Every athlete’s ambition is to finish the season with a big bang and Nick Brodak and Cody Wheeler of the Mill Creek High School wrestling team can attest that.
Brodak unselfishly gave up his spot on the varsity team for another teammate and has been rewarded for his good deed all year long. In the Down the Creek hosted by Mill Creek, Brodak finished with an impressive 8-0 record. Brodak was awarded a medal for his first-place finish which came after a hard-fought battle against a Buford High School competitor.
“I was on varsity last year. I dropped down so [my teammate] could have a spot on varsity for his senior year,” said Brodak. “Since this was our last one, my mindset was to go undefeated. I didn’t plan on losing any.
I watched the competition and I didn’t see anyone that could match my level of intensity. My mindset was to win everything and go hard the whole time.”
Cody Wheeler also finished 8-0 at the event and relished in the victory.
“I did not want to lose. I’ve never placed in a tournament before and that was my goal,” said Wheeler.
As a team, the Hawks placed third overall. Wesley Peterson won his finals match against in a phenomenal 15-0 shutout win over a wrestler South Gwinnett High School. He also took wins over competitors from Blessed Trinity and Grayson High School and earned a third-place finish.
Bobby Klemm and Jake Lund also made it to finals but were eliminated. In a win or go home situation, two Hawks found themselves in a very uncomfortable scenario. Egor Provotorov and Wheeler squared off in the finale; the irony of the seeding of the brackets wasn’t pleasant for Wheeler.
“We’ve always been in the same weight class. We got placed to compete against each other at the end and there was a lot of pressure,” Wheeler said.
The art of learning another wrestler’s skills isn’t always learned in a timely fashion; many walk into the situation blind and not knowing what to expect from their competitor.
“We don’t watch any film. The only time we get to see our competition is right before our match. That’s basically it and we have to judge [our competition] from there,” Brodak said.
“I usually watch and study my opponents before I go out there,” stated Wheeler.
Brodak said coming out as the victor with Wheeler is better than he could have imagined it.
“It couldn’t be better than this. My best friend [Cody] and I closing it out in first place…it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Brodak.
The rivalry between Dacula High School and Mill Creek extends far beyond the football field and basketball court. The Hawks were tested by Dacula more times that one but did not surrender every match.
Down 4-0 to the Falcons, Eddie Rivas achieved two exceptional near-fall three’s for a 6-5 finish. Other notable performances include Emmanuel Underhill who went 6-0 before falling to Dacula.
The Hawks rebounded well to a rowdy environment and it was a day full of smiles that was much needed after the varsity team went 0-2 against Brookwood and Jefferson High School just days before. Bobby Klemm pulled off the upset over Trevor Reiff in the heavyweight division and provided the Hawks with their only win against powerhouse Jefferson.
The Hawks celebrated Senior Night in their final home match of the year. Michael Haynes, Andy Klemm and other seniors honored between matches, however, the Hawks were not able to send their seniors out with a bang.
Their 49-18 loss to Brookwood was definitely not the last memory they wanted to have of competing at home but they have had plenty of success this season.
The junior varsity team has left an optimistic feeling with Mill Creek wrestling fans. Only time will tell the outcome of their future but Brodak says he is certain that next season will provide just as much excitement.
“We did great this year. We worked hard. We put in a lot of manhours and a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said Brodak. “It paid off. I can’t wait until next year. It’s going to be even better.”