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Kaiserslautern’s Allin Pangilinan, right, has Searle in a bad spot in their second-round, 119-pound match at the DODDS-Europe wrestling finals in February. Searle was able to turn the tables for the win.
Kaiserslautern’s Allin Pangilinan, right, has Searle in a bad spot in their second-round, 119-pound match at the DODDS-Europe wrestling finals in February. Searle was able to turn the tables for the win. (Stars and Stripes photos)
Kaiserslautern’s Allin Pangilinan, right, has Searle in a bad spot in their second-round, 119-pound match at the DODDS-Europe wrestling finals in February. Searle was able to turn the tables for the win.
Kaiserslautern’s Allin Pangilinan, right, has Searle in a bad spot in their second-round, 119-pound match at the DODDS-Europe wrestling finals in February. Searle was able to turn the tables for the win. (Stars and Stripes photos)
Lakenheath High School sophomore wrestler Brandon Searle (in red trunks) squares off with Daniel Carroll at a practice in 2008. Searle is a valued member of the squad, but this will be his last year with the Lancers.
Lakenheath High School sophomore wrestler Brandon Searle (in red trunks) squares off with Daniel Carroll at a practice in 2008. Searle is a valued member of the squad, but this will be his last year with the Lancers. ()
Lakenheath High School sophomore wrestler Brandon Searle (in red trunks) squares off with Daniel Carroll at a practice in 2008. Searle is a valued member of the squad, but this will be his last year with the Lancers.
Lakenheath High School sophomore wrestler Brandon Searle (in red trunks) squares off with Daniel Carroll at a practice in 2008. Searle is a valued member of the squad, but this will be his last year with the Lancers. ()
Brandon Searle
Brandon Searle ()

Wrestling is not a pretty sport. It’s brutal, painful and if you lose, there are no teammates to share the blame. It’s one guy’s strength and leverage versus another guy’s strength and leverage. And then there’s cauliflower ear.

Still, Lakenheath Lancer Brandon Searle likes the sport because of those reasons. Well, maybe not the cauliflower ear.

"It’s just a brutal sport," the 16-year-old said. "You don’t get any timeouts and you’re constantly going."

Searle’s dedication shined through last month as he won the 119-pound weight class at the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe wrestling championships.

He went up against the top tier in his weight class and gutted out a 2-1 victory over AFNORTH’s J.J. Donahue that included a final nail-biting 30 seconds and a bit of luck when Donahue lost first-period takedown points after, on appeal, it was decided they were the result of an illegal hold.

"It’s so satisfying when you completely dominate the other person," he said of wrestling.

Searle started wrestling as a seventh-grader and is now leaving the team after this, his sophomore, year. His family is scheduled to move.

Coach Darryl Brock said Searle will be missed.

"As a freshman he had a banner year, even though it was actually his third year," Brock said of Searle.

Searle also swims, but said he took up wrestling as a surprise for his dad, who was deployed when he first hit the mats.

When the match is on the line, Searle said, he doesn’t really think of anything other than avoiding a pin.

"By the time you get to competing, it’s all just natural," he said.

While he’s not sure where his dad’s next assignment will land him, Searle said he hopes to one day swim for the Air Force Academy.

Until then, he’ll continue enjoying those life lessons learned on the wrestling mat.

"You have to put so much more into it than other sports," he said. "You can’t take a day off."

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