By STEVE KRAH
Brayden Jellison is a two-time Elkhart Sectional champion at heavyweight.
His 42-second pin in the finals Saturday, Jan. 28 helped the Elkhart Lions to a second straight IHSAA Elkhart Sectional team title.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Jellison heads to the Goshen Regional on Feb. 4 at 24-4 for the 2022-23 season after he went 35-10 and placed fourth at the Fort Wayne Semistate and sixth at the State Finals at 285 as a junior.
“I’ve definitely come a long way,” says Jellison, who went to wrestling camps at Elkhart Central as a youngster. “I struggled freshman year and sophomore year.”
Brayden was an Elkhart Central Blue Blazer as a freshman. As a sophomore, Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial combined athletic teams in preparation for the full unification of the two schools which took place 2021-22.
How did Jellison raise his mat level?
“Just the hard work in the (practice) room,” says Jellison. “I just wanted to come out here and finish off this year on top (of the podium at State Finals).”
His go-to move?
“An undertook to a single-leg,” says Jellison.
An offensive lineman in football, where he has earned all-state and all-Northern Indiana Conference honors, Jellison is committed to play that sport at Illinois State University in the fall.
Jellison says it’s his agility that has the Redbirds considering him at guard or center.
“Wrestling helps me get the footwork and more stamina built up,” says Jellison.
Elkhart head coach Zach Whickcar admires Jellison’s worth ethic and dedication to wrestling.
“It says a lot about him,” says Whickcar, a former Elkhart Central wrestler. “Football is his first love and wrestling is not easy. He comes out here and pushes himself.”
Jellison is one of the Lions’ leaders.
“He does a great job of making sure everyone is doing the right thing, everyone’s focused and that people are representing us the right way,” says Whickcar. “Obviously, he’s a great representation of what we want to be on the mat.”
Jellison will get to lead a large group at the Goshen Regional. Eleven teammates also qualified, including senior Genesis Ramirez (106), senior Josh Corona (113), sophomore Blake Mock (126), junior Cam Dews (132), sophomore Brennon Whickcar (138), sophomore Cohen Lundy (145), junior Cam Freedline (160), junior Ethan Freedline (170), sophomore Kaullin Price (182), senior Nash Shupert (195) and senior Preston Stimac (220).
Whickcar also sees Jellison leading in the class room, where he carries a 3.7 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. He is involved in student government and is a National Honor Society member.
“That’s a game changer,” says Whickcar. “Being a great athlete is one thing, but being a student-athlete is big.”
Jellison plans to major in Sport Management at Illinois State.
“I just want to be involved in sports after college,” says Jellison.
Brayden is the son of Elkhart Central graduates Zach and Courtni Jellison and has two younger siblings at Elkhart High — junior Logan and freshman Brynlee.
Zach Jellison played basketball and wrestled his senior year of high school. Courtni was a softball player. Logan Jellison is in football and wrestling. Brynlee Jellison is in volleyball, basketball and track.
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