Little Lazaro making big impactBryden Lazaro is unsuspecting. The 125-pound Dickinson State sophomore is by no means an imposing physical presence. He’s a soft-spoken strategist constantly analyzing his craft. In fact, he rarely makes his presence known — until he steps on the mat.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Bryden Lazaro is unsuspecting.
The 125-pound Dickinson State sophomore is by no means an imposing physical presence. He’s a soft-spoken strategist constantly analyzing his craft. In fact, he rarely makes his presence known — until he steps on the mat.
As the Blue Hawks enter the spring semester, Lazaro boasts a team-best 18-1 record.
“He’s definitely one of those guys who you live to sit in his corner because he wrestles hard every second he’s out there,” DSU head coach Thadd O’Donnell said.
Lazaro will likely get the chance at a rematch against the only man he’s lost to this season, Minnesota State Moorhead senior Corey Ulmer, when the Dragons come to Scott Gymnasium at 7 p.m. today for a dual.
Lazaro scored a first-period pin against Ulmer on Nov. 19 in the championship of the Concordia College Open and then lost to him by a 5-4 decision on Dec. 3 in the title match of MSUM’s tournament.
“I can’t wait for my third match against this guy Wednesday,” Lazaro said. “That’s going to settle it.”
Despite being the smallest guy in DSU’s wrestling room, Lazaro sure doesn’t shy away from a fight.
In fact, he welcomes any chance to wrestle because it gives him the opportunity to put his analytic mind to work.
O’Donnell said Lazaro is constantly analyzing his moves and thinking about the strategy of his next match.
“I like to believe that I learn from each one of my matches and I take that into account every week,” Lazaro said. “When it comes to this week, so much is strategy. To me, so much is second nature. I do think about what the score is and what position I should take, but I’m mostly go, go, go during the matches.”
Lazaro’s motor doesn’t seem to stop either. He has blown through most of the tournaments he has entered this season, winning three of four. He hopes to win another when DSU hosts the Blue Hawk Classic on Saturday.
“You can tell by the guys who are winning tournaments and the guys who are placing high,” Lazaro said. “Those are the guys who are doing extra. The extra runs, the extra working out harder than anyone else, staying after practice.”
Hard work has certainly factored into Lazaro’s success this season.
However, DSU junior Nestor Ruelas, a 141-pounder who often tangles with Lazaro in practice, said his teammate produces victories through technique.
“He has a unique style,” Ruelas said. “He’s not funky, but in his neutral stance it’s awkward to take shots because he has such a weird stance. He has a good cradle. He’s always looking for a cradle to set up something else.”
Lazaro has been nothing short of a pleasant surprise for the Blue Hawks.
In fact, O’Donnell and his coaching staff weren’t even looking for Lazaro when they found him.
O’Donnell was recruiting a different 125-pounder when former DSU assistant coach Keri Stanley, now at North Idaho College, told him about Lazaro, who had defeated the wrestler O’Donnell had been recruiting but was no longer attached to any school. He wrestled for Menlo College in California as a freshman.
“Recruiting is a funny thing, how it happens,” O’Donnell said with a smile.
Though it is his first season at DSU, Lazaro’s early success has him thinking big as the Blue Hawks begin their push toward the NAIA national tournament.
“The biggest thing for me is trying to win a national title this first year,” Lazaro said.