There hasn't been a more dominant high school sports program in the Cleveland area, or arguably the state of Ohio, than the wrestling team at St. Edward. Since 1997, they have won every state wrestling championship but one. Every year, there seems to be a race for second place. However, this year, St. Edward has lost the majority of their starters from last year's state championship team, and if last week's Walsh Ironman Tournament is any indication, there may be another team from the Cleveland area ready to stake their claim to a state championship.
The Brecksville Bees
The Brecksville wrestling team flew under the radar for years, gradually getting better, and better, and better. Coach Todd Haverdill now has the Bees as perennial top 10 finishers at the state tournament. Last year, Brecksville finished 3rd, behind St. Edward and Massillon Perry, qualifying eight wrestlers for the state tournament. Six of those wrestlers return, and early this season are serving notice that they are a serious Division I title contender.
At last week's Walsh Ironman Tournament, considered the best high school wrestling tournament in the country, Brecksville finished 3rd among Division I schools, and 16th overall. They were just two points behind St. Edward. The Bees had two semi-finalist in Austin Assad and Josh Murphy. Assad lost 6-1 in his semi-final to the eventual Ironman champion, while Murphy lost 3-2 in overtime to projected Ohio state champion TeGray Scales of Cincinnati Colerain. Other returning state qualifiers include Sonny Lucas (4th in 2013), Austin Strnad (5th in 2013), Jason DeMicco, and Troy Lang. One major addition is 132 pounder Austin Hiles, who qualified for the state tournament last year as a freshman at St. Edward.
Not convinced yet?
Brecksville started their season by traveling to Urichsville Claymont to take on the Mustangs, who came into the season nationally ranked. Brecksville came away with an easy 41-18 win. Intermat Wrestling currently ranks Brecksville as the 13th best team in the country, and the 3rd best team in Ohio behind Cincinnati Moeller and Massillon Perry.
Can they win the state title?....If they don't, it won't be because they aren't prepared
Talk to any good wrestling coach coaches, and they will tell you that they want to wrestle the toughest competition possible leading up to the state tournament. Brecksville sure is doing that. In addition to the Ironman Tournament, the Bees will travel to the University of Delaware for the Beast of the East Tournament, considered the 2nd toughest high school tournament in the country. The Bees will then travel to Detroit, as Detroit Central Catholic will host their annual Super Duals, consisting of the best teams in Michigan. Then there are the state of Ohio team duals, where we could see the Bees go head-to-head with the likes of Moeller, Perry and St. Edward. Brecksville should get a real good idea on where they stand heading into the state tournament by the time they get through that schedule.
Anything can happen at the state tournament.....even a public school winning a state title
Wadsworth in 2010 proved it could be done. Brecksville will need to get some breaks, as Moeller and Perry will be strong also. It should be arguably the best team race in a long time. There are four teams that could win a state title, and seeing these wrestlers square off against one another will have a HUGE impact on what team ends the reign of St. Edward in Ohio wrestling. Perry is probably the favorite, and Moeller returns all eleven starting wrestlers from its team last season, so it won't be easy for Brecksville.
But as Woody Hayes once said:
"Nothing that comes easy is worth a dime"
All the hard work, and the brutal schedule COULD have Brecksville on the verge of a state title
A public school winning a state wrestling title?
Why not Brecksville?