Kingsley excels on the mat with his dad's help
When you're one year old, you're crawling. You hit age two, and you're walking like a pro. Age three, and you're all over the place. It's around that age that things really get interesting.
For Brandon Kingsley's parents, age three was even more interesting than usual. Brandon was three years old when he started his competitive wrestling career.
He'll be 18 next month, and the past 15 years have been nothing short of phenomenal for this Apple Valley senior. He's the nation's fourth-ranked wrestler, and he's a three-time state champion. His father, Roger, has been coaching him through it all.
"I've had a lot of different coaches, because we've got national teams and all that kind of stuff," Brandon said. "You get exposed to a lot of different kinds of coaches. Seeing as he's been with me and been my coach since I was three, he knows me the best, so I prefer to have him as one of my coaches. He knows me better than any other coach and he knows what my strengths and what my weaknesses are, and he knows how to coach me based on those."
Being coached by his dad has brought them closer together, and it benefits Brandon having a coach that may know him better than he knows himself. To Brandon, there's only one downside to the arrangement.
"When I lose, he's the first person I have to deal with," he said.
Luckily for Brandon, it's not often that he has to face his dad with a loss weighing him down.
"I'm actually a pretty competitive kid," Brandon said, "so anything I do, I like to be one of the better people."
He's been one of the better people in the state for three years now. He won the 140-pound Class 3A state championship last year as a junior and the 135-pound class his sophomore year. In his first state championship his freshman year, he won the 125-pound class. It was a big milestone.
"My proudest moment (as a wrestler) was probably winning state my freshman year," Brandon said.
With the 2012 state wrestling tournament just around the corner, Brandon is eager for a shot at a four-peat.
"Yeah, I am actually really excited," Brandon said, "because there's not a lot of people in the state of Minnesota that have (won four state titles)."
It will be the first state tournament where Brandon will compete without his older brother, Jordan, wrestling alongside him. With just a 15-month age gap between the two siblings, Jordan has been as much a part of Brandon's wrestling career as his dad has been.
"We did a lot of wrestling together. We went to practice together, we used to train a lot," Brandon said. "We would always teach each other stuff and get better off of each other."
Next year, the Kingsley brothers will be reunited when Brandon heads to college. He's committed to wrestle for the Minnesota Gophers, where Jordan is in the midst of his freshman season.
"I'm really looking forward to (next year)," Brandon said. "My brother is already there and he loves it. It's been kind of weird not being on the same team as him because we've been on the same team since I was probably three. He's been a wrestler since then, too. So I'm just looking forward to being on his team and to actually train with the Gophers, and (face) all that good competition."
It's been 15 years since Brandon first competed on the mats and his wrestling career isn't likely to come to an end anytime soon.