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McCullough eyeing state, besting father

Meeting every test but one

Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 12:22 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 12:23 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Erie-Prophetstown's Brandon McCullough (right) wrestles Sherrard's Hunter Spengler during a 106-pound match during the Erie tourmament in December. McCullough is 30-2 this season, with three tournament titles to his credit.

Brandon McCullough has beaten the vast majority of his opponents while piling up over 100 wins in his career. One foe he has not been able to top: his dad and head coach Tod McCullough.

The fifth-ranked Brandon McCullough, a 106-pound senior at Erie High School, has compiled a 30-2 campaign heading into Saturday's Class 1A Sherrard Regional.

One of the few wins that has eluded him is one over dear ol' dad.

The tale of the tape: Tod, 46 years old, approximately 160 pounds; Brandon, 18 years old, 106 pounds.

"If I'm feeling confident, I'll take him on," Brandon said. "But, I haven't been able to beat him. He's surprisingly quick and he's stronger than me. I'll get him, though."

"For an old guy, I guess I'm still a little fast," said Tod, who wrestled at 105 pounds when he was a senior in high school. "And, I roll easier being fat. If I get in trouble, I use my size. I'd hate to be his weight and take him on."

Besides a win over dad, Brandon, a 2012 state qualifier, has another big goal in his sights.

"I want to place at state," he said. "I want to be up on that podium, hopefully in the top four. It would be nice to end my senior year up there, hopefully with a win."

Brandon is also in competition with dad as far as state success goes.

"He made it to state his senior year, so I'm trying to one-up him by making it twice," he said.

Brandon went 0-2 at state last season, including a 9-1 first-round loss to this year's top-ranked 106-pounder Cody Minnick of Coal City, who placed fifth last year. It was his first trip to state.

"Just making it last year gave me the confidence I needed that I can make it again this year," Brandon said. "It got me pumped up for my senior year."

And, what a year it's been.

Brandon had never won a tournament during his high school career before this season, when he's won three: at Argenta, Erie and Orion.

Being the son of a coach, Brandon has grown up on the mat.

"I've been wrestling ever since I could walk," he said. "I wasn't tall enough to play baskeball. It's something me and my dad had in common. I like to follow in his footsteps."

Season to remember

Record: 30-2

Tournament results: Argenta (first), Erie (first), Orion (first), Riverdale (third)

Main accomplishment: Surpassed 100 career wins

Ranking (by Illinois Matmen): Fifth in 1A at 106 pounds

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