Brandon Brenenstahl left the Tacoma Dome unsatisfied following the Mat Classic last February.
Brenenstahl, who was a sophomore at the time, lost his first two matches and was eliminated from the Class 4A portion of the 138-pound division at the state tournament. He dropped matches to eventual state-champion Ian Steen and fifth-place finisher Adam Peterson.
This year, the Rogers High School junior expects different results in the 145-pound division, if he’s able to reach the Mat Classic.
“Last year was hard, and I don’t want to feel that feeling again, because it was just horrible,” Brenenstahl said. “This season, I want to at least place in the top three in my weight class.”
He admitted he was a little star-struck when he reached the Tacoma Dome last year.
“I had been to big venues before; that place was just different,” he said. “I will be ready this year.”
Physical fitness is something Brenenstahl is focusing on throughout the 2012-13 season. So far, his approach has served him well — he’s 10-1 overall. He also runs cross country for the Rams during the fall sports season.
“I need to continue to work on my stamina a lot,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty good about it, but it is always something you can work on.”
Brenenstahl’s favorite move is the head-and-arm takedown. Traditionally, most wrestlers at the lower weights don’t utilize it, but he likes it so much, his Twitter account is @Head_N_Arm.
“It usually catches people off-guard because they don’t expect people at my weight to throw it,” he said. “I kind of throw it in a weird way. I sag my hips so my opponent doesn’t get the momentum to throw it through. I post with my head or other arm that is free.”
Rogers head coach David Johnston said Brenenstahl has matured into one of the team’s most-respected leaders.
“He has become a leader in the mat room, in the classroom and in our community,” Johnston said. “Brandon definitely has taken that leadership role and is trying to take it to another level, which is transferring into his practice routine. He is improving every single week.”
Johnston believes Brenenstahl’s attention to detail will result in more wins as the season progresses.
“I think a lot of times in the past he has relied on one big move to win,” Johnston said. “He has been working on how to become a full package, especially toward the end of the year. He is improving his conditioning and is able to finish matches.”
Sports editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.