By Brody Feldmann
There is a saying that “success breeds success” and that is what is happening inside of the Mustang wrestling program.
The program witnessed its first individual win a national championship over the summer when Tate Picklo won at the Fargo National Championships.
Then, for the first time in two decades, the Broncos have an individual committed to wrestle at a Division 1 university. Cameron Picklo committed to Cornell University earlier this month.
The last Mustang wrestler to commit to a D1 school was David Stitt in 1998 when Stitt committed to the University of Oklahoma. At Oklahoma, as an assistant coach, at that time was Brian Picklo, father of Cameron and Tate.
“It is kind of a cool turn of events. Both of them were there when I was coaching there. So, I have coached all of the D1 wrestlers that Mustang has had in two decades,” said Brian. “It’s a coincidence and nothing more than that. It just shows that we are going in a full circle.”
One key denominator in the program’s success here is the last name of Picklo.
Brian is going into his third season as the head wrestling coach at Mustang High School when the Broncos take the mat on Saturday at Edmond North. But Brian has been building the wrestling program in Mustang from the little league ranks for more than a decade.
Brian didn’t start wrestling until his junior year of high school. He only wrestled two years in his whole life and they both were in the high school rank, Brian earned a scholarship to wrestle at Michigan State University. He was a two-time All-American in college before moving on to the national team and trying out for the Olympic team.
Brian eventually ended up in Oklahoma and coaching at OU as an assistant, where he coached Stitt and Jay Lowe, also a Mustang graduate.
“Having the experience to coach at the D1 level and knowing the expectations that an elite wrestler is going to be expected to perform at sets a tone for the way I want to coach and the way I wanted to run practices,” said Brian. “I wanted to prepare these guys to be ready to step into a D1 room and be successful.”
Fast forward 20 years and Brian is leading the wrestling program to heights it hasn’t seen in decades. And his kids, Cam and Tate, are key pieces to the team.
Cam and Tate may be two of the key pieces, but the Broncos are loaded with talent. In the most recent USA Wrestling “Future Olympian Rankings,” Mustang has four wrestlers listed with Cam, Tate, John Wiley and Tucker Owens.
Mustang also returns state placers Judson Rowland and Keegan Luton to go along with the talent from the middle school ranks that will join the high school program.
“We have a great bunch of kids that are really of national level caliber. I think we will have even more place (in Fargo) next year,” said Brian.
With Cam already committed to a D1 school and Tate getting attention as one of the best wrestlers in the nation. The rest of the Broncos roster will be able to cash in on opportunities when college programs come to Mustang to watch.
Being able to see that one of their teammates is making it D1 will also be motivation, why can’t they?
The Mustang wrestling program is going places that it hasn’t been in many years, and under the watch of Brian Picklo, don’t expect that to change any time soon.
“At the end of every practice, we break it down by saying ‘state champs on three’ because I want to win state this year, and I think we absolutely have the talent and ability to do it this year,” Brian said.
Brian came in with a mindset to produce multiple D1 wrestlers each year as well as start a winning program, and that is exactly what the community of Mustang can expect to happen.
The Broncos took fourth place at state last season and weren’t satisfied. This season, which begins Saturday in the Edmond North Open at 9 a.m., the team will be hunting for gold.