At Oak Forest High School, the question of what can Brown do for you comes with a ready-made answer.
Just about anything.
Senior Alec Brown boasts and 3.88 grade point average. He is an honor-roll student considering a career in engineering or physical therapy.
He also is a two-sport standout and one of six individuals who will be representing the Bengals in the IHSA Class 2A state wrestling tournament this weekend in Champaign. And he is Southland Patch’s Athlete of the Month for January.
Brown, a 220-pounder with a 37-3 record, reported to wrestling drills late. He had a good reason.
He was the middle linebacker and defensive leader on the Oak Forest football team that posted a 10-2 record, tied for first place in the South Suburban Blue Conference and enjoyed an extended run in the Class 6A playoffs.
He quickly made up for lost time.
Brown won regular-season wrestling tournaments at Conant, Leyden and Palatine. He finished second in the SSC tournament, first at the Tinley Park Regional and third at the Rich East Sectional.
His three losses have come at the hands of two opponents—Tinley Park’s Derek Schultz and Chicago Lindblom’s Duece Rachal—and he could see both again as he looks to bring home his first medal in his third trip to the state wrestling tournament.
“Yeah, I qualified my sophomore year and my junior year and haven’t really done anything,” Brown said. “So, I’m looking forward to this year to redeeming myself.”
He combines power and speed on the mats to tackle his opponents—quite literally. He draws on his football experience to execute a double-leg takedown.
“We’re very lucky—coming from football, he’s captain of the football team, captain of the defense and a middle linebacker, kind of a coach on the field,” Oak Forest wrestling coach Shawn Forst said. “And he’s taken that same leadership role throughout the wrestling season.
“He works with the younger guys—even guys that are nowhere near his weight—and keeps them in line and keeps the team together. He’ll be a huge loss next year. I’m hoping he goes on to the next level.”
Brown is undecided on his college plans right now. He is looking for a school that will fit his personality as well as his athletic and academic needs. He is a hands-on guy who might follow in the footsteps of his father.
“I’d like, maybe, to start my own small business and fix things,” Brown said. “I’m not really sure what it’s going to be yet. My dad was an engineer back when I was growing up. Then, he became a teacher to get the summer’s off.”
Daniel Brown will be in the stands at Assembly Hall this weekend rooting for his son to bring home one more title—along with much of the rest of the Bengals’ wrestling family. And, make no mistake, Oak Forest fans will have plenty of action to follow.
The Bengals qualified a record six individuals, including four sophomores. The list includes Danny Swan (106), Francis Edelen (113), Mousa Jodeh (126), Patrick Kristin (152) and Jim Kluk (160).
“It’s really exciting,” Brown said. “The program is growing. We’ve got a lot young guys going down there, too. It’s just exciting that half our team is going down there, not just a few of us.
“We do feed off each other. When all the other guys win, you can’t be the only one to lose. It’s like, ‘Now, I’ve got to get out there and win.’ ”
Brown has been a winner from Day 1.
His style of wrestling reminds Forst of Malcolm Watson, last year’s 220-pound state champ from Nazareth Academy. Forst coached Watson for three years when the two were at Westchester St. Joseph.
“He has a very similar style of being big up top—very strong underhook—and just having a motor and being aggressive and going after people,” Forst said. “We’ve actually trained both these guys the same way.”
Previous Athlete of the Month Winners
September: Bloom's Brantley is Patch's Athlete of the Month
October: Marist Wide Receiver Courageous After Death of Brother
November: Andrew's Friel Enjoys the Last Laugh
December: Sandburg's Ruzevich Scores High Marks