48-0 record capped with state championship.
“I’m scrappy and willing to get after it, and leave everything on the mat.” — Alex Braun, WHS wrestler and state champion
Justin Smith, head coach of the Woodbury High School (WHS) wrestling team, calls Alex Braun a mat rat.
Alex’s competition might use different names, but mat rat is most fitting. “He never stops moving, and he’s dangerous in every spot,” Smith says. “You don’t want to scramble with Alex.”
“By dedicating himself to the weight room, he wants to be the strongest wrestler in his class,” Smith says. “Combine that with an ability to score, and, well, you’ve got something pretty special.”
In March, Alex, then a Woodbury junior, capped a perfect 48-0 season with his school’s second-ever individual state championship. WHS opened in 1975, and just four years later, Mark Mueller won the Royals’ first state title. Alex, wrestling at 138 pounds, would win No. 2, 44 years later.
Yes, he reigned on the drought.
Alex has an overall record of 205-36. His 205 wins, with No. 200 coming in the semifinals of the section individual tournament, includes 100 pins. “Lots of wrestlers would be happy with 100 wins,” Smith says. “Alex has 100 pins.”
To date, Alex owns or shares at least eight of the 10 Woodbury wrestling records. This past year, he broke his brother’s takedown mark. “He’s an assistant coach,” Alex says of his older brother. “When a move gives me trouble, he’ll wrestle me through it.”
For the record—there’s that word again—Alex’s brother was part of the only Woodbury wrestling team to wrestle in the state team tournament. The younger Braun has plans to change that.
Alex began his competitive wrestling career in first grade. “I got right into it,” he says. He’s been wrestling on the WHS team since the seventh grade. Again, he got right into it.
As a ninth grader, Alex’s state tournament run ended with a two-point loss to the eventual state champion. His sophomore campaign ended with a broken bone in his foot during a state semifinal match. He would then default to sixth place. His junior year was one of redemption. “I wanted to prove to people that that’s not how my sophomore season should have ended,” Alex says.
He opened his junior-year state tournament with three convincing wins. “I won my first three matches by technicality, fall or pin,” he says. In the finals, he won 6-1. “I’m scrappy and willing to get after it, and leave everything on the mat,” he says.
Between the ears, he’s undefeated. “I didn’t feel there was anyone who could beat me,” he says. With a record of 48-0, he was right.
Alex followed the high school season with the folkstyle season. “Folkstyle is high school wrestling. [Alex] qualified for the national tournament in Fargo, North Dakota, in July,” Smith says. He’ll follow folkstyle with weights and tournaments.
“He’s embraced being a leader,” Smith says. “This summer, he’ll be the Pied Piper, and everyone will follow.”
His far-future plans include college wrestling, preferably at a Division I school. “I’ve had quite a few schools reach out,” Alex says. A 48-0 record will do that.