Roseville's Trae Story (top), warming up with assistant coach Peter Salas, is 39-0 this year and ranked No. 3 at 195 pounds.
Trae Story is undefeated, but the Roseville senior doesn't wrestle for the glory.
He isn't much interested in accolades and doesn't concern himself with the social aspect of the sport.
The story of Story comes mostly from within. After arriving relatively late to wrestling, the powerful 195-pounder's drive to succeed stems from a place even he cannot understand.
"I'm not sure what it is," Story said. "I think I just want to learn. I want to get better."
The first time Story touched a wrestling mat was eighth grade. Until then, he was a football player because of his size.
"I've been big since seventh grade," he said. "I haven't been under 180 pounds in forever."
He was no wrestling wunderkind. Taking on foes his size but having far less experience, Story absorbed his share of defeats. But he never quit, and eventually the sport became his passion.
"In my freshman year, I realized how important it was, and I wanted to get better," he said.
Story quit football to dedicate himself full-time to wrestling. Problem was, with no father in the picture and little money to devote to training, he was forced to improvise.
"He was here for a year, but then he came to us and said he didn't have the money for tuition," said Jared Lawrence, co-owner of the Pinnacle Wrestling School in Shoreview. "We made a deal where he could work it off."
Story cleans mats each Saturday and coaches young wrestlers in the offseason, but his dedication doesn't stop there. He doesn't own a car and lives almost 3 miles from Pinnacle. Getting to and from meant getting creative.
"I usually run there," he said. "Or if the roads are clear of snow, I'll ride my bike."
Despite the difficulties, Story rarely missed a session. In fact, Lawrence said, they often had to make him go home.
"It's important to me," Story said. "It keeps me out of trouble. It's like my second home."
"He's always the last guy out, asking about one more thing, trying to get better," Lawrence said. "We have to tell him it's time to leave."
In less than five years, Story has gone from wrestling greenhorn to one of the state's top 195-pounders. He lost to Lakeville South's Tommy Peterson in the Class 3A championship match last year and brings a gaudy 39-0 record into the 2013 state meet. He's ranked No. 3 at 195, behind Peterson and Moorhead's Chase Morlock, both of whom are also in the state tournament bracket.
"He's more a student of the sport than anyone I've ever coached," said longtime Roseville coach Mike Holmes. "He's a real focused kid. When he wants something, he doesn't let distractions get in his way."
Story already has reached one goal, earning a wrestling scholarship to St. Cloud State, the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division II. He admits that winning the state championship is another, but that is just part of what drives him.
"I hope to win it, of course, but I get the most satisfaction from learning," Story said. "When I get the hang of something, that's the reward."