On the surface, it might seem that Chapin’s Hank Manos and Lexington’s Jacob Brasseur don’t have much in common.
Manos stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs about 280 pounds, while Brasseur stands about a foot shorter and weighs around 113 pounds. But despite the contrast in size, the two juniors have plenty in common. Each has a love for wrestling and this year they are both state champions.
Manos won the 285-pound title in Class 4A, while Brasseur was the Class 5A, 113-pound champion. The two are The State’s co-Wrestlers of the Year.
“It is amazing. I have been working toward this since I was a little kid through our youth camp,” Manos said. “All the training, practices as a team and the individual stuff outside of football, lifting weights. It is kind of amazing looking back to say I did it, I was a state champion.”
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Brasseur’s title came after two years of close calls at the state tournament. He finished third as a freshman and was runner-up last year. But there was no denying him this year. He was ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in his class by SCMat for much of the year and defeated No. 2 Drew Thomas from Boiling Springs, 9-2, in the title match.
“It was a big relief,” Brasseur said. “Everything you did thewhole season doesn’t matter until you get to that (championship) weekend. But to know it came together, it is a big relief.
“I knew once I would get there that I put the work in that I knew I could do it. I had been there before and knew what it was it like to perform in front of the crowd.”
Both Manos and Brasseur began wrestling during elementary school. Manos, a Division I prospect in football who has an offer from USC among others, was looking for a sport to complement his first love – football. It didn’t take him long to develop a fondness for his second sport and has been a big part of the Chapin wrestling program, which finished runner-up in the Class 4A team state championship.
Manos was ranked No. 1 in Class 4A for much of the year and finished the year 40-0.
“I found wrestling and it and football work well together, compliments each other. I fell in love with the sport,” Manos said. “When I was younger and at first couple days of practice, I met coach Wilson (Chapin coach) and met some of the high school wrestlers. And it is has been great to be a part of the program.”
Brasseur started because of his friends in Cub Scouts wrestled. He tried other sports but they never stuck. He has been dominant since he started wrestling for the Wildcats, compiling a 157-7 mark in his high school career, including 52-1 this season.
Brasseur also is a huge fan of the sport, studying college wrestlers when he is training or traveling with his high school or travel wrestling team.
“Wrestling is fun and something a lot of people can’t do,” Brasseur said. “It’s a team sport but it is all you on the mat. You could travel and get all the coaching but when you step on the mat, it’s all you. You can’t put the blame on anyone else, your teammate or coaching. I like that because it makes you take responsibility for how you live on and off the mat and how you practice. It makes you want to do everything right.”
A look at The State’s co-wrestlers of the year:
High school: Lexington
Weight class: 113
High school: Chapin
Weight class: Heavyweight