DeKALB – Brad Green had to ignore the numbers.
A three-year starter in the DeKalb wrestling lineup, Green entered the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Tournament as a No. 3 seed. There wasn’t a first-round bye or easy matches where he could get tournament-acclimated.
Green had to be on from the start.
With an impressive run to the NI Big 12 138-pound conference title, Green looks to use the same approach at today’s Class 3A DeKalb regional.
“I thought I could have been even with the top two seeds,” Green said. “I even thought I could be the top seed. But I didn’t worry about that stuff. In reality, it wouldn’t change what I had to [do] out there and do or change my seeding. My goal is to go wrestle my match and not overlook any opponent. I knew if I wanted to be a champion I’d have to beat the best guys anyway.”
For two years, Green wrestled against four-time state qualifier Doug Johnson in the Barbs’ mat room. A brawling technician whowas physical on his feet, Johnson offered a stern test daily.
During the regular season, DeKalb coach Mike Pater would find Green the toughest competition possible. There were times he would wrestle up a weight class to take on a more challenging 145-pounder.
“I think that time with Doug really helped Brad to grow into a very well rounded wrestler,” Pater said. “Brad is very good on his feet, can execute on the mat, is tough on top and can use his legs. We consistently wanted him to face the toughest opponent possible this year. Which paid off when he beat two really good guys on the way to the conference title.”
Full of confidence after his late-season run, Green hopes the long hours spent honing his technique at offseason tournaments, in the DeKalb weight room and wrestling freestyle over the summer will result in a berth at the state tournament.
Pater noticed a change in Green this year as well. He had a better grasp on situations. When to be aggressive and when to use caution. The offseason time had prepped Green to deal with the mental pitfalls of a long, grinding season.
“The best part of training all off season is when I post the results I want,” Green said. “I feel great. I am in god shape and think I’ve got better as the year has gone on. My technique has improved a lot. I go into every match looking to get a win. I’d like to qualify for and place at state. I think it’s all about confidence.”