There’s a wrestling mat in the basement of Brett and Braeden Campbell’s home.
It’s been the scene through the years of many battles between the two brothers, who enjoy giving each other a hard time about their triumphs and failures, like most siblings.
But that mat also serves another purpose for the Summit Christian Academy wrestling stars. It’s also a classroom of sorts.
“We just play around and try to figure stuff out,” Braeden Campbell said. “If I’ve been struggling with something, it just helps having someone at that level to help you get better.”
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The extra practice has worked out well for the Campbells, who both earned another trip to the Class 1 state tournament after qualifying last weekend from the Class 1, District 4 regional at Plattsburg.
Brett Campbell, a senior and undefeated state champion last season, improved to 55-0 this year after taking first place in the 220-pound weight class.
Braeden Campbell, a sophomore, qualified for the second straight year after taking second place at 145 pounds.
The top four finishers in each weight class at districts advanced to the state meet, which takes place Feb. 15-17 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Although close together in age, Brett Campbell is a good deal heavier than his younger brother, which means the two can’t engage in all-out battles on the mat. But that doesn’t keep them from working on different moves or trying to figure out new tactics they’ve seen on the mat.
With a knowledge of the sport that goes back to when they were both junior wrestlers, the two are good at picking each other’s brains for new ideas.
“I think they inspire each other a lot,” said Todd Campbell, Brett and Braeden’s father and an assistant wrestling coach at Summit Christian. “They’re quite a ways apart (in weight), but they drill a lot together, they wrestle live together and they work out in the offseason together. They’ve spurred each other on, they enjoy going to tournaments, and practice together.”
Todd Campbell was the head coach when the Eagles started their wrestling program four years ago during Brett Campbell’s freshman year.
Brett Campbell has made it to state every year, including last year when he went 56-0 on his way to winning the Class 1 championship at 182 pounds.
This year, he’ll take a 112-match winning streak to state, including his victory in the fifth-place match at state as a sophomore, after rolling through the district tournament. Brett Campbell pinned his way to the final then won a 16-3 major decision against Lone Jack’s Justin Leath.
If the streak is putting any added pressure on Campbell, his dad hasn’t noticed.
“We really haven’t said much about the streak or being undefeated or things like that,” Todd Campbell said. “It’s just taking one match at a time, one tournament at a time ... doing your best to try to improve. That’s the goal.”
Brett Campbell’s goal in his last trip to state isn’t just to win another gold medal. He wants to win one convincingly. During last year’s 182 final, Campbell had to gut out a 2-1 decision against Lawson’s Corbin Menke.
“I want to repeat and I want to do it better than last year,” Brett Campbell said. “I just don’t want it to even be close and I want to dominate every match. I don’t want to leave any doubt that I’m the best wrestler in Missouri.”
Braeden Campbell, who takes a 52-4 record to state, hopes to improve on his first appearance after finishing 2-2 in last year’s 145 bracket.
SCA senior Trenton Holloway, who is making a second trip after placing third at 182 pounds at districts, will join the Campbells at state.
Both will be inspired by Braeden’s big brother.
“I definitely see the way he wrestles and see the things he’s done and I want to be like that,” Braeden Campbell said. “Last year, seeing him win state, I definitely wanted to be up there with him.”
Class 4, District 3
Lee’s Summit West qualified five wrestlers for the Class 4 state meet from the District 3 tournament last weekend at Drury University in Springfield.
West had one finalist in senior Zach Moore, who placed second at 195 pounds. Moore (24-3) was pinned by undefeated Donovan Benetti of Nixa in the final.
Owen Smith placed third at 120 pounds, while Morgan Potts (138), Jacob Moore (145) and Corbin Copsey (152) all placed fourth.
Lee’s Summit North junior Adrian Castaneda went to state as a freshman but fell last year in the consolation semifinals, missing out on a return trip. This year, Castaneda won his “bubble match” and is heading back to state.
After pinning Roman Bushek of Lee’s Summit West in the 160 consolation semifinals to ensure his trip to state, Castaneda finished third when his opponent forfeited the third-place match.
He’ll be joined by three other Broncos at state: Caden Schweitzer (113), Hunter Ross (126) and Jaden Duran (138), who all finished second in their weight classes.
Lee’s Summit will be represented by sophomore Lorenzo Turney, who placed third at 113 pounds.
First for St. Michael’s
Jack Gearheart (30-18), a junior, became the first state qualifier from St. Michael the Archangel when he placed fourth at 106 pounds in the Class 1, District 4 tournament at Plattsburg.