For the third time in the last three years, Aaron Brooks is a national champion.
The Penn State wrestling phenom came from his position as the No. 3 overall seed in the 184-pound division to defeat Northern Iowa’s No. 1-seeded Parker Keckeisen, 7-2, for the individual title on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What’s more, his dominating performance helped Penn State capture the school’s second consecutive national title and 10th in the last 12 events.
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While still catching his breath after the victory, Brooks was asked about his faith in an interview with ESPN.
“Christ’s resurrection is everything — not just His life, but His death and resurrection,” Brooks said. “You can only get that through Him, the Holy Spirit only through Him, no false prophets, no Muhammad, no anyone else, only Jesus Christ Himself.”
3x National Champion Aaron Brooks attributes his success to his faith.
📺 ESPN#NCAAWrestling x @pennstateWREST pic.twitter.com/CmQ4lR4EcK
— NCAA Wrestling (@NCAAWrestling) March 19, 2023
Brooks’ faith in Christ was all he wanted to talk about, even when asked about his wrestling abilities.
“The Holy Spirit,” he said. “Acts Chapter 1, verse 8: Power, Holy Spirit power, it’s everything. That’s where it’s from.”
He continued later: “I’m blessed. God used me. He gives me this platform for this right here — to exalt Him. So that’s all it’s for. … It’s all for Him. It’s all for His glory.”
Later in his post-match media availability, Brooks was asked about Keckeisen, against whom Brooks is now 3-0 in his career.
“He’s my brother in Christ,” Brooks said, according to Penn State’s student newspaper, the Daily Collegian. “Iron sharpens iron. And every time I have him, I’ve got to bring it. Him and his coaching staff, very blessed as well. I know [if] I’m wrestling Parker, it’s going to be a good match.”
The senior from Hagerstown, Maryland, didn’t give up a takedown en route to the title, but once again, he gave credit to Christ alone for his wrestling prowess.
“Just blessed and grateful,” Brooks told the media. “Everything I have is from God. He gives me the ability to wrestle. When I go out there, if it’s anything, it’s to preach about Him. I’m blessed and grateful He’s using me. We all give Him the glory, but He chose me for this. So I’m blessed.”
Brooks took to Instagram on Sunday, directing his followers to two more Bible verses: John 15:18 and John 8:32.
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Brooks made his collegiate intentions clear when he committed to Penn State in February 2018: “I’m going to try to win four NCAA titles,” he said, according to Herald-Mail Media. The COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of the end of his freshman season, but he does have one year of eligibility remaining. He could try for a fourth NCAA title as well as aim for the 2024 Paris Olympics; Brooks has said his goal is to be an Olympic champion.
Yet, already having cemented himself as one of the best collegiate wrestlers ever, Brooks isn’t worrying himself about his next step in life. He’s leaving it in God’s hands.
“I’m grateful that God is using me in this platform to bring glory to Him, just blessed that He’s chosen me for this task, and wherever He calls me to go, I’m ready to go,” he told Penn State’s social media team.
AB Post Title Chat w/ GoPSU! pic.twitter.com/1NKBUdX9bh
— Penn State WRESTLING (@pennstateWREST) March 19, 2023
When asked what he most wanted to be remembered for, his answer was immediate: “The headband (which said, “100% Jesus”) — Christ, Him. That’s Who I do it for, to bring glory and to hopefully save lives and lead them to Who saves lives. And that’s Christ.”
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