By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A year ago, Stillwater High School wrestler Kaid Brock left State Fair Arena heartbroken — a third-place medal serving as a painful reminder of what could have been.
But out of that adversity came a stronger dedication — a desire to not only win a Class 6A state championship, but to do so in such a dominating fashion that it left little doubt who was the best 113-pound wrestler in the state.
“All through the summer I was just working out, getting better and getting stronger,” Brock said. “Learning my technique and learning how I need to wrestle really gave me a big advantage. ... From last year to this year, I think I could beat my old self. That's what you always want to accomplish. You want to get better and better and beat your old self.”
That dedication paid off as the Stillwater sophomore finished the season with a perfect 37-0 record and claimed his first state title with a 3-1 decision over Owasso’s Jacob Fontanez.
“I knew I could (go undefeated) but then as the season started progressing and I was beating everybody pretty good ... all my hard work had been showing and I was like, ‘It’s going to happen. I’m going to make sure it happens,’” Brock said. “You just need to have that mentality that, ‘I can’t lose. I have to make sure that I cannot lose — like your life depends on it. You just have to keep pushing. In those tough matches where you’re not feeling good, where you’re tired or right after weigh-ins, those are the times you have to show what you’re made of.”
Perfection is so rare that Brock didn’t even have it listed as one of his goals before the season started. He knew all it took was one bad match and the dream would be over.
And as he reached the 30- and 35-win plateaus, each match just added to the pressure.
“It really does start to wear on you,” Brock said. “But it happens, people get beat. You can’t think like that when you’re on the mat. You have to think, ‘I’m going to win this. I’ve got to show what I can do. I’m not going to let this guy beat me.’ You can’t think about if you’re going to get beat. You have to think you’re always going to win. If you think you’re going to get beat, stuff can happen.”
Like his old-school wrestling style, Brock took each match one step at a time — often planning and executing moves in his head before carrying them out on the mat. He never got ahead of himself or worried too much about his opponent, just the things he could control.
“I used to have that problem,” Brock said. “I used to fret and say, ‘Who am I wrestling? Who am I wrestling?’ All last year I used to go up to coach (Doug Chesbro) and ask him who I was wrestling. This year, coach would come up to me and ask, ‘Hey do you want to know who you’re wrestling,’ and I’d just say, ‘Nah, I’m good.’ ... You can’t worry about who you’re wrestling. You just have to think about your skills and how good you are. You can’t worry about what everybody else is doing, you just have to worry about what you’re doing.”
A year after finishing third, Brock walked out of State Fair Arena holding another medal — only this time the tears were tears of joy.
“It meant a lot,” Brock said. “I knew my hard work had paid off and I knew I had my coaches to thank because they kept pushing me. I was always one to push myself, but I always had one of the coaches there to help when I was feeling down or cutting weight and I didn’t feel like I could push any harder. They gave me that extra little bit.”
As for what the future holds, Brock has made his goals clear — finish his high school career with two more titles.
“I want to take every one of them,” Brock said. “I can’t think I’ve won one and now I’m done. I have to think I need to win two more. I have two more years and I need to get better and better. I just need to keep working on my technique. ... If you work hard enough, you’re body will follow.”