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    #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Fairfield’s Maran bound for regional again — this time as a lighter competitor




    Breckan Maran, a 190-pound junior at Fairfield High School, is heading to the Goshen Regional for the third time in his prep wrestling career.


    For the first time since 2017, the Falcons will be represented by more than two grapplers.


    It’s fitting that Maran has more teammates sharing the experience with him in 2024. The meet on Saturday, Feb. 3 will also feature juniors Matthew Senn (138), Dirk Rumfelt (157) and Aldahir Ortiz-Sanchez (165) and senior Ryan Noel (175).


    His head coach — 1992 Fairfield graduate Gene Willard — has noticed how Maran cares about the others around him.


    “Breckan always has been a team player,” says Willard of an athlete who ended the football season weighing 216. “At the beginning of the season he thought he was going to go at 215. The week before we started competing, he said, ‘I want to go 190. Am I OK?’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘(senior) Ethan (Hochstetler) can go 215 and (sophomore) David (Almiray) is the heavyweight and I can fill 190.


    “Mentally, (Breckan) is very tough but that’s the team aspect of it. He just holds things together.”


    Says Maran, “Going to semistate last year and regional the year before and knowing a lot about wrestling, I’d say my teammates look up to me.”


    Willard, who is in his second season as Falcons head coach and eighth in the program after stints at Whiteland Community and Lakeland, said there was an adjustment period to the lighter weight, then Maran began rolling again.


    “He’s been looking really good,” says Willard, who saw Maran win the 190 title at the 2024 Northeast Corner Conference meet after placing second at 220 in both 2022 and 2023.


    The coach also recognizes a leadership style. It’s one he had himself as a Fairfield athlete.


    “Breckan is one that leads by example,” says Willard. “If you ask most unless he’s around he’s around his friends he’s very soft-spoken.


    “If someone needs correction or motivation he’s there to support them. He holds everything near and dear to his heart. Sometimes he puts a lot of pressure on himself to succeed and carry the team when he doesn’t have to.”


    The past two wrestling postseasons, Maran competed at 220.


    As a sophomore in 2022-23, he placed second at both the Elkhart Sectional and Goshen Regional and lost in the second round at the Fort Wayne Semistate.


    As a freshman in 2021-22, he finished second in the Elkhart Sectional and did not place at the Goshen Regional.


    Maran is 29-5 during his junior wrestling season at Fairfield High School.


    Two of those defeats came at the Elkhart Sectional as he was pinned in 3:00 by Elkhart junior Kaullin Price in the semifinals and beaten 6-3 by NorthWood senior Keith Miller — a wrestler he had beaten by a point during the regular season — in a consolation match.


    “I couldn’t quite come back,” says Maran of the second-round fall. “That’s my thought on the mental side.”


    The Elkhart Sectional is sending champion Donovan Blair of Wawasee, runner-up Price of Elkhart, third-placer Miller of NorthWood and fourth-placer Maran to the Goshen Regional.


    “We knew that was going to be a tough weight class coming in,” says Willard. “He got caught (against Price) and that happens.


    “Hopefully, (Breckan) will be able to rebound and the Elkhart Sectional can advance all four 190-pounders to semistate.”


    Maran started wrestling as a seventh grader. In the eighth grade, he was 207 pounds. He started playing tackle football in the third grade. There was a time that he was too big to carry the ball by Prairie Football League rules and was assigned to a spot on the line.


    As a high schooler, he runs over and around tacklers as a fullback and also uses his gifts to bring ball-carriers down as a middle linebacker.


    “That’s part of his mentality: If you don’t get out of the way I’m going to go through you,” says Willard, who coached a freshman Maran in that sport. “He’s always worked his butt off.


    “His work ethic got him where he is today.”


    Says Maran, “I’m pretty quick and I’ve got some decent muscles. With wrestling, I just like the physicality.”


    One of the strongest kids in the school, Maran enjoys his time in the weight room. You can often find him there during the spring when he’s not staying in-shape with wrestling workouts and some competitions. He placed fourth at 220 at the 2023 Frosh-Sophomore State meet.


    “Before I dropped the weight by bench (press) was 325, my squat was 475 and my clean (and jerk) was 265,” says Maran. “Since I’ve cut down to like 187 I haven’t tried to max.”


    Tom and Tosha Maran have two sons — Braedon and Breckan. Brandon Maran played football and basketball at Fairfield.

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