Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Jared Brinkman is a big guy. At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds that fact isn’t really up for debate.
Brinkman has always been big.
He certainly didn’t get saddled with the nickname ‘Tank’, that he still answers to, at a young age for being small.
Now a senior, Brinkman is as big as ever.
He has put on 20 pounds of muscle over the last year, he’s tone and compact, barrel-chested with massive arms and hands and tree trunk legs.
Brinkman is a big guy. That doesn’t mean he has to wrestle like one.
“Lots of heavyweight matches have one takedown on a headlock but I think I wrestle my own style,” Brinkman said. “I want to score, I want to push it, I want to keep going I don’t want to have those 3-2 matches and just win in a boring match. I want to win by as much margin as I can and just totally dominate guys.”
That style, which combines the size and strength of an elite heavyweight with the quickness and balance of a middle weight has made Brinkman one of the state’s elite at 285 pounds.
Brinkman is 66-1 over the past two seasons and is intent on becoming the first four-time state qualifier and two-time state champion in Regina history.
“I think one advantage he has over a lot of heavyweights is how quick he is,” Regina coach Adam Martensen said. “He is able to get to singles or able to get to the corner a lot quicker than a lot of heavyweights and they just can’t keep up with him.”
Brinkman learned to utilize his quickness out of necessity.
Before cutting down to 220 pounds where he was a state qualifier as a freshman, Brinkman began his first season of high school wrestling an undersized heavyweight.
Going up against upperclassmen that pushed the 285-pound weight limit Brinkman had to wrestle like a smaller guy, utilizing a variety of shots to rack up takedowns while avoiding being thrown by bigger wrestlers.
“He started out as a really light heavyweight so he couldn’t go upper body, he was wrestling guys that were trying to make weight at 285,” Martensen said. “Before he got down to 220 he had to use his quickness and he had to use his speed to try to battle that weight.”
Brinkman wasn’t undersized for long.
He finished fifth at 220 pounds as a sophomore in 2015, but quickly outgrew that weight class.
By his junior season, Brinkman was 260 pounds with the same speed and quickness he possessed as a 220-pound underclassmen.
That combination of speed and strength has proven to be devastating for opponents.
Brinkman was 42-0 last season on his way to the Class 1A 285-pound title and is off to a 24-1 start this season.
“I feel like I can wrestle a couple of different ways,” Brinkman said. “I like my double legs and single legs and things like that but I also like throwing some guys sometimes too.”
Early last season, his first as a full-time heavyweight, Brinkman admits he got caught up in the big man game.
He liked trying to throw a little too much.
Brinkman credits Martensen with helping him develop his style as an all-around wrestler.
“It started my freshman year when I just wanted to throw guys and he changed my mindset and by the end of the year I started taking shots and seeing success,” Brinkman said. “From there on it has progressed. I work on that every day and try to get better.”
Brinkman has been as dominant as ever this season.
He is ranked No. 1 in Class 1A at 285 pounds and has 15 pins, 11 of which have come in less than a minute, and seven wins by forfeit.
The lone loss for Brinkman came in one of the top heavyweight matchups in the state this season at the Cascade tournament on January 14.
Brinkman dropped a 3-2 decision to Class 3A top-ranked Aaron Costello, an Iowa recruit ranked as the eighth best heavyweight in the country by Intermat.
“He is just a heck of a competitor,” Martensen said. “He loves the big matches and he always looking forward to trying to get into meets where he can have that big match because he wants to compete against the best. He’s not worried about losing, he’s not worried about his record but he wants the big matches so he can show himself and prove himself.”
An all-state lineman and a Northern Iowa recruit, football is the future for Brinkman.
In the meantime, he has some unfinished wrestling business to take care of next month.
“It’s the last go around in wrestling, ever since first grade I’ve watched the state championship match.” Brinkman said. “It’s the Iowa state tournament there is nothing better. It means a lot to me.”