Ten years ago there wasn’t a wrestling room at Marmion Academy (No. 20 in the Nation). There were no tournament plaques, no pictures of state champions, and no old chalkboard that lists the day’s schedule.
It was just a room.
However, Dean Branstetter changed all that. Branstetter, a former head wrestling coach for high schools in Indiana and Michigan, started the Marmion program that is currently ranked No. 3 by the Chicago Sun-Times in Class 2A.
While nine years is a relatively short time to come from nothing to a force to be reckoned with, Branstetter tells people that it wasn’t as easy as it seems. Not too long ago, Marmion was the team that was getting blanked by opponents.
“I knew I had to make sure our kids were successful to start. There were only two wrestling classes then and we were in
AA. I made sure we wrestled a primarily A schedule and refused to change from that,” he said. “We then got Nico Jimenez and Pat Greco and that changed things. Both were successful and both won matches and that opened the door for some of the wrestlers today.
“I knew we had to be good in order for good kids to come. But that’s difficult and a Catch-22 for a coach. When we got those kids, things started to move forward for us.”