Independence wrestler Brian Tiderman wins the ‘80 percent’ matches
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Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014

Independence wrestler Brian Tiderman wins the ‘80 percent’ matches

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COREY INSCOE - cinscoe@charlotteobserver.com
Independence senior wrestler Brian Tiderman has won the Holy Angels Invitational, Mecklenburg County Tournament and Jim Hayes Invitational this season. He only has one loss on the year.

When Independence High head coach Philip Davis was a wrestler in high school at East Mecklenburg, a coach told him there are about 10 percent of matches where a wrestler is completely outmatched.

There are another 10 percent, the coach said, that the wrestler is nearly guaranteed to win.

But the vast majority of matches – the remaining 80 percent – could go either way. The winner is the one who shows up prepared and performs.

Brian Tiderman’s success in those “80 percent” matches is what has led him to break the school and county record for career wins.

“Brian just has that mental grind that, when it’s in that 80 percent range, he’s going to have the heart in the match,” said Davis, in his first year as head coach after being an assistant at Independence for two years. “That’s where you start having that big slant to the win side of the column.”

Tiderman, a senior wrestling in the 220-pound weight class this year, has 183 wins (through Jan. 9) in his four years at Independence. He broke the school record of 155, set by Casey Belville, last season, and this season broke the county record of 171, held by former East Mecklenburg wrestler and current Providence High head coach Brett Houghton, a high school teammate of Davis.

“It’s definitely cool,” Tiderman, 17, said of the county record. “It will probably be broken one day, but it’s cool to have, cool to say I did that.”

“I’ve definitely wrestled over 200 matches as a varsity wrestler,” he said. “That’s crazy to think about. Just exhausting to think about.”

His wins have spanned seven weight classes. He started as a 152-pound freshman but wrestled up to 160 and 170. He was at 182 as a sophomore, qualifying for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A tournament, and 195 last year, where he made it to the third round of the tournament.

He packed even more muscle on his 5-foot-8 frame this season to get up to the 220 class and has wrestled as a heavyweight (285 pounds) twice this season, winning both matches.

Tiderman is 27-1 and ranked No. 4 in the state among 4A 220-pound wrestlers, according to RetroRankings.com. He won the Jim Hayes Tournament at East Meck this season for the third time in his career. He also won the Holy Angels Invitational tournament at Bojangles’ Coliseum earlier this month for the third time in a row.

In December, he won the Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Tournament for the fourth year in a row and was named most outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

“That’s something I’m really proud of,” Tiderman said. “That’s probably one of the coolest things I think I’ve done … especially at all four different weight classes and stuff, from 152 all the way up to 220.”

Tiderman won the three tournaments after joining the team late this season. He played fullback on the football team for the second year in a row and the Patriots made it to the second round of the 4AA state playoffs. Tiderman missed the first several weeks of the season and didn’t wrestle in Independence’s first five matches.

Playing football has helped Tiderman in some ways and hurt in others, both wrestler and coach said. It keeps him active and helps with strength training but the short spurts of action followed by a rest in football hurt his endurance.

“Overall, I would never discourage anyone from doing different sports,” Davis said. “I was a three-sport athlete in high school, I encourage guys to do other sports in fall and spring and, if they’re not doing it, then come to wrestling conditioning. I would say overall it’s a benefit.”

Football may be what Tiderman tries to play in college, but he hasn’t made a decision. He also has had wrestling interest from colleges this season.

Tiderman said football made him more athletic, which he considers a strength. He’s quick for a 220-pound wrestler, and he’s one of the few that “shoots,” getting low and going after an opponent’s leg to take him down.

“I’m like the only person that really shoots in the 220 class,” he said. “When I go out there and shoot against somebody that’s never been shot on before … they don’t know what to do.”

Tiderman’s strategy this season is to use his athletic ability to get the first takedown and get an early point lead. Davis said Tiderman has improved on starting from the bottom position, getting quickly to his feet, where he is a better wrestler. “Everyone else cannot hang with him on their feet,” Davis said.

Davis also has seen Tiderman mature as a wrestler and team leader.

“Last year he was more to himself, took care of his stuff on the mat, was a good wrestler, but wouldn’t really speak up or take a vocal role,” Davis said. “It was just kind of a lead-by-example role. And he himself would occasionally get caught up in joking some from time to time.

“This year he’s been much more serious when it comes to wrestling.”

Tiderman’s ultimate goal this season is to win a state championship in the 220 division. He won the conference tournament last year at 195 and finished third at the 4A West Regional to take a No. 3 seed into the tournament.

He made it to the semifinals before losing to Raleigh Enloe’s Damien Dozier. He lost two matches in the consolation bracket to finish sixth overall.

His only loss this season came at the WRAL Invitational on Dec. 27 in Raleigh, a 13-7 decision against West Johnston’s Sam Campbell. Campbell (21-2), ranked No. 3, also wrestles in 4A.

Davis said he hopes they don’t meet until late in the state tournament.

Davis said Tiderman was competitive in the first match between the two. If they meet again, it will be another one of those “80 percent” matches.

Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe

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