The Press Newspaper
Brian Henneman has a confession to make.
The Clay senior wrestler enjoys hunting, but he’s still trying to perfect his aim.
“I haven’t killed anything yet,” he said. “I’ve missed a lot. I’ve had some really close shots, easy ones, and I missed them. I’ve been hunting with my whole family since I was a little kid. I love the adrenaline rush. The sport of it is fun to do. Getting to eat what you kill, it’s good.”
Henneman doesn’t go hunting as often as he used to. His wrestling career, he said, “comes first.”
The 5-foot-6 Henneman has a 26-6 record at 126 pounds this season and recently earned a milestone victory. He collected his 100th win last weekend, in the first round of the State Duals against visiting Whitmer.
“It was really special,” said Henneman, whose career record stands at 103-42. “I had my family out there, my coaches made a banner and had it announced. It was a goal, for sure, to get 100 wins. At Clay, we have all these banners and they have a board that says ‘100 wins.’ They have all these people on it and I just wanted to be one of those people on the board.”
Henneman didn’t take up wrestling until his eighth grade year. He said he watched other family members compete on the mat, like his older cousin, Richie Henneman, and finally decided to take the plunge.
“I watched him wrestle and got interested, and (the school) made an announcement and I tried it,” Brian said. “I fell in love with it right away. I had been (playing) football and baseball. I was a good pitcher. I decided wrestling was the best option for me. I have no regrets.”
Henneman’s two younger brothers, Aaron, 16, and Nick, 14, are also Clay wrestlers.
“Brian is very hard working and will do anything asked of him,” Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. “He has a non-stop motor and can wear his opponents down.”
Henneman started out at Bowsher High School as a freshman, but his wrestling career with the Rebels got blown up after Toledo Public Schools eliminated its wrestling programs due to budget issues.
In addition to his 26 wins this season, Henneman has taken first place at the Clyde Invitational and at the Sally George Invitational in Marion, Ohio. He also placed fifth at the Maumee Bay Classic.
“This season is going well,” Henneman said. “We have a tough schedule to wrestle and tough practices. Coach Cubs is always hard on us. I’ve been improving a lot, winning closer matches this year. Last year I lost a lot of one-point matches, and this year I’m winning those one-point matches.”
Henneman said the difference this season is he’s been able to ride his opponents more and he’s better on top. He has focused on getting first-period takedowns in order to get an early lead.
“I wanted to be physical and move kids around and use ‘heavy hands,’ ” he said. “That means you’re heavy on the kid’s head, pounding the kid, pushing him and smacking his head. You want to tire him out. Coach Cubs has taught that since he’s become coach. He wants us to capitalize on that and getting kids tired.”
Henneman traveled with the Lake Erie Wrestling Club last offseason and also wrestled at the Disney Duals with several other Clay teammates in late June. He competed at 137 pounds in Florida and came back with a sub-.500 record.
“It taught me I needed to cut weight,” Henneman admitted. “My senior year I wanted to wrestle 126 because that was going to be my best chance to get to state. The kids up in the 132s and 138s (weight classes) were a lot bigger and stronger than me in general.”
Henneman has yet to place in two trips to the district tournament (he went 2-2 at 120 pounds last season), but he is confident this year will be different.
“One of my goals since freshman year was to get to state and get on the podium,” he said. “I missed it last year and it’s driven me this year to get there. I always think about it. It’s my senior year and I want to get there really bad. I’m driving myself to do it and putting in the time in practice.”
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