Tuckerton-Little Egg Harbor Leader Winter Sports Previews

Pinelands’ Travis Brown Taking Wrestling to Next Level

By David Biggy | Dec 06, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy

Little Egg Harbor — After his sophomore season, during which he went 14-16, Travis Brown decided it was time to get serious about wrestling at Pinelands Regional High School.

“It was just a matter of putting in the time and work to get better,” Brown said before a recent practice. “So I decided to join a wrestling club, and I started putting in the work to make myself a better wrestler.”

Last season, Brown finished second at 132 pounds during the NJSIAA District 29 tournament, then got bounced from the Region VIII tourney short of making it to the medals podium, finishing his junior season 24-9. Still, he went to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall – as he had been since eighth grade – to watch the state championship tourney.

“Sitting there watching some of the other guys he knows,Travis has probably realized by now that he’s not too far off,” said Pinelands coach Joe Adelizzi. “That’s the place he can realize, ‘Oh, there’s this guy I know and I’m just as good as he is,’ or ‘I’ve wrestled that guy and he’s just a little better.’ And it gives him a good perspective of what it will take for him to reach that level, to get to Atlantic City.”

That is the goal for the Wildcats senior – a place in the state finals.

“That’s definitely what I’m aiming for,” Brown said. “I’ve been training twice a week at Shore Thing during the offseason, working a lot more on my neutral-position offense, at attacking more. I have to become more consistent on offense.

“In past years, I was much more of a defensive wrestler, and I’d wrestle defensively from neutral. I’d wait for the other guy to get in and look to counter or get a reversal if he got the takedown. In a lot of my matches against good wrestlers, I got taken down and had to work my way back into the match. I have to stop doing that. I have to take control of matches, be more aggressive and get that first takedown. I have to start getting more points earlier.”

Unfortunately for Brown, the Wildcats may be a struggling team this winter, which means some teams may choose to duck him when his 138-pound weight class arrives. That will mean Travis has to make his matches count for something when he steps on the mat.

“He’s definitely a guy who needs to lead this season,” Adelizzi said. “Last year, we had enough seniors on the team that he was able to fly under the radar. But this year, the whole dynamic of our team has changed, so we need him to lead the way and get the younger kids to do what he’s done the past few years. He’s not a rah-rah kind of guy, but he is a good lead-by-example type of wrestler. He drills hard and works hard. He presents a good example to younger guys, and when he gets out there, these guys will be watching to see what he does.”

Brown is OK with that role, too.

“I’m ready to embrace that leadership role,” he said. “I’m one of the few seniors on the team, so it’s important to be a leader, and I’m going to do whatever I can to motivate the rest of the guys to be better wrestlers.”

Of course, at 138 – or somewhere in that vicinity within the lineup – Travis should have plenty of solid competition. It’s typically a loaded weight class. But Adelizzi has no doubt the senior can excite the rest of the squad.

“For Travis, I think a lot of it comes down to confidence,” he said. “Last year, he was competitive throughout the season against tougher guys, so I think he’s good enough to win against just about anybody. I think now he believes that, too. It’s mostly about his mindset. Will he make that extra step to stay in attack position for a full six minutes and take that shot when he needs to get it. Last season, he turned the corner with his confidence, becoming more confident in himself. He’s on the trajectory of where he needs to be. Now, he just has to remember that he can win at that higher level.”

Brown said he’s been working a lot on his leg attacks and tilts, as well as trying to perfect his single-leg and high-crotch takedowns. He’s ready to take the next rung on the ladder.

“I’ll be doing a lot of conditioning to get myself into wrestling shape during the next few weeks,” he said. “But I’ll be ready. The road to Atlantic City starts then.”

— David Biggy


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