It’s what Brock Bergelin set out to do after not making it out of regionals three years ago.
Bergelin, who lost only five matches as a freshman, failed to advance after moving up a weight class to avoid the two individuals who would meet in the 106-pound WIAA Division 2 state championship that year.
Rather than worrying about his competition, Bergelin focused his attention from that point forward on being the individual in a bracket everybody else didn’t want to face.
“I needed to jump to another level, so even on my worst day I’m still beating these guys,” Bergelin said.
The Denmark senior accomplished his mission of dominating the competition and became a three-time state champion as a result.
The Central Michigan University recruit went 37-1 en route to the 120-pound D2 state title and was one of six individuals at the WIAA state tournament to win a third championship.
For his efforts, Bergelin is the Green Bay Press-Gazette wrestler of the year.
“I think where he really turned the corner was between his freshman and sophomore year when he rededicated himself to the sport,” Denmark coach Tim Kapinos said.
“It motivated him not getting out his freshman year. He had some pretty tough competition at our regional, but the reality is that competition isn’t going to get any less. He knew what he had to do to overcome that and become one of the best kids in the state at his weight class.”
Pound-for-pound, Bergelin ranks as one of the best wrestlers the state has produced.
He’s one of 80 individuals in the 74-year history of the WIAA state tournament to win at least three titles and only the 10th local wrestler to accomplish the feat.
Bergelin overcame several obstacles to reach that elite status, including pneumonia and mononucleosis at the start of the season that drained his conditioning.
After sustaining an orbital fracture in the semifinals, Bergelin won a 9-0 major decision over Melrose-Mindoro sophomore Julian Purney to claim his third D2 state title despite not being able to see out of his left eye in the championship match.
“He had quite a few challenges that he had to face throughout the course of his senior year,” Kapinos said. “Those challenges were really important lessons for him. It’s definitely going to help him here moving forward.”
Bergelin is leaving behind quite a legacy at Denmark, which prior to his arrival had crowned only three state champions in its history.
Bergelin went 159-8 in his high school career, including 125-3 over his last three seasons, to become the Vikings’ all-time leader in wins and winning percentage by surpassing the marks of Matt Vandenbush, who won back-to-back state titles in 1992 and 1993.
“It’s just really cool,” said Bergelin, who is also Denmark’s leader in pins and gave up back points only once in his career. “I looked up to Matt Vandenbush owning all the records as a kid. To be able to take that over, and think about all the kids that are looking up to me now, it makes you feel really good inside and gives you that sense of accomplishment.”
email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @andrewpekarek.