Local Sports

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prep Wrestling: Brakeman calls it a career

Staff Writer

It's the end of an era for high school wrestling in Ohio.

After 41 years, Brian Brakeman has called it quits.

Brakeman who published his Ohio High School Wrestling Forecast, which ranked wrestlers and predicted state champions in the 14 weight classes in each of the three OHSAA divisions each year for the last 41 years, has decided not to continue the report which was eagerly anticipated by wrestlers, coaches and parents each year prior to the start of the postseason.

"After more than 40 years and well over 3,000 pages, it seems time to draw the curtain on the Brakeman Report. It has been a labor of (mostly) love, but its objective from the start -- identifying and forecasting the participants in the state meet -- has been rendered unnecessary by the explosion of data and data analysts on the Internet," wrote Brakeman announcing the decision. "It is a decision I make with some misgivings since I have always enjoyed the process which lead up to the report. Still, it will now be the first January since 1971 that I will be able to really enjoy without the specter of hard-to-make deadlines."

Brakeman, a Cleveland resident and former executive with the East Ohio Gas Company, wrote his first "Brakeman Report" back in 1971.

Every year Brakeman would predict which wrestlers would win a state title and would rank the top 25 or so wrestlers in each weight class. He would also break down the team races for each division.

Predicting state champs was particularly difficult in the pre-Internet era as he had to pore over bracket sheets sent to him by coaches around the state as well as looking at countless newspaper reports on matches throughout Ohio at the Cleveland Public Library.

Still, even in the post-Internet era, Brakeman never lost his edge. Last year, he successfully predicted 13 of the 14 state champs in Division III and was 30 of 42 predicting champions across all three divisions.

REGIONAL REMATCH AT UPPER: The state team tournament regional semifinals are set for Wednesday and there's going to be a barnburner in the Division III regional semifinals at Upper Sandusky.

The host Rams take on archrival Carey in a first-round match to open the tournament beginning at 6 p.m. Galion and Woodmore square off in the other match that night. The winners will meet for a spot in next week's regional finals.

Upper Sandusky, which is coming off a third-place finish at last weekend's Sally George Invitational, beat Carey handily when the teams met in late December. Since then, many of Carey's wrestlers have switched weights which could make Wednesday's match interesting.

One of the best matches could happen at 182 pounds as Carey's Lincoln Stansberry takes on Upper Sandusky's Tylor Pritchard.

TROJAN TIME: Findlay will get a rematch of its own with Perrysburg in the Division I regional semifinal tournament at Oregon Clay.

The Trojans scored a 36-26 win over the Yellow Jackets in Saturday's Beauty and the Beast Meet with the gymnastics team. But Perrysburg sent a number of backups to Findlay in anticipation of squaring off against the Trojans again on Wednesday.

"The kids know it's going to be a tough match. Perrysburg is very good," said Findlay coach Ben Kirian. "We'll just have to go out and win the matches we should and pull a few upsets along the way and see what happens."

Sophomore 120-pounder Justin Jolliff leads the Trojans with a 34-5 record this season. Taylor Opp (29-7), Tony Kalani (23-11), Marcus Molina (22-12), Ian Silette (24-9) and Jimmy Staschiak (24-15) also have recorded more than 20 individual wins for Findlay this season.

ROYAL TREATMENT: Elmwood faces a tough task in its regional semifinal match Wednesday as the Royals travel to Delta to take on the top-seeded Panthers, who are ranked third in the latest Division III state coaches poll.

Elmwood is coming off a 2-3 weekend against a very tough field at its own Joe Szymczak Duals on Saturday.

Michael Baer and George Andrich were 4-1 for Elmwood with a pair of pins to lead Elmwood Saturday. Teammates Dylan Hall and Brik Dauterman were both 3-2.

Baker, 419-427-8409


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