Cotter makes experience countPublished 7:21pm Monday, December 17, 2012
Even though he’s just a sophomore, Austin wrestler Brandon Cotter is rarely caught off guard when he takes to the mat for the Packers.
Cotter is in his third year as a varsity wrestler and he’s put in at least 1,000 matches since he started wrestling as a preschooler. This season he’s off to a 7-3 start.
Austin head coach Bill Kinney said Cotter’s experience has made him a dangergous force on the mat.
“There aren’t a lot of situations that he can get into that he hasn’t been in before,” Kinney said. “He’s a real tough kid and he’s really hard to fluster. He kind of has the whole package.”
Cotter, who wrestles at 145 pounds, often watches tape of his matches to study what moves he needs to work on in the future. Cotter has a passion for winning on the mat, but at this point in the season he’d rather learn and make himself better.
“Those losses make me work harder in practice,” Cotter said. “I’d rather lose against a good guy than win against a bad guy. That way I know what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right.”
Cotter’s experience helped him right away at the varsity level as he made it to the semifinals and took fourth at the section meet at 125 as an eighth grader and he took fifth at 138 in sections last season.
This year he hopes to get to the state meet for the first time in his career.
“I feel like my technique shows up a lot more this year and I’ve been working harder in practice,” Cotter said.
Cotter’s experience has lifted him to high levels, but he’s also benefited from his teammates’ experiences as well. His primary wrestling partner in practice is senior Devon Felten, who is a two-time state qualifier.
Felten, who wrestles at 138, said Cotter always gives him a good battle when the two practice together.
“He’s getting a lot better now and he’s come along way. Practicing with him helps both of us,” Felten, who is ranked No. 5 in Class ‘AA,’ said.
Kinney said Austin’s wrestlers have always looked out for each other and it’s one of the things that have helped the program keep pumping out state qualifiers.
“It’s always good to have good role models in the practice room and he’s had some great ones right around his weight class,” Kinney said. “We always seem to have two or three really high quality kids kind of passing the torch and they take kids under their wing as they come up.”
The Packers will host Mankato East Thursday at 7 p.m.