FARGO, N.D. — The second the whistle blows to end the match before his, the lights turn on for Mick Burnett.
An intense wrestler with laser focus, the Elyria sophomore is deep in thought going through what he wants to do prior to matches.
Once the schoolboy national champion hears the tweet, he screams “Let’s Go,” and proceeds to just about rip off his father’s hand along with the digits of assistant coach Jack Gillespie with low fives.
Burnett was at it again Saturday at the Cadet Freestyle Nationals, advancing along with teammate Dylan Shawver to the quarterfinals.
Win that one and Burnett will duplicate what Shawver did last season by becoming an All-American in his first year of competition.
“It’s something I started doing in sixth grade and I finally flipped that switch,” Burnett said. “We had a saying that we used to do where it was go time and it turned into let’s go.
“Every match I do it. Having those guys there means the world. They’re probably my two favorite coaches. With them in the corner, it gives me more of an edge.”
That edge turned into four wins Saturday as Burnett (120 pounds) rolled to this morning’s quarterfinals.
It started with a technical fall over Iowa’s Sam Kallem. After that, it was a lesson in momentum as Burnett teched Super 32 All-American Jagger Condomitti of Pennsylvania and concluded his day with techs over Maryland’s Paul Truntich and Minnesota regional champion Jack Svihel.
Burnett will face Illinois state champ Jacob Lindsey on the second day of competition. Fellow Elyria teammates Shawver (113), Bryce Allison (100), Lewis Aguilar (182) and Matt Zuckerman (126) were also in action.
Aguilar almost made it to the second day, losing his last bout of the night and exited along with Zuckerman. Allison went 2-1 and will continue competing, which goes a long way in the psyche of a high school wrestler.
“It’s easier because you’ve been around them a lot,” Shawver said. “The camaraderie is already there. It’s like a family.”
Shawver, who finished fourth last year, put on a display. Only Georgia Freestyle and Greco-Roman champ Jaxon Smith gave him a match, but Shawver eked out a 15-14 decision.
Shawver also teched Arkansas’ Rodney Phillips, Michigan State placer Brody Kemper and Iowa state placer Cody Anderson.
Maxx Mayfield, a Nebraska regional runner-up and state high school runner-up, is next.
“It makes me work harder because I want to do better than I did last year,” Shawver said. “If I lose, I have to work twice as hard to battle back. It gives me more motivation to work harder and get the best out of my potential.”
While Zuckerman, Aguilar, Avon’s Cale Saxton (94) and Avon resident and St. Edward student Bryce Hepner (126), all exited in Day 1, each won at least one match.
The quarterfinals begin at 10 a.m. and remaining Cadet Freestyle wrestlers will share the mats with the Junior Freestyle competitors. Josh Breeding (Elyria, 132), Cade Hepner (St. Edward/Avon, 160) and Trevor Begin (Midview, 182) will compete at that level.
Contact Brad Bournival at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.