Today's 5 Questions features Elkhorn Area wrestlers Nate Brunett of Jefferson High and Townsend’s Kyle Spritzer.
Brunett and Spritzer will partake in the Jefferson Mixer on Thursday in Boulder, and then two weeks later they will again compete for their respective schools at Townsend’s Mixer.
The two seniors were both standout football players, as well, and being close to the same weight, they have wrestled each other several times in the past, while maintaining a good friendship away from the mats.
Nate Brunett, who competes at 160-pounds, is a two-time division champion. He started out wrestling with the Little Guy Club for a couple years, before switching to basketball. But when he didn’t make JHS’ hoops team as a freshman, he returned to the mats.
After a tough frosh season against more experienced opponents, Brunett burst onto the grappling scene in a big way as a sophomore.
He captured the 2016 Southern B/C title before placing fourth at the All-Class Tournament in Billings. He finished with a 37-16 mark, and a new school season record of 35 pins.
Last year, Brunett (31-7, 26 pins) successfully retained his division crown. He owns a 15-4 mark this year with 12 pins, moving his record over the past 2½ seasons to 83-27 and 73 pins.
On the gridiron, Brunett was a two-time Class B all-state running back, while setting no less than five Panthers' rushing records, including 332 yards in a game, 1,332 season yards, 3,057 career yards, 22 season touchdowns and 44 career TDs. He was twice selected to the IR’s All-Area football team in 2016-17.
Barring the unforeseen, Brunett will graduate JHS with nine letters – four in wrestling, three in football and two in track.
Kyle Spritzer is the 170-pounder for the Bulldogs. He is a two-time State qualifier, and the Southern B/C Division’s titlist last season.
Spritzer went 27-13 as a junior, and stands at 23-4 this season with 14 pins, while lifting his mark over the past 2½ seasons to 71-33.
Earlier this year, he went 7-0 during the Whitehall Duals.
In football, at running back and defensive back, he was chosen to the all-conference teams each of the last two seasons. On offense carrying the pigskin, Spritzer compiled a two-year total of 1,582 yards rushing with 17 TDs.
Spritzer is on pace to graduate with eight letters; four in football, three in wrestling and one in track.
1. Who has had the most influence on your athletics, and how so?
Brunett: My peers – guys like (current UM gridder) Trase LeTexier, Nick Winfield and Jered Padmos. I lifted weights around LeTexier, I looked up to the big guys and worked my butt off to get stronger.
Spritzer: My older brothers, Nick and Zach Spritzer. They both wrestled and played football, those two sports run in my family.
2. What are some of your favorite hobbies away from the sporting arena, any summer activities?
Spritzer: Reading is my favorite hobby, just anything that catches my eye and looks like a cool story. In the summertime I hang out with friends and cruise around, spending weekends together.
Brunett: I like to chase elk around and do some trapping. In the summers I travel a lot and explore different places, and do outdoorsy stuff like hiking for a breather. And I work in the summer, doing pickup jobs, ranchwork, Clancy Elementary school, roofing.
3. What is it about wrestling you enjoy most?
Brunett: I’ve just really grown to like wrestling, even though it can be a grind at times. And the coaches have helped me learn to enjoy it.
Spritzer: I like traveling team with, and spending weekends with, guys that become your brothers.
4. What is your GPA, who’s your favorite teacher, and what’s your favorite subject in the classroom?
Spritzer: 3.55 GPA, (wrestling coach) Mr. O’Dell, and History class with Mr. Hamilton.
Brunett: I’ve got a 2.9 GPA, Miss Williams who teaches chemistry, and my favorite class is government. I like current events.
5. What is your strength on the mat: on your feet for takedowns, on top riding or pinning, or on bottom for escapes or reversals?
Brunett: I’d say my strong point is my will power off the bottom to get up; my attitude is “Hey, this guy’s on top and I need to get outta here.” On my feet, the best defense is a good offense, and as for pins, I just got tired of losing as a freshman, and became determined to turn people.
Spritzer: I think I'm better on my feet, I like to play defensively more than most wrestlers I’ve seen.