Four Faces: Brion starts wrestling season looking for comeback


Photo courtesy of Karen Brion.

Lauren Riazzi, Deputy Sports Editor

This previously ran in our December 2021 print issue.

Jack Brion has been working throughout middle school and high school to perform well on the mat as a wrestler, and this season he is looking for a comeback. 

With a lack of varsity experience coming into high school, Brion’s last three years as a wrestler have been nothing short of challenging.

“I kind of got hammered with a lot of really good wrestlers my freshman and sophomore year. I didn’t really have a great record,” Brion said. “And then junior year I came out, and I was looking to prove myself.” 

But similarly to everything else, COVID threw a wrench in his plans.

“Then COVID happened, and I didn’t really get a chance to prove myself. So this is like my comeback year, senior year.”

Despite all of the challenges Brion has faced, his dad has always been there supporting him every step of the way.

“When no one else really, like, believed in me . . .  it was kind of like, ‘oh, boy, here comes Jack, [he] is going to go out and lose again.’ The only person that really believed in me, I felt like, was my dad,” said Brion.

“I would come home after losing and he’d be like, ‘You know, I think you could be a state champion’ and say all this stuff to me,” Brion said. “So it really helped me get through some times where, honestly, I wanted to quit at points. And he just kind of helped me through that.”

Brion has worked diligently over the last few months to ensure that he is ready to dominate the 172 lb weight class this season.

“I’ve been putting a lot of work in like the gym and offseason wrestling, practicing and everything like that,” said Brion. “So I hope that, you know, this year . . . all the hard work [will] pay off and show people that I can actually perform.”

On top of looking forward to proving himself this season, Brion is also expected to expand on the leadership skills he has been exhibiting since day one at Emmaus High School wrestling.

“Jack has been a leader since he’s got into high school, and he was a leader by example his first couple years. And the example he set was hard work, stay quiet, do what you’re told, and anytime there’s extra to be done do the extra,” said wrestling coach Thad Smith.  

“As a junior, he started becoming a more vocal leader and working with some of the younger guys, and as a senior I expect him to be one of those vocal leaders. And I also expect him to be a leader out of the wrestling room.”

Smith has worked with Brion throughout his high school career and has watched him change as a wrestler. 

“Jack’s biggest struggle, I think, would be he never wrestled varsity until high school. And he had to learn what it was about to be a varsity wrestler and he’s wrestled varsity every year in high school. So what happened is I saw Jack really changed when he hit high school, he matured, both physically, and I think he matured as a wrestler. ”

Following his senior year, Brion is looking forward to all that is yet to come. 

“I haven’t gotten any letters back, [but] I’d like to go to Appalachian State as my first choice. If possible, I’d like to wrestle there, so I’m not sure, you know, we’ll see. But then I’m planning on doing ROTC while I’m there. And then after college, I graduate with a degree in Exercise Science or kinesiology . . . and then go into the military right after college.”

Brion has experienced plenty of challenges throughout his wrestling career, but he has witnessed firsthand how hard work pays off in the long run and advises others to do the same.

“Don’t give up, especially, coming from me and my situation; there were plenty of times that I wanted to give up and quit when people didn’t believe in me – I didn’t believe in myself – but if you keep putting the work in and you keep grinding, you can get there, accomplish anything you want.”