DES MOINES — Brody Brisker was ready at the whistle Thursday morning.
Five seconds after his match started at the Class 1A state wrestling tournament, the Wilton freshman had a takedown. He added five more over the next 2½ periods to register a 19-4 technical fall in the opening round.
“There was maybe a little bit of adrenaline running through me, but I wasn’t nervous,” Brisker said. “Just wrestling here all my life, I was ready to go. I knew I had this one in the bag.”
Brody came to Wells Fargo Arena as a second-grader for the first time to watch this tournament. For the past six years, he has been here either to compete in AAU kids tournaments or watch his two older brothers.
The bright lights did not faze him one bit.
"I wanted to get to my attacks and start this tournament off with a good win," Brody said.
His brother, Kael, joined him in the quarterfinals with a 22-6 technical fall in 2 minutes, 39 seconds at 138 pounds.
It was the 17th technical fall for Kael since Jan. 2.
“The goal is to break everybody here,” Kael said. “I’ve got some tough kids in my bracket and the next few matches are going to be tough, but it is good to get the first one out of the way.”
Wilton’s four other qualifiers — Garrett Burkle (113), Colton Cruse (152), Kaden Shirk (160) and Tyrrell Hughes (220) — dropped first-round matches. Burkle and Hughes rebounded to win in the consolation round and remain in the hunt for a medal.
Don Bosco leads the team race after the opening day with 41 points, followed by Lisbon (31) and Logan-Magnolia (23). Wilton is ninth with 13 points.
Midland had all three of its qualifiers advance to the quarterfinals with pins from Damon Huston (126), Caden Ballou (160) and Cayden Miller (182).
“Coming from a small school, we don’t send a lot of guys to state,” Ballou said. “It is good to get some wins out here.”
The Briskers have been doing a lot of winning this season for the Beavers.
Since losing to Williamsburg’s Gavin Jensen at the Marion Invitational on Jan. 16, Brody has strung together 17 consecutive wins.
From getting to his leg attacks to three sets of near fall points, Brody overwhelmed West Hancock freshman Evan Boothroyd. He takes a 48-4 record into Friday's quarterfinals against eighth-ranked Caleb Coffin of Don Bosco.
“I’m actually pretty surprised how much progress I’ve made from eighth grade to now,” Brody said. “It has been about going into each practice knowing there is a purpose and to have a proper mindset.”
Kael, a two-time state place-winner and the top seed at 138, won for the 49th time in 50 matches this season. He registered eight takedowns in 2½ minutes against Lisbon sophomore Indy Harbaugh.
“Last year, I kind of just showed up and didn’t really have any expectation,” Kael said. “I might say in the moment I did, but I didn’t put in the work to say I was here to win it.
“This year, all summer long, I put in the work. I did extra sprints, extra lifts and was trying to get bigger. That is paying off.”
Kael started the season at 132 pounds. However, he admitted it was a difficult cut and felt he was losing muscle.
“I changed my diet really hard and was doing a lot of extra work, but I got to Christmas and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’ll make it to February doing this,’” Kael said. “It is a lot of work. At that point I said, ‘Forget it. I’ll just go up, hydrate, lift hard, get extra runs in and be in better shape.’”
It turned out to be a wise move.
Kael hasn’t lost at 138 and only three wrestlers have taken him the full six minutes since Jan. 2. The next challenge is fifth-ranked Westin Allen of Underwood in the quarterfinals.
“I should have never made it down to 132,” Kael said. “The happiness wasn’t there and I was always angry.