Wrestler Dusty Branom heads to National:
credits coach, teammates, God
by Norm Miller
LAURINGBURG, N. Car. (TMCNews)--Wrestling in the 174-pound weight class, Truett-McConnell College student-athlete Dustin Branom placed 4th at the National Qualifying Group Tournament East Regionals Feb. 16 in Laurinburg, N. Car.
Earning 4th place also gained Branom a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships, slated for March 1-2 in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I was amazed to realize I had qualified for the Nationals,” Branom told TMCNews. “I’ve had a pretty good year of wrestling (25-19) and that was like putting the icing on it all.”
Branom set a personal goal of competing at the national level during his college career. “And to think I accomplished that as a sophomore -- what a huge confidence booster,” he said.
Head wrestling coach Jim Bailey said, “Dustin is our team captain. He’s a hard worker, our leading scorer, and he holds the most wins on the team. In fact, he is only two wins away from breaking our schools record.”
Bailey added that he is “pleased to have Dustin on our squad. He has been a significant cohesive factor for us.”
“I have enjoyed wrestling at Truett-McConnell,” Branom added, “and I deeply respect Coach Bailey for what he is doing with not just the wrestling program, but to help us in our spiritual lives.”
Truett-McConnell’s athletic director, Dr. Stacy Hall, said, “We’re proud of Dustin in his accomplishments, and we wish him success at the Nationals.”
Hall continued, saying, Branom is an example of how Truett-McConnell “continues to invest in building champions not only in the current sports realm but in preparing them for their future endeavors.”
“The lessons that Dustin and all our student-athletes learn while striving for excellence in the sports arena will be what carries them successfully through the challenges of life well after the cheering fades and the applause falls silent,” Hall said.
Branom credits those who have helped him, saying, “I really don’t think I would have made it this far without such great practice partners, a great coach, and most of all, a God who controls the outcome of everything.”