After going 42-2 and capturing fourth place in the state in Class 2A at 160 pounds this past winter, Highland junior wrestler Trent Rakers kept that momentum rolling when he competed on a national stage last weekend.
Rakers pinned all four of his opponents to win the 163-pound weight class for 11th graders at the Brute Nationals held in Independence, Mo., which is just outside of Kansas City.
“I won last year so I knew there was going to be tough competition and it was not a cake walk or anything like that because there were some kids from all over the place,” said Rakers, who also won the 2016 Brute Nationals 9th-12th Grade Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Highland High School wrestling coach Terry “Shorty” Ohren said he did not have to say too much to Rakers during the two-day tournament.
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“There were a few times I yelled stuff but that’s about it because he just does it,” Ohren said. “I don’t have to coach him much when he is out on the mat. He knows where his hips need to be and he gets them there and he takes control.”
Rakers’ first match never got out of the first period as he needed just one minute 16 seconds to smother Joey Schiele of Rockaway, N.J.
However, Schiele actually surprised Rakers a bit at first by scoring a takedown right out of the gate, but HHS’ expected starting tailback on the gridiron next fall quickly executed a reversal and took control of his opponent and the match.
“I was a little worried about things, but it kind of woke me up,” Rakers admitted. “But then I stayed aggressive and ended up sticking him on his back. It ended up being a quick pin, but it just so happened that I ended up catching him on his back that early. Who knows if that one would have went longer?
The HHS junior went on to plant Jake Spencer’s (of Fridley, Minn.) shoulders to the mat at the 2:20 mark of their quarterfinal match.
Next in the semifinals, Rakers scored a fall in 2:40 over Remington Meagher from Long Prairie, Minn.
Finally in the championship match, Rakers pinned Trenton Armintrout from Norwood, Colo. at 4:36 to claim the title.
After his season-long march to a fourth-place medal at the IHSA state wrestling tourney which included regional and sectional championships, Rakers has been receiving recruiting letters from colleges interested in his services.