State mat time: Warren’s Pahl, Caldwell’s Rayner stand on podium

COLUMBUS – Brandon Pahl posted a 4-2 record at the 77th annual state wrestling tournament inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.

Warren’s junior heavyweight lost both his opening and last match in the event.

But in between, in the consolation rounds, Pahl (51-8) rallied to win four straight to earn All-Ohio status.

“He exceeded all expectations,” said Warren head wrestling coach/father Mike Pahl. “I’m so proud of him.”

According to the elder Pahl, Warren had not had a state placer in any weight division since 1997. Furthermore, Brandon Pahl became the school’s first 285-pounder to stand on the podium in Columbus.

One of the younger Pahl’s mat wins at state was against nemesis Evan Loughman of Sheridan. Prior to state, the Warrior grappler was 0-3 against the Panther junior, going into the state tournament.

Pahl was hoping to wrestle Loughman at the Wilmington D2 district on Feb. 21-22, but it didn’t happen. Still, both qualified for state at district.

Finally, this past Saturday at state, the twosome, after both earned All-Ohio honors Friday, squared off for the fourth time this winter.

Pahl was ready, determined, and it wasn’t going to be a one-point match this time as he decisioned Loughman 10-4. After Loughman, the Warrior standout faced Franklin’s Chase Henderson in a battle for third place at state, and came up short, dropping a 3-0 decision.

Loughman, in turn, finished fifth at state. The Sheridan grappler now knows that it really is difficult to beat an opponent on the mat four times in a season.

With both Pahl and Loughman being juniors, they are expected to meet again on the mat in their senior seasons.

Here’s how Pahl fared in his first state appearance in the 285-pound D2 weight class Feb. 27-28 and March 1:

1. Billy Miller (Perry) won by pin over Pahl, 1:46.

2. Pahl won in overtime over William Vanmeter (Licking Valley) 7-1.

3. Pahl won by pin over Kostas Parrish (University School) 4:46.

4. Pahl won in overtime over Joshua Kempf (River View) 2-1.

5. Pahl won by decision over Loughman 10-4.

6. Chase Henderson (Franklin) won by decision over Pahl 3-0.

Final notes, at district, Pahl, a fourth-placer, was 0-2 versus nemesis Gavin Peacock of Ross, a third placer. At state, the duo did not compete.

Peacock finished 1-2 and did not place in Columbus.

Pahl is currently at 100-plus career wrestling victories – and counting.

Caldwell senior Kameron Rayner had a see-saw battle in the Ohio Division III weight class of 132 pounds at the state wrestling tournament. Win one lose one. Win one, lose one. And finally win one to finish seventh for the second consecutive year at the main event.

“What a way to end his senior year,” said Caldwell head wrestling coach Tom Brown. “I’m very proud of him.”

Last year at state, the Redskins’ grappler competed at 138.

Rayner (49-6) posted a 3-2 mark to earn a trip to the podium on Saturday.

All of Rayner’s matches were determined by decisions and relatively tight, except for a 9-4 setback to Covington’s Ryan Ford in the winners bracket Friday.

Here’s how Rayner fared in his second state appearance Feb. 27-28 and March 1:

1. Rayner won by decision Dustin Marteney (Delta) 4-0

2. Ryan Ford (Covington) won by over Rayner 9-4

3. Rayner won by decision over Nate Frye (Cuyahoga Heights) 6-2

4. Trent Soto (Tontogany Otsego) won by decision over Rayner 4-3

5. Rayner won by decision over Wes Fritz (St. Paul’s) 4-2.

Final notes on Kameron Rayner. He has an older brother Kale, who is a Wheeling Jesuit grappler, and a younger brother Kolby (37-11), also a 2014 state qualifier at 126 as a sophomore.