By BRODY FELDMANN
Last week was a breakout week for Mustang’s John Wiley in Fargo, North Dakota.
Last year heading into his freshman season Wiley was a national runner-up in Fargo, but this season when walking into the Fargo Dome the soon-to-be sophomore wasn’t being mentioned as a contender.
But after a great week of competition, Wiley returned to Mustang as the Broncos’ first two-time national champion.
“It feels pretty good. It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Wiley said. “I feel the exact same as I did before the tournament.”
Wiley won a national championship in freestyle early last week and wrapped up the week with a 4-1 victory in the Greco national championship against Cody Chittum of Tennessee.
It hasn’t been all roses for Wiley in 2019.
Actually, to start the year, Wiley was in a funk in folk-style wrestling for the high school.
But after a quick car ride to grab an Icee with Tate Picklo and Brian Picklo after the regional tournament, Wiley’s mindset has completely changed.
He has been enjoying wrestling to improve rather than to win or lose.
“It’s like a fight. It’s a fight with rules, and that is fun. I just like fighting,” Wiley said. “It is fun competing with all of my friends. I’m sure if my friends weren’t there, I wouldn’t do as good.
“It is like a vacation, but we wrestle. No one wants to go to North Dakota. So, the trip wasn’t that fun, the tournament wasn’t that fun, but hanging out with your friends and battling with your friends is so fun.”
The mindset changes of enjoying the sport has also helped change his results.
“I’m trying to get better for my very last wrestling match ever. I’m just trying to be the best in the world. Until I’m the best in the world I won’t be satisfied,” Wiley said.
Now with a national championship to go along with his name Wiley is in a rare company with Tate Picklo.
Picklo and Wiley are the only two Mustang Broncos to earn a national title, and they happen to be great friends who have grown up together since they were five years-old.
“It is pretty cool. It is kind of unheard of that two friends, that have been friends since they were five have now become national champs,” Wiley said. “It says a lot about Brian.”
Wiley also earned a national title earlier in the week in freestyle wrestling after going undefeated.
Wiley will now relax for the rest of summer before returning to school to prepare for the next wrestling season.
He hopes to wrestle at 145- or 152-pounds.