Sports Zone

Brick laying solid foundation for state run

Brielle Brick

COTTAGE GROVE – Twenty-nine years. When you’re in high school, it seems like a lifetime away. When you’re a young journalist about to turn 30, it literally was your lifetime away.
In 1990 there was a grand total of 112 girls participating in high school wrestling. In 2020, there were more girls than that – 114 – who participated in the Cottage Grove Invitational tournament last week.
In the 2017-18 season there were only six states that had sanctioned high school championships for girls. 2020? There are now 21 states officially sanctioning girls wrestling.
Mario Perez, in his first year as Creswell’s head coach, said he’s eager to ride the wave.
”I knew that girls wrestling was growing but I wasn’t expecting it to be as big of a force here in Creswell,” he said. And, he said, sophomore Brielle Brick is standing out among the pack.
”During some of the first couple of practices, I saw her drive and her competitiveness were so strong that she could have taken down a bear,” Perez said. ”Guys, girls, it never seems to matter who she’s going up against.”
Brielle said she’s gaining confidence, too.
”The biggest difference for me this year is that I’m not scared when I step on the mat anymore,” she said this week after practice. ”They could be twice my size and I know at least I’m going to learn a few things. If you learn, you never lose. So I just stopped being afraid of losing.”
Only a sophomore, Brick is in her second season. She said she tried out last year because she figured it would keep her in shape for soccer and she could hang out with her friends at the same time. Soccer being her main focus as she entered high school, wrestling took her by surprise.
”I didn’t expect to love it this much, let alone be good at it,” she said. With a winning percentage of 0.875, first place at the Thurston Girls Invitational in the 145-pound class, second place at the Elmira Girls Invitational at 140 pounds, and first place at Nick Lutz Girls Invitational at 140 pounds, it’s safe to say that she is indeed ”good at it.”
Last year was the first year Oregon sanctioned girls championships for wrestling, fitting that it was Brick’s first year on the mat. The top two girls qualified last season, leaving Brick disappointed in her third-place finish. ”I was mad because this year the top four qualify and had those been the rules last year, I would have been at state. So this year, I’m just focusing on qualifying like I should have last year.”
Thurston plays host to OSAA Southern Division Girls State Regional on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8. Representing Creswell will be senior Guinevere Devore, senior Carley Wilkerson, and Brick herself, hoping to settle her unfinished business.



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