WILTON, Iowa – Kael Brisker is out to make a name for himself.
Sure, his last name is one of royalty in Wilton wrestling circles after Trey, his older brother, won a state title last winter and set a school record with 183 career wins. However, Kael doesn’t worry about the expectations that come with his last name.
“I don’t worry about it,” Brisker said. “I just go out and wrestle. (Trey) has always told me to go out and make a name for myself and try to beat his records.”
Brisker had a good season last year as a freshman to be sure, as he compiled a 37-18 record and qualified for the state tournament at 106 pounds. But it’s clear he’s taken it to another level this season.
The Wilton sophomore, who was The Predicament’s No. 4 wrestler in Class 1A, is off to a dominant 5-0 start to his sophomore season. That includes beating Mount Pleasant’s Corbin Broeker in a 15-7 major decision – his closest match of the season – to win the Willard Howell Tournament title last week. Broeker beat Brisker both times they met a season ago.
“It was pretty nice,” Brisker said. “We’ve wrestled a lot throughout the years but the last couple of times he beat me.
“It really just shows how much I’ve improved.”
That was clear to Wilton wrestling coach Gabriel Boorn, too, as he’s noticed a wrestler who is more aggressive and decisive with his moves. It’s showed in every match so far this season, as the sophomore has scored at least 14 points in all five matches of his matches.
“I see that he’s a lot more comfortable reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a few of his moves,” Boorn said. “He’s not forcing things on his feet that he did last year. He’s become more aggressive on his feet and more confident in his technique.”
That improvement, Boorn says, is because Brisker never stopped wrestling after losing two close matches at the state tournament last February. He wrestled kids from different states at his wrestling club, Big Game Wrestling Club, and qualified for nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.
“That’s like the biggest high school tournament you can get to,” Brisker said. “There are tons of kids there, probably over 4,000 kids trying for the same goal.”
Brisker earned all-American honors in Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle, and Boorn believes he’s the first Wilton wrestler to earn a “double all-American,” in one summer.
“It helped him open up on his feet,” Boorn said. “It’s also helped him be more aggressive in taking advantage of certain situations his opponents are giving him and transitioning from one to the next.”
Of course, it helps that Brisker is no longer a “small 106” like he was a season ago, when he often wrestled two pounds below that weight.
“It was hard last year being one of the small guys,” Brisker said. “It’s nice being one of the big guys and being able to take control.”
With all of that in mind, Brisker has his eyes on a state title this season. With what he’s seen so far this season, Boorn doesn’t see any reason why the Wilton standout can’t find his way to the top of the podium.
“I truly think he’s got a great shot at a state title this year,” Boorn said. “Right now I’ll put him up with any 106-ounder in the state.”
Brisker says that goal feels much more attainable after watching his brother do that very thing to cap off his high school career.
“He (Trey) did it and it really put the goal in perspective,” Brisker said. “It’s possible. Keep working hard and it’ll get done.”