It’s a conversation Cameron Beminio and Tucker Kroeze have had in the Belmond-Klemme wrestling room a few times — how much they both feel at least a podium finish at the state wrestling tournament could be in their future. But it also comes back to the work still to be done to get to that point.
“Having him in the room, we both talk about working hard and getting to the top,” Beminio said of his relationship with Kroeze. “We both want to compete hard. Not necessarily talk about being on top, but being somewhere on the stand.”
The thing is, both wrestlers finishing the season on the medals stand is entirely possible.
Beminio, the Broncos’ heavyweight who’s not hard to miss with the big tattoo honoring his late father, Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Beminio, on his right shoulder, was the known commodity in terms of talent coming into this season. But he came in with a ton of unknowns, health-wise.
His season was cut short on the second day of the state tournament last February due to a knee injury. Not only was the injury painful, the thought of how close he was to reaching a goal was almost unbearable to take.
“I was so planning on getting on that podium,” Beminio said. “The match vs. Jesup’s (Brian) Sadler I feel like could’ve gone either way in that third period because I got hurt in the second period. I feel like I could’ve competed with the next kid … but it sucks to talk about.”
What followed was an invasive surgery to repair torn cartilage and a torn ligament in his knee. It kept him out of football and he missed the first portion of the wrestling season before returning just before the winter break. Beminio said it was a good few months of physical training which pushed down his recovery time.
Now, the third-ranked wrestler at 285 in Class 1A is working his way back to his old form. With the way his season ended last year, “really hungry” is the only way he likes to describe his motivation for this year.
His coach sees the same thing.
“No matter what the surgeries said, no matter what happened there, he was coming back,” B-K coach Leigh Jass said. “His biggest drive right now is he felt last year he should’ve been on the podium and just didn’t get what he felt like he deserved in that case. He came back working hard again, and we just have to keep pushing him to reach his goal.”
While Beminio is getting back up to speed, Kroeze has been a force all season for the Broncos.
Injury sidelined him during part of last season, but he battled back to make the district tournament, and he, too, sees potential for placement. There’s work to be done first.
“I’m happy where I’m getting my shot and I just want to work on riding and getting off the bottom better because once I face better competition it’s going to be a little harder to get them out and ride them,” he said.
After Saturday, Kroze, who is ranked eighth at 182 pounds, has compiled a record of 29-4. What he’s most proud of is that he now owns the school’s takedown record, and he’s still chasing 200 for the year.
That kind of offense is why he’s doing what he’s doing.
“Just a relentless attack on his feet,” Jass said. “Just constant attack, attack, attack. He really came in with an offensive mindset this year on his feet wanting to really go after our takedown record. That was kind of his driving goal there and he’s broke that and he’s going for the next.”
Both Beminio and Kroeze admitted the weakest part of their game at the moment is their conditioning, but with the postseason fast approaching, they’re both confident they’ll get there.
More than anything, it’s about the journey.
“Hopefully to the top,” Beminio said of where he wants to go. “I plan on it and I’m training like it. I just have to get that rust all off me.”