Prep Athlete of the Week: Brendyn Nelson

In an ending fit for a Hollywood movie, Natrona County’s Brendyn Nelson secured an individual state wrestling title to close out his wrestling career as a Mustang.
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 12:28 AM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Natrona County wrestling team won its second consecutive 4A state championship over the weekend. Our Prep Athlete of the Week was one of five Mustangs to bring home an individual state title.

Brendyn Nelson won the 4A 195 lbs. state championship via one of the most thrilling matches from Saturday’s championships.

In order to get to the state finals, Nelson won his first two matches by pinfall and through a decision in the semifinals. This set up a meeting with Central’s Keagan Bartlett in the final round.

Bartlett beat Nelson in the semifinals at the Ron Thon Memorial in Riverton at the end of January by a 5-2 decision.

What happened in the state finals rematch was something out of a Hollywood movie.

Nelson took an early lead, but Bartlett managed to tie the match in the third period. The match looked to be heading to overtime, but Nelson summoned something within him.

He pinned Bartlett to the mat with four seconds left in the match and secured himself a 195 lbs. state title. Winning the match by a fall in 5:56 to use a technical wrestling term.

Nelson celebrated the title with a successful backflip and flexed his muscles as he looked up at the Natrona County contingent inside the Ford Wyoming Center.

“I knew it was going to be a grinder, and that it was probably going to go all three periods,” said Nelson on Monday about how he envisioned the match going heading into it. “But I definitely didn’t think it was going to end like that, but I couldn’t be happier [about] it.”

Nelson said it feels “awesome” to be a state champion.

“It just shows all the hard work does work and like pays off,” said Nelson on Monday inside the Natrona County wrestling room. “It’s just an amazing feeling. I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. I mean, to go out like that as a senior, and then to be able to win it as a team too, it’s just perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better way to go out.”

Nelson said he couldn’t be more thankful for the people who have surrounded him throughout his wrestling journey.

“This has been a really long journey,” said Nelson. “I’ve been looking forward to this my entire life. Being able to do it with all the support and the people I grew up with is just awesome.”

Natrona County Head Wrestling Coach Scott Russell said Brendyn is “a prime example of what hard work will do for you.”

“It was awesome. I couldn’t be more happy for [Brendyn] and his family, and I hugged his dad,” said Russell as he was describing what the moments after the victory were like. “His dad like crumbled inside me and Brendyn’s eyes, the way that he looked was just unbelievable and, you know, that’s what it’s all about. We bring out those emotions it’s more than just winning, you know what I mean? There’s a purpose behind this stuff, and he definitely shows it.”

Russell said the best thing about Nelson as a wrestler is “his leadership.”

“When he comes here, he leads by example,” said Russell. “As a vocal [leader], he speaks somewhat, but [it’s] mainly just coming in here [and] showing everybody what it takes to be a leader.”

Nelson will be hanging up the singlet and heading to Hastings College to play football next fall.

Congratulations to Brendyn Nelson, state champion and our Prep Athlete of the Week.

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