wrestling team is one of the greatest teams, regardless of sport, in
the history of Ohio high school athletics. The Falcons, No. 1 in the country, will win their eighth straight D-II state title this weekend. With 13 qualifiers and 11 district champions, Graham is also pursuing a couple state records – the most hallowed being Cleveland West's six individual champions in 1951.
The argument can be made that the 2007-08 St. Paris Graham High School wrestling team is one of the greatest teams, regardless of sport, in the history of Ohio high school athletics.
At the very least, the Falcons are the best team in the country this season.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Amateur Wrestling News, Graham enters the Division II state tournament looking for its eighth straight state title and 10th overall, which would move it into a second place tie with Maple Heights for the most ever. A victory would also likely lock up the school’s first national championship.
As for the “greatest” tag, that can be reinforced by a standout performance at the state tournament where Graham is a serious threat to shatter the all-divisional points record of 229 set by Lakewood St. Edward last year.
The Falcons also have the potential to break one of the most hallowed records in state tournament history – Cleveland West’s six individual state titles in 1951.
According to the famed Brakeman Report, 12 of 14 Graham wrestlers are ranked in the top four of their respective weight classes heading into the postseason. Five are projected winners. Last year, the Falcons had seven guys in the finals.
Doubters can’t question Graham’s validity as the best team in the state regardless of division this season either. St. Ed, arguably the most storied wrestling program in the country, may very well win its record 12th straight state title in D-I and 24th overall. But the Eagles will take a back seat to the Falcons – finally.
Graham beat St. Ed the first week of the season at the fabled Walsh Ironman Invitational in Cuyahoga Falls and followed that with a victory on the Eagles home floor in the finals of the Super Eight Duals a week later. That defeat was the first suffered by the Eagles to an Ohio team in a dual since a loss to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in 1997.
One other ghost was conquered at the Ironman when Graham also beat New Jersey prep power Blair Academy.
“It’s always been our goal to make a run at the mythical national championship and to do that we knew we had to beat St. Ed and Blair Academy and we did that the first week of the season,” Graham coach Jeff Jordan said. “The second week, we beat St. Ed again in a dual meet. This team has accomplished what no other team in Graham history has accomplished. And right now, unless we have some major mishap we should be getting that national title.”
After the first seven days of the season, Graham was a solid No. 1 in the national rankings. It hasn’t budged since.
To read the rest of this story pick up the latest issue of Ohio High Magazine or subscribe by clicking here: