Athlete of the Week: Strasburg’s Swink enjoying state championship title
STRASBURG – Brandon Swink joined a prestigious group at Strasburg High School over the weekend.
The Strasburg junior won his first wrestling state championship in Salem, which also means he goes on Strasburg’s Wall of Fame at the school. It’s an extra special honor for Swink because his grandfather, William Ryman, is also on there for winning a state wrestling title.
“If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have done wrestling,” Swink said on Monday afternoon. “So it’s nice being put there with him, and he’s stuck with me all through these years.”
Swink said that his grandfather taught him a lot about wrestling and was there Saturday watching him win the state title.
On Saturday, Swink defeated Graham’s Tracy Hagerman, 2-1, to win the Group 2A 120-pound state title.
Swink, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Feb. 13-19, said he felt confident throughout the match.
Swink built the early 2-1 lead and then held on for the win. He said he was being cautious because he didn’t want to do anything that could cost him the match.
“During the third period I was just like I just got to hold this guy down,” Swink said. “I can’t let him up because if I do then it will be tied and we’ll got to overtime. Although I wasn’t nervous because I know I could have taken him down because I took him down in the first period. So I wasn’t too scared of anything happening.”
Swank said it didn’t really sink in right away what he accomplished, but in the days since then he’s realized how great it is to be a state champion.
“Now I’ve noticed that it is a really big accomplishment,” Swink said. “And it feels good just walking around my own town and people congratulating me and saying congrats on the win. It feels good being known as a state champ.”
This was Swink’s third year wrestling at 120 pounds, and Strasburg coach Mike Wood said that really helped him this season. Swink finished fourth last year in the state tournament, and it was his third trip to Salem.
Wood said that besides Swink’s experience, his speed also helps him on the mat.
“His quickness and speed are really big attributes, plus he’s one of the strongest kids in his class,” Wood said.
Swink went 46-4 this season and won his first Region 2A East title as well.
He said going into the season his goal was to improve on what he did last year and place higher.
“Being at 120 for the third time I felt really confident, as it was my third time,” Swink said. “I can’t do any worse than I did last year. I just wanted to keep improving. That was my mindset – I can’t do anything worse than last year.”
Swink said he will have the same mindset next year as he looks to win a second state title.
He said that he will take any time off and that he’s already started lifting weights and getting ready for next year. Swink said he plans on going to a lot of camps and various tournaments over the summer to prepare him for next season.
Wood said that he’s not sure what weight Swink will wrestle at next year, but he may jump a couple weight classes. He said the biggest thing Swink will have to work on if he wants to jump in weight class will be his strength.
“Strength is going to be the biggest thing if he wants to jump a couple weight classes,” Wood said. “He’s got everything else. He knows how to wrestle. He’s quick, he’s smart on the mat. He puts in a lot of extra work in the summer.”
The Rams finished second as a team at the Group 2A state tournament, and Swink said the team was disappointed but they still had a good season.
Swink said that he wants to be stronger for next year and be dominant.
“I really hope to dominate everybody I wrestle next year,” Swink said. “I don’t want to keep anything close. I want to own my matches every match I wrestle. I want to win districts, win conference, win regionals, win states. I have to defend my title.
“I can’t do anything worse than last year.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org