Losing can be an incredible motivating factor.

Losing can be an incredible motivating factor.

For example, take Pittsburg heavyweight wrestler Broc Bennett. Ranked near the best all season in Class 5A his junior year, Bennett felt like he dropped the ball in the state tournament.

“I ended up getting fifth and it was very disappointing,” Bennett said. “I let my coach (Scott Rieck) down a little bit. He expected a little more out of me. I started working out more and started doing summer wrestling for the first time ever in my junior year, going to Junior Nationals at Oklahoma City and just getting a little more mat time in. I did more to get myself ready for the upcoming high school year.”

That hard work paid off for Bennett during his senior year. He won his first state title with a 3-1 overtime decision over Bo Lanning of McPherson — Bennett said that he felt a lot better after wrestling a single overtime rather than his four-overtime semifinal win against Caleb King of KC Piper. Granted, he was state champion after that single overtime.

The heavyweight champion said the magnitude of his accompishment did not sink in until he was standing on the podium to accept his medal.

“It was something I worked for for a long time so it was definitely worth all the work,” Bennett said.

After the switch in classification from 5A to 4A, Pittsburg wrestled at the Bicentennial Center (7,583 capacity) in Salina rather than Hartman Arena (5,000) in Park City, a suburb of Wichita. Hartman Arena currently hosts 6A and 5A, the largest high schools in the state.

“Being at a different classification, there was only one classification there and in previous years, we always had two classifications wrestling at the arena,” Bennett said. “Just having one classification it was more spacious and a little bit more relaxed. I liked that a lot.”

In 2010, Pittsburg and other schools wrestled at the Intrust Bank Arena, a 15,004-seat arena in Wichita.

Bennett and his senior classmates made history for Pittsburg wrestling — back-to-back league titles (first and second in school history), the school’s first regional title and the school’s two best finishes at state, fifth in 2011 and fourth in 2012.

“With our senior group, we had seven seniors and all of us are real close,” Bennett said. “We brought everybody in and became a very close team. We just worked well together.”

Rieck won Class 4A Wrestling Coach of the Year, Seybold won Regional Wrestler of the Year and Pittsburg finished with two state champions, tied with Baldwin, Colby and Ulysses for most state champions in 4A.

“He's definitely a soft-spoken guy,” Bennett said of Rieck. “He makes you work hard but he's worked hard his whole life. He's one of the nicest guys I know and he just gives you a good peace of mind. If you can make him feel good about you, you've definitely done something good.”

Bennett joined his older brother, Beau, as state heavyweight champions — Beau won a 5A state title in 2010 and now wrestles at Baker University, a NAIA school located in Baldwin City.

“Mr. and Mrs. Bennett (Richard and Marilyn) have two state champions in their house now,” Rieck said. “They have two heavyweight brackets hanging in their house and we've never had brothers. Even the Koehns, all three of them were state finalists but only one of them had ever won it. Now, both Bennett brothers are state champions so we've done something for the first time.”

Bennett said that he began wrestling at the age of 9 or 10 and that he’s not given up on wrestling at the collegiate level.