By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year Cole (14) and Corbyn (17) Munson both came within one match of a state title. Cole only lost two matches, both to the state champion and both by one point. Corbyn finished his junior year as the runner-up in the 125 lb. weight class.
In early March Corbyn capped off an undefeated season with an 11-6 victory over Avry Mutschler of Lowell for the Division 2 135 lb. State title and just a couple weeks later, Cole won a state title as an eighth-grader at Beach Middle School in Chelsea
After Cole’s opponent, who had beat him twice last year, moved down a weight class, Cole moved up a class and dominated. His closest match was in the semi-finals when the first, second and third seeds were in the bottom side of the bracket. Cole, the one seed, took down the number two and three seeds before pinning his opponent in the championship.
The State titles for the Munson brothers come after many hours spent perfecting their craft.
“Corbyn practices four hours a day, six days a week. Cole practices two hours a day three to four days a week,” said their dad Chris. “They’ve been all across the nation, Corbyn probably wrestles 300 matches in a year and Cole probably 200. We wrestle 12 months a year, we practice all year. That’s what it takes to be a champion nowadays.”
Chris credited modern day advancements in helping with opportunities around the country to compete, he knew that if the boys wanted to be champions they would have to wrestle all year. The local wrestling scene at a high school level only lasts about six months whereas the national scene goes longer, and even though they were handed many losses when they began because of the experience discrepancy, it was for the good long term.
“The reason we went on the national scene is because I knew that’s what it would take to make them champions in the short time they had,” said Chris. “Because most of these national kids start wrestling at 4-5 years old and they’re 16 years old so they’ve got 12 years experience, where Cole and Corbyn have less than that but work twice as hard, it’s all about hard work in wrestling. The kid that works the hardest knows he’s worked the hardest and believes that in his head, he’ll beat that kid.
Both brothers only started wrestling five years ago after their father had been trying to get them involved for years. Cole finally relented and after two practices and a tournament, Corbyn signed up to wrestle too. They also both played other sports growing up but five years ago Chris was able to convince the boys to get involved with the Dexter Youth Wrestling program because Chelsea didn’t have one at the time. Corbyn began focusing solely on wrestling and Cole stuck with the sport as well.
After a year they transferred to the Manchester Youth Wrestling Program and that’s where they competed until Corbyn went to high school and Cole won his championship
Chris has noticed that wrestling has helped shape his sons off the mat too, describing losing as a teaching point.
After last year’s losses Cole took a couple months off to regain mentally and then came back for the middle school season and beat an opponent who had defeated the state champion he had lost to the prior year.
Chris said that was almost a switch for him and Cole has been on a mission since, losing only two matches, one in middle school and one in the offseason circuit, in about 80-90 matches.
For Corbyn, he spent the “offseason” placing at some of the toughest competitions on the national circuit to place him in the top 8-12 in the nation. After receiving a scholarship offer from Central Michigan University before the season began, all the pressure was off before the high school season started and he rolled to an undefeated 54-0 senior season capped off by the state title.
“After the loss, Corbyn got serious because once he made it that far he knew he could win the state championship the next year,” said Chris.
A competitive relationship between the brothers has always helped fuel their success on the mat according to Chris.
“Cole always wants to beat Corbyn. Anything Corbyn’s done, like Corbyn won a high school state championship, now Cole wants two,” said Chris. “Corbyn was a two-time placer, Cole wants to be a four-time placer. He wants to outdo everything. Corbyn has two Nuway National wins, a national tournament where they give you a big huge eagle trophy, Corbyn has two. Cole went there last year and beat three state champs in one day to win the trophy.”
Chris said that the wins were a family win from his wife, Kori, and him driving their children to countless practices to immediate family watching the home and pets while they were away at tournaments. After seeing his sons know that they were so close to reaching the top last year and then this year to see them emerge victoriously, he saw the same thing in both sons after their wins.
“Pure joy,” said Chris. “We knew we were expecting to finish, when they won, it was just pure joy. I mean Corbyn probably had 80-100 people at Ford Field and Cole probably had 40-50 of our friends and family there and when they won the crowd erupted. It was awesome. Dream come true, a lifelong dream of mine, they fulfilled, pretty cool.”
Photos provided by Kori Munson