Brianna Staebler’s favorite part about wrestling is there are no shortcuts, what you give is what you get.
After recently cementing herself as one of the best wrestlers in her class in the country, there seems to be no indication that Staebler is one to take shortcuts.
The Whitewater High School junior won the national championship at 180 pounds at the Fargo Tournament, the largest national high school wrestling tournament in the country, on July 14, in Fargo, North Dakota.
Her title came in the Cadet (16U) age group and she also finished as an All-American in the Junior age group (19U).
“It was pretty cool,” said Staebler, regarding her experience at the tournament. “I was working really hard to be able to represent myself, my family and everyone who has helped me along the way, the best I could.”
In the championship match, Stabler won in dramatic fashion, winning the title by a score of 3-2. Trailing 2-1, Staebler connected on a takedown late to grab the lead and she held on for the win.
Getting her hand raised meant more than just winning a close wrestling match. The title meant all of Staebler’s hard work and dedication had paid off on the grandest of stages.
“Being a Cadet National Champion has been the goal I’ve been working towards for over two years,” Staebler said. “I couldn’t stop crying, because I actually did it. I was just so happy. For me, I’m normally somebody that doesn’t show that much emotion. It was crazy cool.”
After winning a national championship, Staebler dropped her first match in the 19U age group. Instead of resting on her laurels, she battled back in the junior bracket, defeated her first-round opponent in a rematch and made it all the way to the third-place match where she was defeated.
“Competing at that level for me is what I push myself toward. Because I know there is going to be someone out there who’s better or stronger than me,” Staebler said. “I push myself constantly 100 percent in everything I do. The Juniors are the ones I was really pushing toward.
“To be able to go out and wrestle with them, and beat most of them, I believe that is a really great accomplishment. Next year hopefully I’ll be able to win the whole thing.”
Being crowned a national champion and earning two All-American honors won’t be something Staebler will soon forget, but Fargo was more than just about the accolades.
“It really isn’t about the championship. I work more for the people coming behind me more than myself,” Staebler said. “My goal is to show people through my wrestling, through the way I act, through the way I talk, to show them the best way in life to work hard and accomplish your goals.
“To do everything possible, to be the best person they can be.”
Staebler wrestled at the junior varsity level for the Whippets as the sophomore. Going into her junior year, what does the Fargo championship do for her confidence at the high school level?
“It doesn’t hurt,” Staebler said with a laugh. “I’m going to approach this upcoming season as I have the rest of my high school career to work 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.”