'I'll cherish it forever:' Brian Ramos proud to bring state championship back to Perham

"This was for everybody back home and the whole Perham community. It's something I can bring back. It's not even just Perham. It's for the North and all of the area schools around here. To finally bring a title up here is such a great feeling to me." - Brian Ramos

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Perham's Brian Ramos, left, hugs his family shortly after winning the 182-pound state championship at the Class AA individual state wrestling tournament on Mar. 5, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Contributed / Terry Bullock

ST. PAUL – Brian Ramos was five seconds away from seeing the gold medal slip off his neck in the 182-pound Class AA state championship match, but it was that moment where he knew he'd bring a title back to Perham.

After his match-tying escape late in the third period, Ramos beat New Prague's Joey Novak in an 8-6 overtime decision. It was a highly-debated scoring decision that led to Ramos winning in overtime with a takedown 31 seconds into the extra session.

"There was a lot of controversy," Ramos said of the end of his state championship match. "I thought I got a reversal, which would've won it for me. Either way, they ended up just giving me one. I instantly knew I was going to win the match and become a state champion. I told myself I was going to out-man this guy. I said, 'This is going to be mine. I'm taking this title home.'"

Ramos led 5-4 after two periods before Novak's reversal early in the third gave the tournament's top-seed a one-point advantage. Needing to pull a rabbit out of his hat, Ramos went into his bag of tricks to even the score.

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Perham's Brain Ramos, right, defeats St. Peters' Kole Guth in the opening round of the 182-pound Class AA state championship tournament on Mar. 4, 2022. Ramos won the state championship on Saturday with an 8-6 decision win over New Prague's Joey Novak.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

"After they called the stalemate, we reset, and I was on the bottom," Ramos said. "It's funny because of how much I practice this, but my first thought was a quick stand-up. From there, it was all reaction. I kind of hit a roll, and that's when it all came together."


Ramos needed just over a half of a minute to earn his 49th win of the season and cap off one of the best individual seasons in program history. The first thing he did as a state champion was celebrate with the ones who got him there.

"After I got my hand raised, I instantly ran up to my parents," Ramos said. "Without them, I wouldn't be here. Their support throughout elementary school, middle school and all of the time and money they put into me means everything. They did every single little thing they could do for me. Without them, I wouldn't have had this opportunity. Right away, they were my first thought. Just the sense of relief I shared with them meant the world to me. We did it. It's not an, 'I did it.' It's a 'We did it.' Because, without them, I don't have nothing."

The first two rounds of the state tournament were a breeze. Ramos beat St. Peters' Kole Guth by technical fall (27-12) in 5:59 before pinning Minneapolis Patrick Henry's Syrron White in 1:32. In the semifinals, Ramos led Kasson-Mantorville's Kail Wynia 3-1 heading into the third period.

"Going into the third, I felt amazing," Ramos said. "I started to pick up the pace in the third and ended up scoring seven more points. I was pretty happy to make it a decently-sized finish there by the end of it."

"After my semifinal match, I remember the exact words that came out of my mouth. I just told my coaches, 'One more. We're not done yet,'" Ramos said. "I was already onto the next after winning the semifinal match. I wanted to prepare in every aspect for that state championship match. Again, I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to wrestle in that final match. It's just one of those moments. I'll cherish it forever."

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Perham's Brian Ramos scores a fall victory at 182-pounds against Jackson Staffert on Feb. 15, 2022 at Alexandria Area High School in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals.
Sam Stuve / Forum News Service

Despite coming in with a 45-1 record on the season, Ramos was the third-seed out of the 16-wrestler field.

"I was overlooked coming into state," Ramos said. "The other two guys that were seeded above me were seeded for the right reasons. I just wanted to show that the seeding doesn't matter. I just wrestled my heart out. I laid it all out there. I reminisce a lot, and I'm just so thankful. All glory to God. This wouldn't be possible without him, and I'm so thankful he chose this path for me. I took the opportunity and ran with it."

Ramos has a lot of passion for his craft. Next fall, the standout senior is headed to Augsburg University to continue his wrestling career at the Division III collegiate level. While his love for wrestling goes deep, the amount of gratitude he has for his community is immeasurable.


"What helped me a lot was my support system," Ramos said. "Even going into the (championship) match, I kept repeating to myself during warmups, 'This isn't just for me.' This was for everybody back home and the whole Perham community. It's something I can bring back. It's not even just Perham. It's for the North and all of the area schools around here. To finally bring a title up here is such a great feeling to me."

"I don't think there's another community that's better," Ramos said of Perham. "They've given everything in every sport to me. The teachers and support system are so great, and I was riding on that the whole day. I did get a huge sense of overwhelming emotion at the end of it all. I had a moment by myself to look back at it all. I thought about all of the people in Perham wishing me good luck, and we actually did it."

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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