Brian Brakeman retires

It’s the end of an era for the wrestling community.

For the past 41 years, at the end of January, wrestlers, coaches, media and fans have waited with anticipation for the latest installment of The Brakeman Report to see where local wrestlers were ranked among Ohio’s best.

This year, though, the man behind the painstaking project, 70-year-old Brian Brakeman, has decided to retire, meaning 2013 will be the first year since 1971 that the report won’t be available.

The report would rank the top 20-25 wrestlers in each division and weight class. The highlight would be the projected state champ, in which Brakeman owned around a 70-percent success rate.

Last year, Brakeman successfully predicted 13 of the 14 state champions in Division I. In 2011, 30 of his 42 projected winners won titles.

In the age of computers, iPads and Google, it can be hard to understand how much work went into the report before even fax machines were available.

In the early days, Brakeman was forced to beg for brackets and tournament results from coaches and tournament directors from around the state. He also spent hours poring over newspaper results.

After the research was done, Brakeman would hand write his report and have it typed out, which usually equalled around 100 pages. He would then run off close to 100 copies and send them to coaches around the state.

High school Xerox machines around the state would start humming shortly after as they churned out copy after copy which ended up in the hands of coaches, reporters and fans.

More recently, the report was available online, but it still came in around 100 pages each year. Copies of it could still seen tucked under arms of people all over the state tournament in Columbus.

With the advent of the Internet, though, various websites and organizations have also joined the fray of which Brakeman was the lone voice for years.

“Its objective from the start — identifying and forecasting the participants in the state meet — has been rendered unnecessary by the explosion of data and data analysts on the Internet,” Brakeman said in a statement.

While that may or may not be true, the wrestling community will certainly miss what had come to be known as Ohio’s wrestling bible.

@MJ_smahoney

Last Updated: 1/26/2013 8:01:27 PM EST

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