By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Just how good is Stillwater High School wrestler Kaid Brock? So good that the sophomore toyed with Locust Grove’s Braden Bennett for 45 seconds before winning his second title at the Perry Tournament of Champions Saturday.
“I probably could have pinned him faster, but I was hoping for the outstanding wrestler award,” Brock said. “There were a lot of Oklahoma City kids, so that would have been hard to do. I wanted to take the kid down, let him up a couple of times and just work my skills because I knew the kid was pretty decent. I knew he wasn’t going to really beat me, but I wanted to use those skills and see just how much I’ve got better.”
Brock has been on a quest to get better ever since he first took the mat for the Pioneers as a freshman. Only this season it’s a little different.
The sophomore lost only four matches during his freshman campaign, with one of those losses in the state tournament. But Brock doesn’t just want to win a state title — he wants to remain undefeated.
“He understands what it takes to be good,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said. “Believe me, it’s not going to ruin his season if he was to have a loss. His plan isn’t to lose a match, but having lost already in his freshman year took a lot of pressure off him. He’s never going to have an undefeated career — that got taken care of early. Now he just has to focus on winning the match at hand and taking care of business.
“Losing the match isn’t the end of the world, but at the same time, it’s something pretty special to go as far as you can without losing a match. So far, 11-0 is pretty impressive for this early in the year. We have three more duals so he could be 14-0, which is about half a season for most kids. That’s pretty impressive.”
To do so, Brock has added some new moves to his repertoire, moves that paid off last week as the 113-pounder went 5-0 during the week.
“I know my low level is always there,” Brock said. “Hitting some other shots like I did (at Perry) it tells me, ‘Yeah, you’re there.’ Usually I hit my ducks and my shots on my left side, which for most (opponents) is their right side. I know that whenever I’m wresting someone that’s really tough and they hit something on my left side, it’s tough to defend because that’s my off side. I’ve been working on hitting some shots to that off side. I’ve always tried to grab that left side, but I’m really starting to get good shots to that side.”
Not only did Brock’s moves pay off for the two-time Perry Tournament champion, but it also paid off for the Pioneers.
Stillwater finished third as a team — its highest finish in the tournament since 2006.
“Obviously pushing people through to the finals is huge in the tournament,” Chesbro said. “When you get kids that you can count on to do that, you’re going to place in a lot of tournaments. We were very close to having four kids in the final, which would have put us battling for second. It really changes the outlook of a tournament when you have people that score. That’s usually around 24 or 25 points for every kid that makes it through the finals. ... Those points really starts to add up. On top of that, Kaid got bonus points in every single one of his matches and that also is a big plus in your column.”
Counting on Brock to not only win but pick up bonus points has been a luxury Chesbro has had for the past two seasons. Even so, Chesbro worries that he’s putting too much pressure on the young wrestler.
Brock — on the other hand — doesn’t mind it at all.
“I love those moments,” Brock said. “It’s like, ‘I have to do what I have to do to get these bonus points.’ Whether it’s throw the kid, whether it’s turn the kid — anything I need to do, I’ll do it. Even if I’m up, if it means giving that kid an escape and waiting for that right moment to pin him if I’m about to (technical fall) him, then so be it. I won’t immediately go take him down again. I’ll work to make sure that I get that pin and get that extra point because that could be the difference between us getting the win or the other team getting the win.”
Whether or not Brock continues to rack up the tournament titles and remain unbeaten is still up in the air. But one thing is certain — each win gets him that much closer to his goal of winning state.
“(Winning at Perry) is rewarding,” Brock said. “It shows that you’re on the right track, but that’s not the main goal right now. My main goal is doing that well at state. Doing that well at state and being that dominant at state would mean more to me than being that dominant at Perry.”
“He’s a driven young man that works hard and it takes a little bit of sacrifice to get where you want to go,” Chesbro said. “He’s living up to all those expectations that he has for himself, which are obviously pretty high expectations. It’s just fun to sit back and watch him work.”
Dylan Fix, girls basketball
Caleb Watkins, boys basketball
Joe Smith, wrestling
Mac Johnson, swimming