In wrestling, you either win or learn. The education of Brady Linder, however, is over.
A standout for Highland, the 152-pound junior placed at every tournament except two last season.
The first non-placing event was the Medina Invitational. The second was the Division I state tournament. Each found him one win away from the podium.
The first act of the redemption tour begins this morning when Linder hits the mats at the 44th annual MIT.
“It was really upsetting,” Linder said. “That’s what has been driving me and motivating me this year in the offseason to get in the wrestling room. I just have to keep working in the room, get better every day and take no days off.”
That drive is one of the first things wrestling coach Tim Maxworthy saw when he came to the Highland football team as a defensive backs coach.
While Linder played linebacker, his unwillingness to accept defeat and drive toward greatness stood out larger than an exclamation point.
“I thought he was a real tough kid,” Maxworthy said. “He was really nonchalant. He wasn’t a big show-boater. He came in and did his job and moved on. It’s great that he doesn’t let anything rattle him. He doesn’t get too excited one way or the other and he’s very even keeled.
“I see him getting hungrier as the season progresses. He doesn’t think he has to win every single match. He works hard, does a good job and he wants to do well, especially at tournaments like the MIT, the Dies and then come postseason.”
An All-Gazette honorable mention selection last season, Linder went 41-15.
Fast forward to this morning and he comes in 6-1 and ready to turn things up another notch.
That’s been the attitude so far for a wrestler who has notched 81 victories in a little over two seasons.
“I feel like I have to wrestle every match the same way,” Linder said. “I have to come in, know what I have to do and wrestle my match. (The sport) is just humbling. It just shows you there’s always going to be someone better than you. You just have to keep working and working to get better. It’s the same every year. You want to do the best you can and make everyone around you better.”
Having a world champion in Alan Fried last season and now one of the top wrestlers in Medina County history coaching him in Maxworthy has been just what Linder needed.
“(Maxworthy) has taught me to pick it up and just be more intense in the wrestling room,” Linder said. “He’s showed me just to get after it on the mat.”
A junior, Linder sits smack dab in the middle of a lineup loaded with youth. When next season’s highly anticipated eighth-grade class comes in, Linder should be the senior everyone looks up to not only to get better, but to navigate his way through the season.
“He shows these younger kids who are talented that there’s somebody in your own room that’s more talented than you are,” Maxworthy said. “It just helps them out tremendously as far as knowing where they have to go and being able to see him in the room every day.
“It’s always nice to have someone you can rely on for points right in the middle of the lineup. He’s somebody who makes others better. Lack of effort is never going to be said about Brady Linder.”