Chippewa Valley senior wrestler takes county title, guides team

By: Brad D. Bates | C&G Newspapers | Published January 12, 2011

 Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior 103-pounder Nick Braet won the 2010 Macomb County title Dec. 18 at The Silverdome.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior 103-pounder Nick Braet won the 2010 Macomb County title Dec. 18 at The Silverdome.

Photo by Deb Jacques

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Nick Braet believes in starting things off on the right foot.

That’s why it was important for him to start his senior season with the Clinton Township Chippewa Valley wrestling team by taking home the 2010 Macomb County title at 103 pounds.

“It’s a great experience, and it’s something you always work for,” Braet said of a county title. “County’s is the first big step you take forward and getting that under your belt is huge.”

Braet started his quest for the title with two pins and a major decision in the tourney’s first three rounds.

He then posted two decisions and ended the meet with a 5-4 win against Anchor Bay’s Chad Medley in the final, despite not being at 100 percent.

“It turned out in the final match he was pretty sick,” coach Gary Brundirks said. “He was able to hang on and win because he did have a big lead.

“As you get closer to the finals, competition is always going to be tougher, but he was in the right frame of mind in the (final),” Brundirks said of Braet’s ability to overcome illness. “He was doing a good job with a good lead, but all the sudden, (illness) started to kick in on him.”

Brundirks said Braet’s quickness helped him win the title, and that, combined with an increase in endurance, could make his senior season extra memorable.

“He’s pretty quick from the bottom, and usually once he has that set in his mind he gets going right away,” Brundirks said. “And he keeps working on his conditioning. That’s the one thing we’re trying to improve on, so he doesn’t end up coasting in the end.”

Braet was also making his first appearance at 103 at the county meet after cutting down from 112.

“Nick had been at 112, so this was the first time he had cut to 103 for the season,” Brundirks said. “That was one of his goals — to cut to 103 and be county champ. So obviously, he did well.”

Braet’s decision to cut to 103 as a senior was influenced by his belief that 103 is where he will be most successful.

“At the end of the year, I’d like to go 103,” Braet said. “That’s my best shot at winning and furthering my career wrestling. It’s the best bet for the team to win and for me to pursue my goals.

“At first, it was real tough cutting the weight and still being able to eat, but once I made 103, it’s not too hard to maintain that weight,” Braet added. “Going down to 103 and getting a little bigger and stuff like that helps tremendously. That’s why I’m down at that weight.”

Braet’s willingness to cut to 103 for the benefit of the team is a lesson that many Big Reds wrestlers are learning this year as they move up or down weights to help fill holes in Chippewa Valley’s lineup.

“We’re on schedule where we would like to be, but the big problem right now is a couple weight classes where we don’t have anyone filling that weight,” Brundirks said. “We have guys bumping up, and there are weights where we simply don’t have anyone, like 215.”

A readiness to do whatever it takes to help the team win stems from the core value within the Big Reds’ program.

“The coaches here push you and know how to make you work for yourself and the team,” Braet said. “Our biggest motivation is training in this room.

“You have to keep pushing hard. With our club and our attitude, you don’t give up and you don’t stop working. You make the best you can. Pain only lasts for a little bit, but (losing) will haunt you the rest of your life.”