Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
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Braden Ledford – Ottawa

The Who
Braden Ledford
Winfield, KS
2021

The Rundown
State Champ @ 113
Finalist @ 126

The Commit
Ottawa

“The connection I made with [head] Coach Colby Crank throughout my recruiting process was key. He always stayed on me, and we would have open conversations with each other. I always felt like I was wanted by him and his staff.

Also, their program is on the rise and getting better and better each year. I see that and want to come in and help the Braves continue that trend to be a top team in the nation year in and year out.

I’m really big on family, and ever since the first time I was on campus, I got a good feel for the family-atmosphere Ottawa had. I met some of the team when I was on my first visit, and each one of them introduced themselves and shook my hand. That was pretty cool.

Crank is a funny guy and laid-back but is someone that will be there to push me on and off the mat. I trust him and his staff in helping me level jump and make strides each year I’m there.”

The Others
Baker

The Division
“I felt a four-year school was a better option for me. I just didn’t feel like going to a two-year school and then getting up and leaving to a new school. I want to stay with that same team and see the development that my team and I will have through those four years.

I showed a little interest in D2 schools, but in the end, I felt like NAIA wrestling is super tough too.”

The Keys
“On the education side of things, I know I won’t be able to wrestle forever. Ottawa has a great education and will give me multiple opportunities after college.

I live in Winfield, and we are a smaller community, and I like the size of the town. Ottawa is similar and has a smaller campus where you can get from class to class really easily.

On the wrestling side of things, I was looking for a coach I would connect with, good facilities, and good partners to roll around with. I wanted to surround myself with people that have the same goals as myself.

I also love the direction Ottawa wrestling is going. I wanted to see a coach that is bought into his program and see the kids bought in. Ottawa has the coaches and kids bought in and will show soon enough. They have multiple nationally-ranked kids and will make some noise at the national tournament this year, no doubt.

Ultimately, the comfortability is what I was looking for and found at Ottawa. As a whole, I believed that Ottawa would give me the most opportunities.”

The Fit
“Someone who is going to stick to his business. Someone who will lead by example and attack every day as I would every competition. I will work hard in the classroom and on the mat. I’m always willing to learn in whatever way it may be to be better than I was the day before. I really take pride in being a kind, respectful young man.”

“Someone who is technical and is going to come after you. I feel my offense is my best part of my wrestling, and I will be using that to my benefit to gain riding time and work for four point near-falls. With some work with coaches and partners at Ottawa, I hope to be putting on a show during tournaments and duals.”

“Obviously not going to be handed to me or be an easy task, but I believe I can come in and compete for a spot at 133 from the get-go. I could see myself sprouting up to 141 later on in my college career, especially with being long and putting on muscle from a college strength program. As of right now, I expect myself to earn a spot on the team and to never settle because our team will have depth and push each other to be our best.”

The Now
“Just keeping everything consistent. Keeping my pace up on offense and not getting lazy every once in a while. I know that if I stay on the attack and get those takedowns, everything else will come. Also, working on my transitions on top and becoming better on top because you can score quick points with cheap tilts, turns, and riding time in college.”

“Taking it one match at a time and hopefully ending it with my 2nd state championship. That’s the goal! Grinding through those tough matches and putting the work in will show in the results. Knowing I went my hardest for that 6 minutes no matter the result will give me that satisfaction despite a win or loss.”

The Future
“I obviously want to stay on top of my education because I can’t wrestle forever. My individual goals for myself would be to come in and crack the starting lineup and work to become a National Champion. Obviously, some super high goals, but with my work ethic and determination, I believe I can achieve that.

I also want to continue to be a good person on and off the mat.

I can see this team achieving a lot throughout the next five years. I believe we are capable of having numerous All-Americans and National Champions. I believe we can be a top 5 team year in and year out, and the ultimate goal would be a team National Title. If others haven’t noticed what/who Ottawa Wrestling is, they will soon enough.”

“It would be awesome to have all the accolades after my career at Ottawa is complete, but what is most important to me would be being remembered for being a good person. My success will not be measured off of wins and losses, but how I respond to the bad days, the bad outcomes, and anything thrown my way because I know I will face adversity. So, if I stay true to myself and battle through those moments, I will proudly look back at my career no matter what happens and be proud.”

The Message
“If you’re looking for a team that is going to welcome you with open arms, that will be Ottawa. I’m not officially a part of the team yet, but I have seen first-hand the way Coach Crank is with his wrestlers and the bond that the whole team has. If you’re a competitive kid and like to win, that’s what this team is going to do. Ottawa is only going to keep getting better and better for years to come, and we all have the same goals.”

The Fun Fact
My freshman year, I wrestled 106 and was ranked like 4th all year, but the week of regionals, I got the flu and just slept in bed all week feeling terrible. I was the 2 seed. I tried to give it my best that weekend but was too weak.

I felt like I had failed everybody, and just watching the state tournament the next weekend, I knew I was good enough to place. Anyways, now I look back on it as a blessing because it motivated me going into my sophomore year, and I ended up winning a state championship.”

The Braves
NAIA School located in Ottawa, KS.

Finished in 37th place with 4 National Qualifiers for the 2020 National Tournament.

Class of 2021
Justin Darter – Bakersfield, CA
Angelo Reyes – Shawnee, OK

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2020 at 7:14 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.