SHAKER HTS. — If there was one thing you could always count on when it came to high school wrestling, it was the Brakemen Report.
The annual handout by wrestling guru Brian Brakeman not only listed the top wrestlers in the state, it also predicted how those athletes would do.
For the first time in over 40 years, Brakeman has decided to discontinue the report.
“I was shocked and disappointed that this great tool for coaches, wrestlers and fans is not going to be available,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “He was amazing, educating us on all the wrestlers in the state of Ohio and across the nation.”
Brakeman said in a press release Sunday that with so many websites and Internet bloggers doing roughly the same thing he started in 1971, his report “has been rendered unnecessary.”
While there are a variety of rankings and other prognosticators, Brakeman’s report carried a prestige that was unmatched.
“If you were mentioned in Brakeman as a wrestler, school or coach, you felt like you had arrived and were honored to be considered part of the elite,”
Gramuglia said. “When you were ranked, you started to believe sometimes for the first time that you were better than you thought. It gave you confidence.
“Of course, the reverse was always possible, not getting mentioned or ranked lower than you thought. It gave you incentive to prove him wrong.”
Brakeman thanked numerous people who helped him put the report together and said the decision to stop was a tough one. He talked about his “labor of love” and thanked the fans for their comments, both positive and negative.
With Brakeman’s exit, the debate begins on whose word will be considered the official one when it comes to predicting and ranking Ohio’s top wrestlers.
One thing is for certain, though: Brakeman was a trailblazer in every sense of the word.
“Brian was way ahead of the wrestling world,” Gramuglia said. “He and the report helped the growth of wrestling in Ohio. Without this great concept he began, the sport of wrestling would not be where it has grown in popularity, especially in Ohio. This is why wrestling is so huge in this area.
“We owe him so much. He is a legend that will live on for decades to come.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.