Freshman Wrestler Proves Himself As An Unexpected Hero At Key Spot (Wrestling)

Wade Askew

By Wade AskewThe Daily Northwestern

At the beginning of the season, it was not clear what kind of production the Northwestern wrestling team would get out of the 125 lbs. weight class. Former All-American and three-time NCAA Championships qualifier John Velez, who held the position for four years, was lost to graduation and the Wildcats would have to depend on a true freshman to take his place.

Enter Brandon Precin of Orland Park, Ill.

Only two weeks into his college career, Precin has defeated the fourth-ranked wrestler in the country, Michigan’s Mark Moos, and posted a perfect 3-0 record at the NU Duals.

Precin was born into a family of wrestlers and began the sport himself at eight years old. “My parents thought it would be a good idea if I joined,” Precin said. “I was pretty eager to join in, too, because I liked watching my older cousins wrestle.”

He grew up to be one of the most dominant wrestlers in Illinois, not to mention his family, posting a 186-6 record on his way to two state championships in high school. Precin also earned four straight region and sectional championships as well as team MVP honors every year he attended Carl Sandburg High School.

When Precin stepped on NU’s campus, he became the only member of his family to wrestle in college. He chose NU over other suitors because of its exceptional mixture of academics, athletics and people. But, like any college student, there were adjustments to be made.

“I had to take after myself a little bit more,” he said. “I don’t have as many people to look out for me, I have to make sure I get things done by myself.”

To prepare for the more intense college season, Precin came to NU to attend wrestling camps and get to know his teammates and coaches.

Still, he did not know what to expect in a college match and had to wait until the Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 4 to experience his first action.

Described by coach Tim Cysewski as “level-headed,” Precin did not allow the pressure of facing a top-five nationally-ranked opponent unsettle him. Instead, he approached the match like any other.

“I try not to let other factors bother me – I just go out there and wrestle,” he said.

While Cysewski will wait until the Big Ten and national tournaments to get too carried away with the freshman’s early success, Precin has certainly raised some eyebrows. He has at least seized the attention of the veteran wrestlers he has defeated, such as seniors Moos and Alex Usztics of Navy, who Precin fell to at the Eastern Michigan tournament but defeated in a rematch at the NU Duals.

Precin’s goal for the season is to qualify for the NCAA championships, and his career goals include winning a national championship. But for now, the freshman is happy just living his dream.

“I love coming to practice everyday, love talking to everybody; it’s just a fun experience to be around,” he said. “It’s something I always dreamed of doing, wrestling in college, and now I’m doing it.”

Reach Wade Askew at [email protected]