Words like stingy and stubborn are not the most flattering words when describing a person.
In the world of wrestling, however, Atlie Danielson wears those descriptions with pride. Throw in gritty as well, which is the word Brainerd Warriors head wrestling coach Mikky White kept using when describing his senior 138 pounder.
“Last week, is exactly what Atlie is,” White said. “He can wrestle with anybody. We call him stingy. He’s gritty and stingy and he’s stubborn. He’s hard to score on and he’s just always in the match. If you look back on a lot of his matches, yes, he’s got some pins here and there, but it’s mostly close decisions. He’s just a guy who is always winning matches regardless of the level of the other kid he’s wrestling. He’s beaten good kids.”
Danielson finished last week 7-0. That included a pin and two forfeits, but the rest were 6-minute long, close matches he continued to come out on top of.
In Brainerd’s 43-27 victory over Frazee to start Saturday, Jan. 11’s second day of the Rick Lee Duals in Bemidji, Danielson scored a 3-2 decision over Kaden Hiemenz.
Danielson collected a 5-2 decision over Badger-Greenbush-Middle River’s Garrett Undebeg helping Brainerd to a 41-30 victory.
Brainerd defeated Pierz 46-23 with Danielson collecting six points by forfeit.
During Day One competition, Danielson posted a 7-6 decision over Big Lake’s Dillon Browen. He earned a 9-1 major decision over United North Central’s Hank Tellers and topped his tournament with a 4:13 pin of Clint Andresen of Detroit Lakes.
“The third period is about stamina and having the conditioning to finish up the match,” Danielson said. “I would say I’m a little stingy. When guys try to shoot on me, I will do anything within my power to keep them from scoring points on me. I’ll do some weird scrambling and work my way out of any situation.”
Danielson opened his week in easy fashion with a forfeit victory over Central Lakes Conference foe Fergus Falls. His seven victories last week improved his season record to 24-3 and his career record to 77-19.
For Danielson, it’s the extra work that helps him win close matches. He and a few teammates started hanging out after Brainerd’s official practices to run sprints and do push-ups and pull-ups. That small starter group morphed into 12 to 15 Warriors doing the extra little things to stay fit and remain strong into the fifth minute of matches. Danielson also works out Sundays at Takedown Gym in Brainerd with Eric Kramer.
“It’s huge and you can tell,” White said. “He looks in shape and that’s a big part of what is winning him matches, too. He’s still strong in the third period. He can still take and finish shots and he’ll defend shots in the third period and be in good position the whole time. You see people that wear out in the third period. They’ll be really good wrestlers in the first and second periods and then all of a sudden in the third period they start to wear out. You don’t see that in Atlie.”
That extra motivation and dedication could stem from last year’s disappointing end to his junior season. Danielson was 28-7 heading into last year’s Section 8-3A tournament. He was one of the favorites to advance through his bracket and qualify for his first state wrestling tournament.
The weekend before, while working to cut weight, Danielson was playing soccer and broke his ankle and missed the postseason.
“It was extremely disappointing last year because we had a really great team with some really great seniors,” Danielson said. “I was having a great season and it pushed me this year to give it everything I’ve got because this is my very last year. The opportunity was taken away from me last year so I’m truly taking advantage of every last match that I’ve got and really enjoy my senior year.”
Danielson’s main goal is to make it to state. He also wanted to win Brainerd’s Paul Bunyan Invite for a third straight season. He was one win away from doing that, but fell to a Bemidji wrestler. Chances are Danielson could see that same wrestler again in the section tournament. This time, he said, he’ll be better prepared.
Another of Danielson’s goals is to stay under six losses for the season. His team goal is to see his teammates gel and really work and compete as a team. He said he’s not concerned about the results of the team, but the camaraderie of his teammates.
That mentality is why White wishes he had more Danielson’s in his program.
“He’s a good wrestler, but he’s an even better role model and leader for our team,” White said. “He’s one of those guys where I wish I had 14 of him because he makes everybody better. He works hard. Even off the mat, he’s involved with his church. He’s involved in the school. He’s making sure guys are doing what they are supposed to do. It’s really nice having a guy like that in the room. All-around he’s just a really good kid.”
Position: 138 pounds
Career highlight: Advancing to the Paul Bunyan championship three times and winning twice
Other sports: Soccer, track and field
Grade-point average: 3.4
Favorite class: Adventure and Challenge
Favorite food: Peanut butter
Favorite movie: “The Shawshank Redemption”
Favorite TV show: “The Office”
Favorite restaurant: Noodles & Company
Future plans: Attend Concordia College, Moorhead and study social studies education
Favorite athlete: Ben Askren
Parents: Layne and Helene Danielson
Other notable performances
Gavin Hoelzel, Alpine skiing, won the Detroit Lakes Invite in 43.68.
Maddy Sedlachek, gymnastics, won the beam with a 9.5 against Perham.
Cade Rosenwald, swimming, won the 100-yard butterfly and 200 individual medley and was on two winning relays against Alexandria.
Emma Hiebert, Alpine skiing, won the Hibbing Invitational in 1:22.15.
Isaiah Germann and Gabe Wagner, wrestling, finished the week 7-0.
Emily Johnson, girls hockey, registered two shutouts against Moorhead and Thief River Falls.
Griffin Rushin, boys basketball, finished with 24 points and six rebounds against Rogers.