Reisz bros claim WOTY

(Logan) -- Sharing isn't always fun for siblings, but for Logan-Magnolia's Wyatt and Briar Reisz, splitting the 2021 KMAland Wrestler of the Year honor is the latest of things they've done together during their careers. 

Their wrestling journey began in grade school. Since then, they have both raked up accolades, tournament titles and state tournament medals, all while practicing on one another. 

"He started wrestling a year or two after I did," senior Briar said about his brother. "We always go back and forth in the room. It's a love/hate relationship. But we've always made each other better. It's a great relationship. I'm very fortunate to have a couple of brothers that I can teach and wrestle with. We can go down to our basement whenever we want and work on different techniques." 

The impromptu wrestling practices in the Reisz family basement paid off. Wyatt -- a sophomore -- recently won the Class 1A 138-pound championship, sealing it with a decision Wilton's Kael Brisker in the finals. 

"It feels pretty good," he said. "I'm just really thankful for all the help everyone gave me throughout the year."

Reisz controlled the match from the opening whistle. He held off a late attack from Brisker for the crown. 

"I knew what I had to do," he said. "I just had to make sure I didn't get too nervous. The nerves were pretty low throughout the entire match. I had really prepped just staying calm and focusing on what I had to do. In the last minute, I just knew I had to do what I had been doing, which seemed to be working." 

Perhaps more remarkable than his state championship is the journey he took to get there, which started with an under-the-radar wrestleoff for the 138-pound spot in Logan-Magnolia's loaded lineup. 

Wyatt, who bounced around weight classes during the season, edged eventual third-place finisher Hagen Heistand in a wrestleoff to earn the coveted spot in the lineup. You could certainly make an argument Heistand vs. Reisz was the real state championship match.

"Those wrestleoffs were tough," he said. "I knew he was a tough wrestler. We prepared for that and things went our way."

Wyatt dominated in the first two rounds of the state tournament to advance to the semifinals. His opponent? West Sioux's Cullen Koedam, who was responsible for Wyatt's only two losses this season. 

However, Wyatt took care of business and punched his ticket to the finals. 

"Those two losses pushed me to really improve myself," he said. "I learned from both those losses." 

"I'm very proud," Briar said about his little brother's dominant tournament. "I've worked with him a lot these last two years. The countless hours working with him, it just means a lot that all that paid off."

Briar watched on with pride while also preparing for his own title match. 

The older Reisz's wrestling tale of dominance and heartbreak is well-known. The Nebraska-Kearney commit reached the finals in every year of his career but never captured the state title.

As a freshman, Reisz made a surprising run to the finals, but ran into eventual three-time champion Adam Allard (West Sioux). In 2019, Reisz fell victim to likely four-time champion Robert Avila (Lisbon).

Last year, Reisz wrestled the second half of the season on a torn ACL and nearly beat another Lisbon wrestler -- Marshall Hauck, but couldn't complete a late takedown. 

Capturing the elusive state title in his senior year seemed like destiny for Briar, but maybe there is no such thing in wrestling.

He found himself down early in his finals match to freshman Max Magayna (Columbus Catholic), but eventually found a rhythm and tied the match. But a late scramble resulted in points for Magayna, which handed the freshman his first state title in a cruel twist. 

Anyone who has ever attended championship night at state wrestling understands the emotions of losing in the finals. It's not easy and can sting, but Reisz knows those losses don't take away from how hard it is to wrestle in four state championship matches. 

"I think of the state tournament as any other tournament," he said. "A lot of people would kill to take my place. I'm very grateful and appreciative of how far I have come. Champion or not, I'm fine with getting second."

Briar concludes his prep career with a 191-10 record. He also won three Western Iowa Conference titles and was the first four-time member of the KMAland All-Wrestling Team.

Wyatt has a 95-7 record halfway through his career. His accolades include a fifth-place state medal, a state championship, a Western Iowa Conference title. He's also a two-time member of the All-Wrestling Team. 

For Briar, the KMAland Wrestler of the Year honor is another accolade to conclude a career full of them. Wyatt's honor is another accolade in a career that will likely see many more.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when or where either wrestler won this honor. Perhaps Wyatt won it when he won his wrestleoff on a quiet afternoon in Logan.

Maybe it was when he became the first member of his family to win a state title.

Perhaps Briar won it when he taught all of us a lesson about never giving up at the end of a career that featured plenty of dominance, adversity and perseverance. 

It's likely they truly won this award long before any of these events because of the lessons taught to them by their father, Doug, an assistant coach for the Panthers. 

Many parents are crazed with their kids athletics, sometimes to an extreme and unhealthy extent. That has not been the case in the Reisz family. 

"He wasn't insane at wrestling, but he always pushed us and wanted the best for us," Briar said. "A lot of people push their kids to do stuff we don't want to do. He always gave us the option to practice or not to practice. Him doing that allowed us to really appreciate and love the sport of wrestling. There was no pressure from our parents. That really led us to excel in wrestling. We have a good family dynamic." 

The Reisz brothers join Nick Hamilton (Underwood), Gabe Pauley (AHSTW) and Alex Thomsen (Underwood) as KMAland Wrestlers of the Year. The complete interviews with Wyatt and Briar can be heard below. 

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