OREM — Thursday could prove magical for Brandon McBride.
The undefeated senior wrestler from Olympus High School will begin his run for the state title Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Utah Valley University.
But that's not the magical part.
Should McBride win, he will be the only contender in Utah, and possibly the nation, to win four state titles from three different states. That's four state titles, four years in a row.
Wave the wand and let the magic begin.
"Wrestling is the best sport," McBride said. "It builds character and determination. It teaches you to work as a team, but it also teaches responsibility because you are out there on the mat by yourself."
McBride began his wrestling career when he was young, learning knee picks, takedowns and other wrestling moves from a father who lived on the mat in high school. His dad taught McBride to keep things clean and classy while on the mat. He also taught him to stay humble — promising that it would get him farther in life and in the gym.
His father was right.
McBride went undefeated his freshman year, going 41-0 at his Idaho high school. He moved on to capture state titles in Idaho and Illinois before moving to Utah his junior year, where he again captured a state title.
"I just wanted to excel wherever I was," McBride said. "I knew I was capable."
The well-spoken and polite athlete recently earned first place in Utah's Region 7 division, where he was once again named most valuable player in the heavyweight class. He has received MVP at every tournament in which he's wrestled this season, remaining undefeated. He practices hard and encourages teammates.
"He's a good kid; he is almost a third coach," said head coach Theros Johnson. "He's a good influence and he definitely gets the job done on the mat."
McBride doesn't back away from challenges either.
He picked a new sport this year, football, and excelled. He did so well as a running back that he has thought about playing in college.
After a rare loss in wrestling his junior year, McBride, who also wrestled in a lower weight class, vowed to keep his weight high enough to again meet the opponent who defeated him.
"I didn't want to feel like I was backing down," he said. "I was determined to wrestle him again."
The pounds stayed where they needed to be, McBride got his rematch, and the opponent left with a loss.
"It was amazing," he said. "I was really excited. I texted it to all my friends, put it on Facebook and let people know I achieved my goal."
As for this year's state title, McBride said he simply wants to be aggressive.
"No mental mistakes," he said. "Just keep my eye on my goal."
Angie Manzanares is a former teacher and journalist. She currently works for the Granite School District as a public relations specialist. Her hobbies include photography, graphic design, dancing and screaming at Jazz games.
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