Aden Braun working for elusive state title
Aden Braun, a junior for the Jamestown High School wrestling team, is ranked No. 1 at 138 pounds this season.
JAMESTOWN — Aden Braun has become accustomed to second place but that doesn't mean he's satisfied.
"You can’t let one match hold you back," Braun, a junior for the Jamestown High School wrestling team, said. "You learn from your losses and use it as motivation. In order to maintain No. 1, I will train harder than ever and push myself to my limits. I can’t be satisfied with that ranking. I will be satisfied when I am No. 1 at the end of the season."
Braun is currently ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in the state at 138 pounds. The junior holds a 6-0 overall record at the 145-pound and 138-pound bracket. As of Jan. 24, he is holding a 5-0 record in pins.
Braun has picked up three consecutive state runners-up titles in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
"Aden has been around wrestling his entire life and saw first had what it takes to be good at the sport," Braun's older brother Zane said. "He has an unmatched drive to succeed.
"He's wrestled at the national level and knows there is always someone out there tougher or better. That pushes a guy to always work harder and be better. That's what he does every day."
Back in December, Braun took second in the annual Rumble on the Red Wrestling Tournament in Fargo — the biggest prep wrestling tournament in the nation. Braun captured five straight wins in order to advance to the championship match.
He fell in a 4-1 decision to New Prague's Koy Buesgens in the title match. 2021 marked the second straight year Braun took second at the Rumble on the Red.
Currently, Braun is ranked fourth in all-time wins as a Blue Jay.
"It would be amazing to become the all-time wins leader," Braun said. "But, I am focused on one match at a time and accomplishing my goal."
His primary goal was not to win the 138-pound title at the Skip Nalan Invitational in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, which he did last Saturday, but instead to secure his first, individual state title.
Braun said witnessing his older brothers, Zane and Noah, win state titles were two of the best things that have ever happened to him and have served as motivation for him as he pursues his first state title.
Zane and Noah captured state titles, both at 152 pounds, in 2012 and 2020. Noah, the captain of the 2020 Blue Jay squad, pulled out an 8-3 decision over top-seeded Brock Fettig of Bismarck High in the 2020 152-pound state finals. Now a sophomore at the University of Jamestown, Noah is wrestling at 174 pounds for the Jimmies.
Zane holds the most Blue Jay victories at 152 (36-1).
"We always trained as a family," Zane said. "Dad would be working with me and Noah and there was little Aden wrapped around Dad's leg following along ... he works harder than anyone I know, the sky is the limit for him for sure.
"He just needs to keep working hard and doing his thing. He needs to hurry up and win a state title. Noah and I are running out of non-state champ jokes to throw at him at our family functions."
Braun said while it will be a relief to not be heckled at Christmas dinner, he is grateful for the chance to have trained alongside two former state champs. Braun said working with and against two very different wrestling styles has made him better as a wrestler.
The junior has been able to keep his opponents on their toes offensively and guard against a myriad of different moves on defense — all things that could make him more dangerous than his brothers.
"I am not sure who is the best out of us three," Braun said. "I guess we might have to find out who's the better wrestler and wrestle for it before they get too old."
Zane and Noah should both be prepared for what Braun might throw at them if the three ever match up in a family round-robin tournament.
"I make my workouts intense and try to push myself to my limits," Braun said. "If you don’t push yourself then you are doing nothing for yourself and won’t see results. As I have gotten older I have focused more on things I need to work on."
Braun's wrestling season doesn't follow the typical prep=season schedule as the junior wrestles all year round. The regular competition allows Braun to not only hone in on his own skills but also see where the competition bar is at.
This last weekend, the Jays and a slew of other teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin got to see just how far consistent physical training, discipline, determination, dedication, mentality and focus, can get a guy.
Braun helped the Jays to a third-place finish out of 16 teams competing in Grand Rapids. Braun secured a pin over Brainerd's Isaiah Jillson with 3:05 gone in the match to win the 138 -pound title.
Braun also won the MVP of the event and had the most pins in the fastest time.
While he has an innate ability to focus and dedicate himself to the physical and mental demands of the sport, Braun said he is very aware that it is a team effort that has gotten him to his No. 1 ranking.
"I am very thankful for my teammates and family," Braun said. "I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my teammates and family. They push me to be the best and want to see me succeed.
"I want to give my teammates and coaches a shout-out for helping me. Our team is very talented and are hard workers. They are also some of the best kids and people you will meet. I am so glad to be able to call them teammates and coaches.