NORMAN — Deven Brewer likes challenges. The Westmoore freshman has met each of them head on this season, staking a claim as one of the state’s top wrestlers.
Of course, challenges are nothing new to Brewer, who was born with a physical abnormality he’s not about to let get in the way of pursuing his dreams.
“I think I can be very well in contention for a state title,” Brewer said. “State placer, definitely. I’ve worked all my life for it. Since I was 4 years old. It’s been all I kind of wanted to do at this point. (I’ve) just got to keep going strong.”
When people meet Brewer for the first time, it’s almost impossible for them not to notice the large knot on the right side of his face. They might think he just exited a particularly difficult match.
That’s not the case. Brewer has a tumor growing in his face.
“I’ve had this since I was born,” he said. “I’ve had it removed once when I was 6, then again last year. But I hit another growth spurt last year and it came back again. I’ll probably end up getting it removed again in March.”
Though non cancerous, the tumor may still present possible side effects that could prove harmful later in life.
“It’s a vascular tumor,” Brewer said. “It’s a blood-fed muscle. Every time I grow, it grows with me. It’s just one of those things.
“It doesn’t hurt or bother me at all. It’s just there. I get asked about it a lot. It’s a conversation starter … The only thing that is dangerous is that it could reconstruct my face, like my facial features and stuff. But they’ve kept it under control.”
Brewer has turned the unique trait into a source of motivation. Not only does he use it to better himself on the wrestling mat, but in life.
“I think it helped me adapt and become a bigger person,” he said. “It’s like a part of me. It’s kind of like a trademark. I’m Deven Brewer, the kid from Westmoore with the big cheek.”
These days Brewer is earning more of a name for himself through his wrestling. Just a freshman, he has been one of the Jags most dependable grapplers.
Heading into last week, the 145-pounder had put together a 13-2 record. Both losses came at the annual Geary tournament.
“He has stepped in as a freshman and done some really good things,” Westmoore assistant Jimmy Filippo said. “He had one bad tournament at Geary and didn’t place there. But when we went to Louisiana, he was the outstanding wrestler in the lower weights.”
Brewer has continued to wrestle junior high matches, a classification that includes seventh, eighth and ninth graders.
“I actually like it,” Brewer said. “It’s a challenge and it helps me keep my weight down … It’s a good thing.”
With Westmoore winning its district duals, Brewer and his teammates are headed to Dual State on Feb. 9. The conventional state tournament arrives two weeks later. Brewer plans to make regular appearances there for the rest of his high school career.
“I want my sophomore year to be my last year I get beat,” he said. “I want to go undefeated my junior and senior years and be a three- or four-time state champion. Then go off to college and just have a good time.”
Follow me @eyeamtruth