first-round loss by earning a win over the No. 2-ranked wrestler and also avenged that initial defeat to capture a fourth-place spot on the podium.
“His confidence level rose tremendously,” Trueg recalled. “From then on he felt he was at that level of competition so he didn’t hold much back.”
Sadler reached the state semifinals last season and placed third. Already dominant through wins over some of 1A’s top wrestlers at his weight class this season, the Jesup senior wants nothing more than to close in style.
“I’ve been dreaming of being a state champ ever since I was a little kid,” Sadler said. “I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that. I’m going to keep pushing really hard to make it happen.”