In the sport of wrestling, changing weights often comes with the territory. Whether that has been cutting down, or bumping up, Gophers junior wrestler Brandon Krone has simply made it happen, winning matches at 165, 174, 184 and 197-pounds throughout his nearly four years in a Maroon and Gold singlet.
At four years old, his father, who is also named Brandon, introduced Krone to the sport of wrestling. Krone says his father always supported him in all sports he participated in, but wrestling was something his siblings and cousins all did and it’s what inspired the commitment to the sport.
“I had family members they were pretty good at wrestling. Some actually went to Augsburg to wrestle. That’s kind of why my Dad found the inspiration to get me involved in wrestling,” explained Krone. “I started when I was four years old. I played other sports in high school, but wrestling was something I just kept coming back to. It was something where my brother, my Dad and I could all do together every weekend.”
“I always wanted to go here. I actually didn’t think to wrestle right away, I had considered going into the Navy Seals. I ended up talking to [Jayson] Ness at Freestyle-Greco State my senior year of high school,” Krone said. “He asked me what my plans were, and he suggested I come talk to the coaches here at the ‘U’. I knew I always wanted to wrestle more, but at that point, no one had reached out to me yet, so I hadn’t considered it.”
Krone arrived on campus in 2014, and was redshirted along with most of the incoming freshman class. Krone said early on, wrestling at the college level was tough as he began 0-4 during his redshirt season, but he responded, finishing the rest of the season 14-1 and claiming two dual crowns at 165-pounds, which was his original weight class was coming in.
“My redshirt year, it really was pretty tough,” Krone said. “Our class was pretty large, and I think they wanted to see who would be mentally tough to get through really tough workouts, like being up at 5:00 a.m. and insane circuits and all of this stuff. That year really set me up mentally, and set me up to be able to handle anything after that.”
After making it through his redshirt season, Krone was given the opportunity at 165-pounds his first year of eligibility. Krone wrestled for the Gophers at the Big Ten Championships in 2016, but quickly was defeated, finishing 0-2 at 165-pounds.
“I wrestled 165 that season. It really was awesome, and honestly a ton of fun,” explained Krone. “I was able to travel and it got my foot in the door with everyone in the program. I knew a lot of people thought I wasn’t going to wrestle here, but I knew where I was at in the room and that’s all that mattered.”
In his redshirt sophomore season, Krone was beat out by a teammate at the Southern Scuffle, which ultimetly put him on the outside looking in of the starting lineup.
“I really focused on school my redshirt sophomore season,” Krone said. “I had an opportunity at the Scuffle, but it didn’t go how I wanted it to. It wasn’t all bad though, I got to train all year, and really focus on myself.”
Then came this season, Krone’s junior campaign. Krone began the season with an appearance at 174-pounds at the Daktronics Open, but Krone quickly realized he wasn’t where he needed, or wanted, to be.
“I started at 174 this year, and I really didn’t have my weight how I wanted it at the beginning of the year,” Krone explained. “I didn’t realize until now how much better I’d wrestle if I wasn’t cutting as much weight. I remembered that when I wrestled at the Daktronics, I would have about a minute of gas, and I’d wrestle as hard as I could, but past that minute I just had to scramble and stall, because I had to survive. I remember I sat down with Eggum at the tournament and I got a little emotional because I wasn’t where I wanted to be on the mat.”
Krone began getting his weight under control, eating better and maintaining a healthy weight before competition. His next opportunity came at the South Beach Duals in extra matches. Krone made quick work of his opponents at 174-pounds, outscoring them 36-6, earning two tech falls.
Unfortunately, the Gophers as a team had been ravished by injuries, which thrusted Krone into the starting lineup starting against Michigan on Jan. 21. Krone would have to provide a spark for the Gophers at 197-pounds after weighing in at approximately 182-pounds. Krone put up a battle though, falling 4-3 to his near 15-pounds heavier opponent.
Krone continued to wrestle at 197-pounds for the Golden Gophers, and began with an 0-2 record. He finally pulled through in his third match at the weight, displaying one of the most interesting moves of the season, a banana split, in the waning seconds to give him the victory.
Five days later, Krone was asked once again to make a change for the Gophers. He weighed in for a bout at 184-pounds against No. 20 Mitch Bowman of Iowa, and Krone delivered. He majored Bowman 12-2 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the first ranked victory of his career at any weight.
“At 184-pounds, I feel really comfortable there and confident,” Krone said.
Krone will represent Minnesota in the 184-pound bracket at the Big Ten Tournament on March 3-4, two years after he made his first appearance at 165-pounds. Krone says his mentality going into the match is simple, stick to what has gotten him this far.
“My mentality with the Big Ten Tournament coming up is just what it always is, and that is to tell myself that I can wrestle with anyone,” said Krone. “I just am going to get myself ready for each match like I always have, and when it is time to go to war, I’ll be ready to go out and win. I know I’m going to be seen as an underdog going into the Big Ten Tournament, but I’m just going to have to go out there and prove that I can beat anyone.”
The University of Minnesota will travel to East Lansing for the Big Ten Tournament on March 3-4. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss any content the entire postseason.