Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eagles senior, Kevin Norstrem, strives for 5 wrestling titles

BRANDON — A year after Brandon wrestlers Clark Glass and Rossi Bruno achieved the stunning feat of winning five individual state titles, Eagles senior Kevin Norstrem is striving for five.

How does a high school student win five state championships? Simple, mathematically. Daunting, physically. Win one competing as a seventh or eighth-grader at a private school and then achieve perfection by winning a state title in all four of your high school years.

At Brandon, the quest for the elusive five-peat starts long before middle school. Norstrem remembers joining the Brandon Wrestling Club at the ripe age of five.

"Coach (Russ) Cozart gets us early," Norstrem said. "We wrestled right here in the Brandon High gym. At 6:30 the big kids would come in."

The club represents a wrestling farm system that would be the pride of any major league baseball team, and it fuels the state champion dreams at an early age. Norstrem pointed up at the imposing state champion list in the Brandon gym, a list that now not only has Norstrem's name on it; it has 2010, 2011, and 2012 next to it.

"As a kid, you dream about being on the Brandon wrestling team," Norstrem said. "You look up on that wall and you see all the state champs, you want to get your name up there — there's a constant drive and competition.

"There's still some room on there for one more," Norstrem said.

Norstrem attended Tampa Bay Christian as an eighth-grader and won a state title at 112 pounds. He has not let up, since.

"Once you settle, guys catch up with you," Norstrem said.

The 138-pound senior has done anything but settle. His 214-3 match record impresses as much as the three state titles. Norstrem has never let those losses go.

"I remember all three of those losses like they were yesterday," Norstrem said. "I run those matches through my mind and think about things I could have done differently."

Norstrem's record this season is 35-1, his only loss coming at a national tournament in Minnesota where he wrestled with a minor case of the flu. But no one is going to hand Norstrem that fifth state title based solely on his previous accomplishments.

"If there wasn't doubt (that I would win my fifth) I would be worried," Norstrem said. "It's a sport and you have to learn from it, but it could play out any way."

Chances are, it's going to play out the way Brandon, Norstrem and Cozart would like it to. Norstrem is currently ranked sixth in the nation at 138 pounds by Flo Wrestling, he's already beat the second-ranked wrestler in the state, and his approach to the sport has not changed since, well, forever.

"He's given 150 percent every day," Cozart said. "He's my team captain, our spokesman, a team leader; he's like a second son to me."

Does the promise, even the expectation, of striving for five hang over Norstrem?

"Yes, in all these matches leading up to states, I'm thinking, 'That guy almost scored on me'," Norstrem said. "I'll go back and try to correct those little things so I can work out all the kinks by states."

Having seen Glass and Bruno go before him may have helped — a bit.

"There might be a little less pressure, but it's no different — it's flat-out tough," Cozart said.

It's not exactly uncharted water anymore, and it's been charted by two athletes who Norstrem could not be closer to.

"I grew up with them," Norstrem said. "It's something we've always worked for."

As mind-blowing as winning five state titles might be, it's only a stepping-stone in Norstrem's long-term goals as a wrestler. Norstrem admits that winning five state titles has been a goal all along, but not the only one.

"My short-term goal was to get to states, mid-term goal is five state titles, my long term goal is a national title in college," said Norstrem, who will attend Virginia Tech next fall.

Andy Warrener can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Eagles senior, Kevin Norstrem, strives for 5 wrestling titles 01/24/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.