It took three years for Braxton Mikesell to win a wrestling match.
Before the hulking Central Valley senior captured state and national titles, referees rarely lifted his arm in victory.
Those were the early years of Mikesell’s on-the-mat pursuits, a grade-schooler learning the nuance of a sport he once considered secondary.
The son of a former world-class powerlifter nicknamed “The Squat King,” it’s easy to see where Mikesell inherits his 6-foot-2, 265-pound frame and his affinity for throwing around heavy objects.
Mikesell was 8 when he began to work out with his father, former University High and Montana football player Brent Mikesell, who once set a world squatting record (1,141 pounds) in 2004.
“I always hung around him and would try to lift things,” said Braxton, who set a World Association of Bench Press and Deadlifters record at age 13 when he deadlifted 429 pounds.
Mikesell, who said he deadlifted 700 pounds at age 16, suffered an injury that recently kept him from defending his 2018 Tri-State heavyweight title last month at North Idaho College.
He returned to varsity action last week, winning the prestigious Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa, Idaho.
“I really wanted to win back-to-back Tri-State titles, but winning (Rollie Lane) was better for my weight class this year,” Mikesell said.
Mikesell defeated Pasco’s Damian Silva at Rollie Lane to add to his championship haul, which includes an individual State 4A title last year and multiple freestyle national championships.
When Mikesell won at state last season, he did so with a “undersized” 235-pound frame, impressing recruiters with his upside.
“At state competition, I’m more technical than anyone else,” he said.
Michigan and Ohio State expressed interest, Mikesell said, and he went on recruiting trips to Oregon State, North Dakota State and Utah Valley.
He recently committed to Utah Valley, which has a roster that includes former local standout brothers Sam and Will Edelblute (Lakeland) and Tate and Tanner Orndorff (University).
“Utah Valley offered an automotive tech program, and the other school didn’t,” he said.
Locals shine at prestigious Rollie Lane
Idaho power Post Falls placed second behind Kuna at Rollie Lane on Saturday at the state’s largest prep wrestling meet.
Coeur d’Alene placed third and Lakeland took fifth.
Post Falls was led by winners Roddy Romero (106) and A.J. De La Rosa (145).
Coeur d’Alene’s Drew Roberts (138), Gonzaga Prep’s Q’Veli Quintanilla (126) and Central Valley’s Mikesell (285) also took home individual titles.
North Central’s Mobley second at Gut Check
North Central standout Kenndyl Mobley placed second at the 69-team Gut Check Invitational last week in Kent, Washington.
Mobley, who won a State 3A title as a freshman last season, advanced to the 120-pound championship match before dropping a 10-4 decision to Ryan Miller of national power Blair Academy (New Jersey).
Blair Academy ran away with the Gut Check team title, winning in seven weight classes.