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For the first time in 40 years, Brandon's wrestling team has sustained three defeats in the same season.
Yet the Eagles' national profile may be stronger than ever.
Behind five undefeated wrestlers, the 11-time defending state champs placed fourth over the winter break at The Clash -- a de facto 32-team dual-meet national championship -- in Rochester, Minn.
Brandon won its pool with three convincing triumphs before falling to three top-10 nationally ranked foes in the round-robin final four. Two of its defeats were by a combined five points; the other was a 37-27 loss to eventual champion St. Edward, Ohio, ranked second nationally by InterMat.
"It's a national championship dual meet. We were excited to be there," Eagles coach Russ Cozart said. "We duked it out with them and came up a little short. One match either way out of four teams and we're national champs."
Three Brandon weight-class champions -- Rossi Bruno (pictured, 126 pounds), Kevin Norstrem (132) and Clark Glass (160) -- made the all-tournament team. Dylan Lucas (106) and James Flint (113) also finished undefeated. According to Cozart, the five undefeated Eagles was a tournament high.
The Eagles, who placed second at the same tournament last season, had their national-record dual-match win streak snapped at 459 in January 2008. But they haven't lost to a county foe since a 29-21 defeat against King in 1972.