Brazell, who wrestled at 138 pounds last season, is ranked fifth in Class 6A at 152 pounds.
What do you enjoy about wrestling?
“I like it because you get out there on the mat by yourself. You have to rely on yourself. You can’t blame anyone for not making a block or a tackle. I like that. I like having challenges for myself. I think that I’m a good athlete, and it’s a good one-on-one competition.”
Wrestling requires mental toughness. How do you develop that?
“Cutting weight. If you cut weight, you have to cut down your meals, run after practice, go to the Y after practice and sit in the sauna. It’s stressful on the body to cut weight. You go into the hot wrestling room and you keep working hard every day.”
Is it easier to handle the heat now?
“It’s a thing that you’ve got to get used to. I really don’t like the heat. It takes a toll on you sometimes. It gets you frustrated, and it makes a mess. It gets really slippery, so if you’re trying to take down someone, you could slip. You learn to deal with it.”
How did you get into wrestling?
“I started in fifth grade because my friend (Saul Ortiz) got into it. We pretty much do everything together. We live wrestle a little bit. He’s at 170 (and ranked second), so they move him to the big weights for strength and then to the small weights, where he can work on his speed.
“It’s fun. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well. I definitely try to come up with more strategies against him. He’s pretty strong. He overpowers me sometimes. If we wrestled in a match, he’d probably win because he has the strength.”
Last year you didn’t advance to the 6A tournament. How painful was that?
“I was ranked No. 2 and lost my first match in regionals, lost to a guy I tech-falled two times. Then the next match, it went into OT and I lost. It was a heartbreaker. I cried. I cried like a baby.
“It just sucked. You work so hard all year. I was ranked so high and had really high goals, and then you get them all crushed.… I feel like I was trying to preserve myself (in that first regional match). I would have wrestled the No. 1 kid in the state, so I think I was trying to preserve myself and keep my strength.
“… It definitely pushes me a lot harder this year. You can’t take anyone lightly. Anything can happen at any moment. This year the goal is the state championship. I have to make up for what I didn’t do last year.”