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Meet the 2019 Little Sullivan Award finalists: Brandon Weber

Posted: 10:03 PM, Apr 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-22 16:32:58-04
Brandon Weber (MTN Sports Photo)

A lot of responsibility is placed upon the oldest sibling in a family, which can often create a stressful environment as they try to set the expectation for younger brothers and sisters. Few student-athletes have set that bar in recent years quite like Brandon Weber.

The oldest of five brothers, Weber boasts one of the greatest wrestling careers in Montana history, both at the high school and collegiate ranks, after competing at the highest levels in each.

A three-time state champion at Forsyth High School from 2012-14, Brandon Weber ranks No. 2 in the Montana High School Association record book for total wins, with his 200 trailing only younger brother Luke (212). Of the 200 victories, 105 were consecutive during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons where he won Class B/C state titles at 135, 152 and 152 pounds, respectively.

Weber also joins brothers Luke and Matt in the MHSA top 10 for victories in a single season, posting 56 wins in 2014, tied for second-best with former teammate Chris Nile, and 51 victories in 2013.

“Brandon knew how to win and he knows how to win, that’s what I really enjoyed about him,” said MSU-Northern wrestling coach Tyson Thivierge, who coached Weber the past five seasons. “You were able to tweak some things, do some things here and there, but Brandon had his own agenda. I never tried to interrupt that, I just worked with it and we adapted to each other. Having a kid like that in the room, especially at competitions, he just had a knack for winning, he knew how to win and it was special.”

After tallying 111 victories by fall at Forsyth, Weber spent one semester at Miles Community College in Miles City, then joined the Lights program and became one of the most decorated grapplers in MSU-Northern history, which has made Weber one of four male finalists for the Montana Amateur Athletic Union Little Sullivan award.

A four-time qualifier of the NAIA National Championships, Weber was a three-time finalist his final three seasons, winning the 2017 157-pound national championship, the 31st individual champion in MSU-Northern history.

Weber placed runner-up the following two seasons, including last March’s second-place finish in the 157-pound bracket, to finish his career as a three-time all-American.

“Brandon was a quiet leader. He’s more of a father-figure-type leader if I’m being honest. He was a little older than everybody, typical fifth-year senior, but older than everybody and he would just father people,” said Thivierge. “He wasn’t very vocal, but when Brandon was vocal, people listened. He would have chats with guys one-on-one to motivate them, pick them back up when they were having bad days. He could see that in people, he had a knack for it. But he really was a father figure for a lot of guys. We all know our dads, when he raised his voice it was time to listen, and that’s kind of the way guys were with Brandon. Brandon didn’t really say much, led by example, but when Brandon would speak, everybody listened.”

“Brandon is so dang stubborn, but he’s comical,” Thivierge continued, chuckling. “I’ve got to coach Brandon for five years and I’ve really gotten to know Brandon. He’s someone I consider a friend and he’s really easy to talk to. I’ve said it before, there’s not enough nice things to say about the whole Weber clan, but Brandon, especially, is a very sincere kid. When he tells you he’s going to do something, he does it, he’s a man of his word. It’s been a joy the last five years getting to know him.”

Weber plans to return to Forsyth to begin ranching, something Thivierge says “he’s going to succeed at,” for years to come, while also offering multiple praises of Weber’s improved social skills, wrestling technique and all-around friendship. But when asked about a humorous moment that stood out over the past five years, Thivierge went silent.

“I’m honestly going to tell you, Brandon is one of those guys I do not have any dirt on. I cannot find dirt on that kid to save my life. That’s what absolutely kills me, he’s never slipped up around me, he’s never done anything to terribly embarrass himself. Brandon is boring,” Thivierge laughed. “I sit there, I knew something was coming and as soon as you said that I just processed it and I cannot, in five years, think of a single moment where he would have been embarrassed. I could give you stuff on Matt, I could give you stuff on a couple of the other brothers, but Brandon is squeaky clean.”

The 2019 Montana AAU Little Sullivan banquet will be held Saturday, May 4 at the Red Lion Hotel in Billings. Tickets to the event are available until May 1 and can be purchased by emailing mtaau.reg@gmail.com or by calling (406) 489-0251.

All current card-holding adult Montana AAU members, plus Montana media representatives, are eligible to vote for this year’s winners by emailing selections to mtaau.reg@gmail.com by Monday, April 22.

Montana AAU Little Sullivan Award 2019 finalists

Female finalists

Alisha Breen — Choteau, MSU Billings basketball
Hailey Copinga — Billings Skyview, Rocky Mountain College volleyball
Makena Morley — Bigfork, University of Colorado cross country and track and field
Sydney Stites — Bozeman, Iowa State University softball

Male finalists

Jayse McLean — Great Falls CMR, North Dakota State University baseball
Tres Tinkle — Missoula Hellgate, Oregon State basketball
Brandon Weber — Forsyth, MSU-Northern wrestling
Tucker Yates — Colstrip, Montana State University football