LEWIS CENTER, Ohio — WVU Tech’s freshman wrestler Brannon King recently participated in the Ninth Annual Wrestle Against Autism (WAA) tournament at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. This year, the tournament had approximately 370 participants with ages ranging from 5-60 years. King, a graduate of Vandalia-Butler High School, finished third overall in the high school/college/open (ages 17-29) division at 145 pounds.
Wrestle Against Autism, which began in 2008, partnered with The Ethan Foundation for Autism during the volunteer-run event this year. WAA was started by a group of high school officials in Ohio who were looking to give back to the community. The Ethan Foundation provides support, education and other resources for families dealing with the challenges of autism. The funds earned during the tournament are used to help families in need who have reached out to the Ethan Foundation.
King, who has dealt with autism his whole life, came to WVU Tech to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering while continuing to participate in the sport he loves. He said WVU Tech was the best fit overall because of the small campus environment and it had the degree he was looking for. The Butler High School graduate (2015) ultimately hopes to attend grad school at either the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to study nanoengineering.
The Golden Bear wrestler has a support system to help him in his pursuits in the way of family and friends. During the school year, King’s mother, Lou Young, lives with King in off-campus housing in the town of Montgomery. At the WAA tournament, as they have in past years, students from King’s high school and his former coach, Mark Peck, participated in the event to show their support for King and for all those who wrestle with autism daily.
King has participated in the WAA tournament the past three years. The Vandalia, Ohio native scored a fall over Scott Goffin, Jr. (Disabato Wrestling) at 5:20 in round one towards his third place finish on April 24. In the third round, King won by an opponent injury while falling in his final two bouts (4-0 and 6-2).
This summer, King continues to make himself better on the mat by participating in tournaments across Ohio. He recently participated in the USA Wrestling Ohio State Championships where he finished first in Freestyle and Greco-Roman at his weight class (142 pounds). King wrestled four opponents in each style during the championship, scoring a fall at 2:17 in the Greco finals and winning by a 13-0 decision in the Freestyle finals.
He said participating in the state championships was a valuable opportunity.
“It was important to me because I got to see a lot of people that know me, including my Ohio Fargo National (Team Ohio) teammates and good friends, and to also help me train for University Nationals in Akron,” he said.
Next up for King is a run for a national title at the Asics UWW University Nationals held June 2-5 in Ohio. King will wrestle in the 134 pound weight class at the Stile Fieldhouse at The University of Akron. That event will host over 1,200 athletes competing for spots on US National teams in Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling.