Kirtland wrestler to compete in national tourney

Capt. Brandon Mueller, in blue, takes down a challenger at the 2018 Armed Forces Championships.  Mueller, Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, will compete in Las Vegas in April.

Capt. Brandon Mueller, in blue, takes down a challenger at the 2018 Armed Forces Championships. Mueller, Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, will compete in Las Vegas in April.

Capt. Brandon Mueller in blue grapples with the Army's Michael Hooker at the 2017 Armed Forces Championships.

Capt. Brandon Mueller in blue grapples with the Army's Michael Hooker at the 2017 Armed Forces Championships.

Capt. Brandon Mueller, in blue, takes down Army's Austin Craig at the 2018 Armed Forces Championships.  Mueller, Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, will compete in Las Vegas in April

Capt. Brandon Mueller, in blue, takes down Army's Austin Craig at the 2018 Armed Forces Championships. Mueller, Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, will compete in Las Vegas in April

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Capt. Brandon Mueller, a physicist with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, will test his skills April 25-29 at the U.S. Open Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mueller, who wrestled for four years at the Air Force Academy, has continued to wrestle competitively since graduating in 2013. He found success wrestling at Greco-Roman, a style different from the traditional folkstyle, or collegiate style, he’d been wrestling most his life. 

If Mueller does well enough at this tournament, he has a chance to represent Team USA at the World Championships in Budapest this summer.

Following the Armed Forces Championships in February, Mueller sat down with fivepointmove.com to discuss the tournament and his wrestling career.  

Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

“Last year going into it, I knew I didn’t want to get headlocked. I still got headlocked. This year again, I didn’t want to get headlocked. I really wanted to set the pace, but under control. I gave up two big throws at the Schultz to start off matches and I didn’t want to go there again. So, under control and setting the pace was where I wanted to be and then try to open up some body attacks and arm drags, and that kind of stuff. That was my game plan.

“I knew he (Walsh) was a good college wrestler but I didn’t see any of his Greco matches, so I just went out there knowing he was going to be athletic. I expected a grind match. I was just like, Hey, let’s stick to your normal strategy and try to open up your typical offense.

“I’m still working more than I’m training. I was in Albuquerque from the Schultz until three weeks out from the Armed Forces, just training around my work schedule. Luckily, my boss has been pretty flexible so I’ve been able to get a decent amount, at least one practice a day unless I’m traveling for work. The three weeks when I was out at camp I was working, doing emails, telecoms — all that stuff — in between practices. But I was able to get the same amount of practice as everyone on the Air Force team.

In the interview, Mueller said he has applied to the Air Force's World Class Athlete Program, and said he is "optimistic there could be a chance that I am able to move to Colorado Springs later on in the spring.”