Wadsworth wrestler Brad Squire steamrolled through his freshman season unbeaten, winning the 2007 Division I state championship at 119 pounds. Last year, he fell in the finals in overtime. Squire is aiming for another state title. He’ll have to overcome injury and maybe an old nemesis to do so.
Wadsworth wrestling coach John Gramuglia suspected that Brad Squire’s talent was rather advanced for his age.
Never mind that the kid was barely out of kindergarten.
The community boasts a highly successful youth program, which Squire joined at age five. Gramuglia didn’t need a crystal ball to see that he would eventually play a major role on the varsity.
And he was right. Squire steamrolled through his freshman season unbeaten, winning the 2007 Division I state championship at 119 pounds. Last year, he fell in the title match in overtime to Massillon Perry’s Seth Horner at 130 pounds. Squire has lost just three matches in his high school career – all to Horner, whom he’s beaten twice.
That success has certainly come as no shock to Gramuglia.
“I’d say it was probably third or fourth grade when Brad really started to separate himself from the pack,” Gramuglia recalls. “He had become much more advanced in terms of his positioning and motion and technique. And his skills picked up naturally when he became a student of the sport. I knew he was going to be a state finalist.”
Squire, whose younger brother Kagan has already earned a starting spot as a freshman with the Grizzlies, was motivated by his father to participate in the sport.
The younger Squire played soccer, baseball and football during his youth as well, but concentrated solely on wrestling when he arrived at Wadsworth High School simply because he understood it was his best sport. Squire took to wrestling like a fish takes to water, though it required a bit of time for him to embrace wrestling and develop his own style.
“I remember liking it just a little bit when I first started wrestling,” Squire says. “I really started to enjoy it when I got my first trophy at five years old.
“I’m really a simple kind of wrestler. I like to do the main takedowns. It’s nothing fancy. I get some pins, but I get more decisions. I’ll go for pins, but I usually end of with major decisions or technical falls.”
What he almost always ends up with are victories. And Gramuglia understands why.
“Brad is a very powerful kid,” says Gramuglia, who has moved Squire to the 145-pound weight class this season. “He stays in really good positioning and he executes his takedowns. He’s very good on top and on the bottom. He can ride out a match as well. He’s going to be a good collegiate wrestler. He’s just a very complete wrestler.”
Squire hopes some Big Ten coach learns that eventually. He hopes to land a Division I scholarship and would prefer it to be at a Big Ten school.
“Getting a scholarship is a big deal,” says Squire, who plans on dabbling in the medical field with the intention of becoming an athletic trainer. “I would like to go to a Big 10 school, but if I get a better offer somewhere else, I will go there.”
Until then, he will concentrate on improving his skills on the mat. His matches against Horner will provide a measuring stick as to how far he has developed and how much he needs to grow to maximize his talents as a wrestler.
Gramuglia believes the overtime loss in the title match to Horner will motivate Squire, but he understands that the Perry wrestler must be respected for his own talents.
“That was one of those matches that could have gone either way,” Gramuglia says about last year’s state final. “Horner is just an outstanding wrestler. He found out a few things that allowed him to frustrate Brad a little bit. He slowed down the match by playing the edges. Brad likes to just wrestle, but Horner is a little bit more strategic.”
Squire must wait to launch his 2008 season. He broke his bursar sack several weeks ago, but will return soon. And when he does, he will be targeting the state championship he had gained as a freshman and lost as a sophomore.
“I’m just going to take it one match at a time,” he says. “But winning state is definitely a goal of mine this year. I’ve trained really hard and have done a little extra work. I did that my freshman year to keep my weight down, but last year didn’t do as much weight training as I should have. This year I’m going to be stronger.”
That’s a rather frightening thought for the 145-pound wrestlers in the area. But if they had seen Squire wrestle when he was a kid, they would have realized he would eventually blossom into a wrestler to be reckoned with.