“He's funny and colorful. He's always got a mouthful to say. He lives and breathes wrestling. He's wrestled a lot and did what he did with our schedule, which is brutal.” -- coach Mark Marinelli
Seconds after he had won the Division I state championship at 113 pounds March 11 at Ohio State, Olentangy Liberty High School senior wrestler Brakan Mead raised his hands and motioned to the crowd that it was time for them to cheer.
According to coach Mark Marinelli, leadership – on and off the mat – comes naturally to Mead, who has been named the ThisWeek Super 12 captain.
“He’s funny and colorful,” Marinelli said. “He’s always got a mouthful to say. He lives and breathes wrestling. He’s wrestled a lot and did what he did with our schedule, which is brutal.”
After pinning Olentangy’s Jacob Sherman in 3 minutes, 35 seconds March 4 to win his second consecutive district title, Mead opened state with a pin in 3:22 of Cincinnati La Salle’s Antoine Allen.
He then beat Elyria’s Dylan Shawver 5-3, Mentor’s Parker Brunkala 7-1 and Lakewood St. Edward’s Bryce Hepner 2-0 to help Liberty score the most points among Central District teams in Division I state history.
The Patriots (122) finished behind St. Edward (151) and Elyria (128.5), but their point total would have been good enough to win the title in 2009, 2013 and 2015.
Standing atop the state podium felt like a natural progression for Mead, who went 53-4 this season.
“You get here and you go to the mat with 20,000 people in the stands and this is home,” he said. “You get under the lights, and it’s just such an amazing experience.”
Mead, who lists Ohio State, Kent State, Ohio University, Northern Illinois and Edinboro among the schools he’s interested in competing for collegiately, was a three-time state placer.
After going 28-11 and reaching district as a freshman at 106, Mead stayed at that weight the next two years, going 41-4 with a state runner-up finish as a sophomore and 45-3 with a third-place finish as a junior.
He closed his prep career with a 167-22 record.
Among Mead’s other accom-plishments this season were winning a sectional title and first-place finishes in the Liberty Classic and the Brecksville Holiday Tournament.
“Every year I learned a little more,” Mead said. “The community we have and the support system and the coaching staff, it’s unbelievable. Having that support system behind me has really fueled my success the last three years.”ALSO ON FIRST TEAM
Jared Ball (Hilliard Darby, Jr., 182), Connor Brady (Olentangy Liberty, So., 152), Dom Demas (Dublin Coffman, Sr., 145), Gio DiSabato (Hilliard Davidson, Jr., 120), Ben Frye (Dublin Coffman, Sr., Hwt.), Trey Grenier (Olentangy Liberty, Sr., 145), Josiah Harrell (Licking Heights, Sr., 170), Trevor Lawson (Olentangy Liberty, Jr., 170), Jaden Mattox (Central Crossing, Jr., 152), Jordan Rosselli (Olentangy Liberty, Jr., 120), Max Wright (Delaware, Sr., 195).HONORABLE MENTION
Forest Belli (Northridge, Jr., 152), Tre’ Bogetich (Westerville Central, Sr., 132), Max Boyd (Watkins Memorial, Sr., 182), Zach Collins (Central Crossing, Sr., 113), Mike Ezenekwe (Olentangy Liberty, Sr., 220), Josh Grant (Westerville North, Sr., 132), Walker Heard (Marysville, So., 138), Bryce Houston (Olentangy Orange, Jr., 220), Hudson Jump (Grandview, So., 195 ), Kyle Lawson (Olentangy Liberty, Sr., 160), Jake Marsh (Marysville, Jr., 145), Jake Martinez (Licking Valley, Sr., 138), Derek Sharp (Marysville, Sr., 126), Steele Strout (Northridge, Sr., 160), Brian Zimmerman (Dublin Scioto, Sr., 220).PAST CAPTAINS
Central Crossing’s Kameron Teacher (2016), Marysville’s Taleb Rahmani (2015), Austin Pfarr (2014) and Noah Forrider (2013), Olentangy Liberty’s Roy Daniels (2012), Hilliard Davidson’s Chase Delande (2011), Westerville North’s Josh Demas (2009, 2010) and Jesse Dong (2008), Westerville Central’s Brendan Barlow (2007), Westerville South’s Anthony Ciraky (2006), Hamilton Township’s Nick Hackett (2005), New Albany’s Larry Reichard (2004), Westland’s T.J. Enright (2003), Hamilton Township’s Jason Hackett (2002), DeSales’ C.P. Schlatter (2000, 2001), Ready’s Tommy Rowlands (2000) and Pickerington’s Keaton Anderson (1999).