Sports Talk: 2 gifted wrestlers

Their individual records speak for themselves.

So far, Warren’s Levi Congleton and Waterford’s Austin Lang each is undefeated on the wrestling mat this winter.

The Warrior standout is 25-0 and the Wildcat star is 19-0.

About midway through the grappling season, that’s pretty impressive. Whether each can continue at that unbeaten pace remains to be seen.

Needless to say, it’ll be a difficult task for both of them, because there’s a lot of good, quality wrestlers out there in the Buckeye State.

Last year, Congleton qualified for the OHSAA State Wrestling Tournament at The Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University. A sophomore at the time, he wrestled in the 106 weight division.

In Congleton’s opening bout at state, he suffered a 16-1 setback, but then rallied to win his second do-or-die match, pinning Millersburg’s Cole Woods in a time of 3:32.

Later, he bowed out in the consolation round, and finished the campaign with a 42-6 overall record and a single season school-record in falls with 37.

This season, Congleton has bumped up in weight classes, and has been competing at 113 and occasionally at 120. Early on, the junior Warrior reached the century mark in career mat victories, and, if he can stay healthy, he’s got a good chance of becoming Warren’s all-time win leader in his senior season.

“Levi has a lot of wrestling knowledge and mat time,” said Warren head wrestling coach Mike Pahl.

At a Belpre tri-match Wednesday night, Congleton earned a tech fall victory and won by a forfeit.

Congleton and his Warrior teammates are slated to wrestle in the Larry Remmert Memorial Invitational at Sheridan in Thornville at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Lang also advanced to state, for the first time, in the 126-pound weight class last season, and went 0-2 in the double-elimination tournament. Still, with over 40 wins to his credit and going to state in the process, he enjoyed a memorable junior season.

Lang is hoping his senior year will be even better.

“Last year was Austin’s first trip to state,” said Waterford wrestling boss Scott Zimmer. “He is working hard to make sure he is on the podium this year.”

This winter, Lang is wrestling at 132.

Last weekend at Shadyside’s Last Man Standing Tournament, he went 5-0 and claimed his weight class with a 4-1 decision over Harrison Central’s. Hunter Pizzino.

With that performance at Shadyside, Lang surpassed Tyler Reed to become Waterford’s all-time career leader in wins with 168.

That’s 168 and counting.

This weekend, Lang and his Wildcat grappling teammates are scheduled to compete in a tournament at Alexander at 10 a.m.

And, finally, Warren’s 285-pounder Brandon Pahl had been undefeated on the mat, going into last weekend’s Conn’s Duals at Meadowbrook High in Byesville.

Unfortunately, though, Pahl dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to Martins Ferry’s Jonathon Bodkin, and finished the tourney with a 4-1 mark.

“When Brandon came off the mat, he was shaking his head,” said Mike Pahl, Brandon’s father and coach.

“He couldn’t believe he’d lost.

“I think if he wrestled that kid (Bodkin) eight more times, he’d win everyone of the matches.”

Brandon Pahl is the owner of a 25-1 record, which ain’t too shabby.

At the Belpre tri-match, he claimed two forfeits.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at