Bryce Brill is on pace to win his third state title and finish unbeaten for the second straight season.
But don’t think the Mount Carmel senior’s only passion is wrestling.
There’s also ice cream. And movies.
“Honestly, I could sit at home for a full day, watch six movies and be perfectly happy,” Brill said. “People think people who have success at the sport, all they do is think, eat, breathe wrestling.
“That’s kind of true to a certain extent. But everybody loves their time to get away from it, just go out and have fun.”
That’s where the cookie dough ice cream and Brill’s Netflix subscription comes in. But he also has a pretty good time on the mat, where he’s arguably the state’s most dominant wrestler.
The Northwestern recruit is 167-5 for his high school career heading into Saturday’s Catholic League tournament at Mount Carmel. He has reached three IHSA state championship matches, winning two of them: Class 2A 135 pounds as a freshman at Marmion, 3A 145 as a junior last winter for the Caravan.
His only career loss in the state series couldn’t have been closer: 3-2 on an overtime ultimate tiebreaker to Stagg’s Kevin Moylan in the Class 3A final in 2012 for Mount Carmel. Since then, Brill has an 83-match winning streak that shows no sign of ending.
Keeping that going, though, is not his main focus.
“Honestly, it’s not important at all,” Brill said of the streak. “Everybody loses. So … if you lose, you use it as a learning experience.”
In other words, he’s more concerned with the process than the results.
“It’s been the same as long as I can remember,” he said. “Go into the match looking to score as many points as possible. If you do that, winning and losing is going to take care of itself.”
And Brill looks at each bout not as an opportunity to set a record for fastest fall, but to put what he’s working on in practice to good use.
“I try to score a decent amount of points [then] try to pin him after a little while,” Brill said. “I feel if you go in and pin him in 10 seconds, you didn’t really work on anything.”
And Brill is always working on something, it seems. “He’s fearless in his coachability,” said Caravan coach John Kading, who began instructing Brill more than 10 years ago in club wrestling. “You can show him something and he’ll try to implement it immediately.”
Kading appreciates the example Brill sets for his teammates.
“He brings to the table someone guys can look up to,” the coach said. “He’s not that guy that stands in the corner and it just comes naturally. He’s such a tenacious worker.”
Of course, he pretty much has to grind away, in order to work off the effects of that ice cream.