Boonville sophomore Brant Whitaker had the trip of a lifetime on Saturday, Oct. 27th while finishing third at USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.
USA wrestling hosted Preseason Nationals with over 3,000 participants from over 40 states. Whitaker wrestled in the 145 pound weight class in a 64 man bracket, with the best wrestlers in the nation.
Whitaker, who is currently ranked third in the nation by Flowrestling, started his first match with a bye and then wrestled C. Hollis from Wisconsin, winning by a pin in 2:27. The win over Hollis put Whitaker  in the round of 16, where he defeated  J. Anderson from Indiana 9-2. Next in the quarterfinals, Whitaker faced R. Soto from Florida, defeating him 5-1 to advance to the semifinals and securing his All-American status.
After leading in the semifinals, Whitaker fell to a wrestler from California on a controversial call.  
But after picking himself up heading to the backside of the bracket, Whitaker faced Anderson from Indiana again  and won by a technical fall 16-0 to advance to the third place match.
In the third place match, Whitaker won 6-3 over Robert Major from Illinois.
Heading into his second season as a member of the Boonville Pirates wrestling team, Whitaker is the current state runner up from last year and the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state in his weight class.