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Panther Alumni Spotlight: Brandon Palik

Saucon Valley alumnus and wrestling team standout Brandon Palik is now making a name for himself as a wrestler for Drexel.

Brandon Palik graduated from in 2009. He is currently a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he wrestles for the Dragons at 197 under head coach Matt Azevedo.

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 197
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Major: Business Administration/Marketing

Panther Wrestling Career Highlights:

Brandon won the 2009 district, regional and state championships in his senior year at Saucon Valley. He also won the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) National Championship as a sophomore and placed fourth at the junior freestyle national championship. In 2009, when he won the state championship and became the first Saucon Valley wrestler to do so since 1986, Brandon was honored by Hellertown mayor for his achievements with a "Brandon Palik Week."

Wrestling Career, Post-Saucon Valley: 

2009-10: Redshirted.

2010-11: Brandon had an impressive season at 197 pounds, going 20-11 overall with a .610 win percentage. He was second on his team, recorded two major decisions and recorded a team high six pins during the season. He placed eighth at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas and was 5-4 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season matches, earning CAA Rookie of the Week honors on two occasions.

2011-12: 

At the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas on Dec. 2-3, Brandon placed 6th, moving up two places from his 2011 finish.

On a recent visit home, Brandon was quick to praise Panther  and weightlifting coach Ben Chunko for preparing him to wrestle at the collegiate level. He said his athletic development at SVHS helped make the "collegiate wrestling learning curve" less drastic for him. He also explained that he redshirted as a freshman because the Dragons already had a 197-pound wrestler, and although he was not able to wrestle in any of Drexel's dual matches, he was quite active (21-7) in open tournament competition. That competition involved other redshirted wrestlers from many schools--not just CAA schools.

During that redshirt year (2009-2010), Brandon said he was concentrating on slowing matches by pacing himself and employing basic techniques, while maintaining good position and looking for the opportunity to score points rather than attempting "to muscle an opponent or use some crazy, risky move that could only work in high school." He explained that most collegiate wrestlers are so well-disciplined that it is unlikely a risky move that may have worked in high school would work at the collegiate level.

The 2009 Saucon Valley grad said he stays in touch with current Panther wrestlers and takes every opportunity to visit and share information he has gained; information that might enable them to become not only better wrestlers, but also better individuals. It is exciting, he added, to know that they apply what he suggests. "They can be great, if they want to be," Brandon said of the current high school team.

He stressed that it is also important for high school wrestlers to realize that "they are representing their team, school, parents and coaches, so character or how one acts is so important, because you never know who will be watching. Life is full of choices, and it is important to select the best ones."

Reflecting on his past, Brandon recalled that he decided as a ninth-grader to abandon football, baseball and soccer in order to concentrate on wrestling. He did this, he said, because he felt he could do something great as a wrestler. He expressed his appreciation to his parents, Robert and Diane Palik, who enabled him to have the opportunities to excel in his chosen sport. They were and are, whenever possible, at his matches to provide both moral and vocal support, he said.

Brandon is not one to be glued to the TV or computer, but rather he enjoys many diverse activities such as photography, gardening and hiking, in addition to his athletic pursuits.

"There is so much to gain from experiencing the world around you," he observed.

Richard Hafner March 08, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Brandon will be wrestling the #1 seed in the country at the nationals.

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