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West Fargo's Metz wins Greco-Roman national title in stunning fashion

FARGO-Brandon Metz was in elementary school when his father would take him to the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling tournaments at the Fargodome and buy him a singlet or two with perhaps some day an eye on the future.On Tuesday, J...

Brandon Metz celebrates after winning the 285 weight class of the 2016 Junior Greco National Wrestling Championships against Thomas Helton of Illinois in the Fargodome on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Metz secured the win in only 28 seconds and set the record for most pins in the least amount of time. Matt Hellman / The Forum
Brandon Metz celebrates after winning the 285 weight class of the 2016 Junior Greco National Wrestling Championships against Thomas Helton of Illinois in the Fargodome on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Metz secured the win in only 28 seconds and set the record for most pins in the least amount of time. Matt Hellman / The Forum

FARGO-Brandon Metz was in elementary school when his father would take him to the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling tournaments at the Fargodome and buy him a singlet or two with perhaps some day an eye on the future.

On Tuesday, July 19, the future was now.

The senior-to-be at West Fargo High School completed a dominating performance in the Junior Greco-Roman division winning by pin in such lightning-quick fashion that it defied somebody who is classified as a heavyweight. The 28-second fall over Thomas Helton of Elmhurst, Ill., was so fast that the coaches from Team North Dakota Greco-Roman wrestling team had their mouths open watching a slow-motion replay on a smartphone.

"This is a true story, my dad told me either go big or go home so I said why not go for it," Metz said. "It was there so why not take it."

It was his second national title but first in the Junior division. The move is something Metz said he's done in all styles, from the traditional high school folkstyle to the summer styles of Greco-Roman and freestyle.

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"We watched how he locked it up, we slow-moed it and it was awesome," said Luke Mellmer, the North Dakota coach who is also the head coach at Mandan High School. "You could see he has such good feel. He obviously knew he had the throw and he did it.

"I honestly think he pushes kids back and they kind of panic and it's all feel. It's gotta be. He's a strong kid."

That strength has been on display all year. The last time Metz did not win a tournament of any kind was in this event last year when he did not place in the Junior freestyle division, losing in the second round to a wrestler from Pennsylvania. Since then, the steamroller has been in overdrive and there was nobody to stop him this week at the Fargodome.

Metz got the award for the most falls in the least amount of time, pinning four opponents in 2 minutes, 22 seconds. He won his first three matches by pin in 51 seconds, 32 seconds and 30 seconds. It wasn't quite that quick in the quarterfinals, winning 10-0 by technical fall and 12-0 in the semifinals, also by technical fall.

His title-match opponent didn't carry near those credentials, heading to the lighted center stage in the darkened dome. And it showed.

"I just like to stay calm and when it comes to match time, I just like to get in the zone," Metz said. "I love winning on the big stage again and I love having my friends and family support me and be behind me here."

Metz won a Cadet (ages 15-16) Greco-Roman title two years ago and parlayed that experience into a pair of North Dakota Class A individual titles. The Junior division (ages 17-18) promised to bring competitors with a little more strength and experience to the table.

Metz also brought it, and then some.

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Last month, he verbally committed to North Dakota State in both wrestling and football, although he'll be classified as a walkon in football. In a post-match interview on the USA Wrestling webstream, he wore an NDSU T-shirt.

"I have a lot of support in all different directions, especially NDSU. They're really good to me in that way," he said. "I'm going to remember these memories for the rest of my life."

Championship matches

100 pounds: Brendon Garcia, Colo., tech fall over Brenden Chaowanapibool, Wash, 11-0.

106: Jaret Lane, Pa., dec. Elijah Varona, Fla., 5-2

113: Dack Punke, Ill., tech. Fall over Joseph Harrison, Neb., 10-0

120: Dalton Duffield, Okla., tech fall over Austin Macias, Ill., 14-2

126: Matthew Schmitt, Mo., dec. Gabriel Townsell, Ill., 6-1

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132: Taylor LaMont, Utah, pinned Dalton Young, Wash., 1:33.

138: Mitchell McKee, Minn., tech fall over Jarrett Degen, Mont., 13-0

145: Ryan Deakin, Colo., dec. Jaron Jensen, Utah, 2-1

152: Griffin Parriott, Minn., dec. Lenny Merkin, N.Y., 9-2

160: Anthony Mantanona, Calif., dec. Max Wohlabaugh, Fla., 8-5

170: Thomas Brackett, Tenn., over Kamal Bey, Colo., medical forfeit

182: Logan Gruszka, Ill., dec. Tony Vezzetti, Ill., 9-2

195: Haydn Maley, Ore., tech fall Isaac Bartel, 14-2

220: Sam Shields-Colbray, Ore., tech fall over Jeffrey Allen, Va., 13-2

285: Brandon Metz, N.D., pinned Thomas Helton, Ill., 0:28.

Brandon Metz celebrates after winning the 285 weight class of the 2016 Junior Greco National Wrestling Championships against Thomas Helton of Illinois in the Fargodome on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Metz secured the win in only 28 seconds and set the record for most pins in the least amount of time. Matt Hellman / The Forum
Brandon Metz makes a quick flip for pin against Thomas Helton of Illinois to win the 285 weight class of the 2016 Junior Greco National Wrestling Championships in the Fargodome on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.Matt Hellman / The Forum

Related Topics: WRESTLING
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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