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The first true sign that winter is coming to an end was posted on various websites (including this one) last week… the 40th Annual Brakeman Report is out.
Much like Phil making his prognostication of the end of winter, Brakeman’s annual picks are something looked forward to by even the casual wrestling fan in the state of Ohio.
Much like the polls throughout the season, there aren’t any surprises as to who should walk off with the team titles this season. Graham should win their 11th straight in D-II, Bedford St. Peter Chanel in D-III and St. Edward – after being knocked off the throne last season by Wadsworth – looks poised to regain the top spot in D-I.
The pick at D-III shows one thing is becoming more a factor at the state tournament: Depth over Hammers.
Monroeville will most likely have three guys claim their fourth state title this season, but it appears they don’t have the depth to put other points on the board at the state level to keep them at the top of the leaderboard. In fact, add in the depth of CVCA, among others, and Monroeville may have to battle to remain in the top 5.
Felipe Martinez appearing at Genoa late in the season could also send some wrestlers exiting 152 and heading elsewhere. Versailles’ Thomas Fullenkamp has been dominant this year at either 152 or 160 and Covington’s Andrew DeHart also has room to move if he wished to.
In D-II, while the team race will be decided by the semis, the finals could have some outstanding finals – if rankings hold correct. Matt Stephens (Graham) and Ian Miller (Oak Harbor) at 152, Konner Witt (Oak Harbor) and Isaac Jordan (Graham) at 160 with Travis McIntosh (Miami Trace) and defending state champ Logan Erb (Wapakoneta) staged for a rematch at 189. McIntosh defeated Erb earlier in the season in UTB.
In D-I, the last match of the season could be one of the best.
Centerville’s Kyle Rose – signed and sealed to West Virginia for football – and St. Ed’s Greg Kuhar could meet in a mammoth battle at 285. It is doubtful Kuhar’s match will have much to do with a team race that went down to the wire last season, but it will be a great match.
Now, if the brackets will cooperate, there will be some monster finals… if not, then we will have some tremendous semis or quarters…
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Josh Stevens, Beavercreek, 125: Stevens recorded a pin over D-II projected state champ Josh Nelson of Oakwood during a hard fought dual win for the Beavers.
Bad week for Elder: Elder, who had been ranked fifth in the state, had a tough week.
First the Panthers were blown out by Moeller before closing the week with a loss to a Mason team who is serving notice they may be a serious contended during the Month of Champions.
Month of Champions begins: The Month of Champions kicks off this weekend across the state with some league tournaments taking place.
One of the big ones will be at Centerville where the Greater Western Ohio Conference will converge. The team race should be interesting with the depth of Beavercreek, Centerville and Fairmont against a few hammers for schools like Springboro and Piqua.