By John Durga
A national title is the highest level of victory a college athlete can achieve. Winning this puts them at the very pinnacle of their competition. Brendan Ladd (’20) gave himself the opportunity to be the best of the best. Entering the national tournament Ladd was 33-5 on his season. This was one win short of the Alma College record for wins in a season.
Ladd started his nationals debut keeping the audience on the edge of their seats winning a 6-5 decision in the very last seconds of the match. He continued on to defeat the sixth and third seeded wrestlers in his following matches.
“Ladd does a really good job capitalizing on situations,” coach Jeremiah Tobias said. “He doesn’t worry so much about the small things.”
After his wins at the national tournament Ladd became the winningest wrestler in a single season. Along with that record he became the fifth All-American in Alma College wrestling history.
Ladd entered the tournament unseeded but that did not seem to bother him.
“It gives me a chance to get my first match out of the way and get the nerves out,” Ladd said. “It allows me to get the feeling of the atmosphere and just be ready for the next one.”
Ladd started in the preliminary round, defeating Delaware Valley’s Ambacher in a 6-5 decision after a takedown with just seconds remaining. He won a 11-3 major decision over Johnsons & Wales’ Ferinde and a 15-8 decision over Elmhurst’s Mcauliffe.
The winners moved on, earning All-American status. Ladd lost by pinfall to finalist Ben Brisman of Ithaca, then fell in a rematch with Millikin’s Chris Williams in a 4-2 sudden victory.
Ladd ended the day with a chance at fifth place, but dropped his final match of the season to the two-seed in the 141-pound bracket, giving him sixth.
As a sophomore Ladd is the top wrestler for Alma. He will continue to improve and lead the wrestling program to new heights.