Brady Berge at the 2021 NCAA Championships (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
South Dakota State announced today that they have hired Brady Berge to fill the role of volunteer assistant for the 2021-22 campaign. "I'm from small-town Minnesota and Brookings made me feel at home," said Berge. "Not only that, but I am not too far away from my family which was important to me because I am very close with them. The staff has welcomed me with open arms and I'm grateful for the opportunity they have given me," Berge added.
In April, Berge announced that he was retiring from the sport due to various injuries, including his widely known struggles with concussions. Berge was a two-time national qualifier for Penn State. Jumping into the coaching ranks in college wasn't necessarily a given for Berge, "I didn't have intentions of coaching college wrestling until this opportunity arose this summer."
In both of those NCAA qualifying seasons, he finished sixth in the Big Ten and received the 12th seed at the NCAA Championships. Berge looked poised to make the NCAA podium in 2021 after a second-round upset of #5 Kaleb Young (Iowa). However, in his next match, Berge went down with an apparent knee injury against the eventual runner-up Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider). That injury forced him to default in the quarterfinals, then forfeit in the NCAA Round of 12. It allowed #33 Wyatt Sheets (Oklahoma State) to advance into the All-American rounds.
Berge's final record at Penn State was 31-9 across two-plus actual seasons of competition. In addition to his win over Young, Berge also defeated All-Americans Pat Lugo (Iowa) and Jarrett Degen (Iowa State) at one point in his career. His win over Degen came during a third-place showing at the 2019 Southern Scuffle.
Not only did Berge star on the collegiate scene, he also is experienced on the international stage. He made age-group world level teams at the Cadet, Junior, and U23 levels. In 2018, Berge came home from Trnava, Slovakia with a bronze medal at Junior World's.
Berge fits in well with the Jackrabbits as they have a strong Minnesota influence already. Their 2021 team had seven of 29 members from the state. They also have a pair of top-100 recruits (Derrick Cardinal and Cael Swensen) headed to Brookings, too. Additional connections within the state, like the Mantorville native, can only help. This addition is also interesting on the current recruiting front as his younger brother, Bennett, is currently uncommitted and ranked sixth in the nation at 182 lbs and #36 overall in the Class of 2022. Earlier this week, Bennett was fourth in Junior freestyle in Fargo. Could the Jackrabbits be in the drivers seat for Bennett now?