Jordan Earnest can recite the names on the walls of the John P. Gramuglia Wrestling Facility at Wadsworth without hesitation.
The Grizzlies heavyweight can rattle off Ed Engler, Keith Wolfe, Ken Cartwright, Junior McCrork, Jim Sailors, Bobby Jones, Chris Kallai Jr., Matt Kallai, Timmy Miller, David Crowley, Brad Squire, Louden Gordon, Nick Tavanello, Ben Buzzelli and Noah Baughman like he’s reciting the alphabet.
Those 15 former state champions are immortalized on the walls of the wrestling room. Earnest knows them by heart because he has stared up at them for years in the hopes of joining them, which is exactly what the Gazette MVP will do when an illustration goes up for all to see next season.
Earnest, who won the Division I state title this season at heavyweight, exits for Ohio University in the fall, but his name will join the greats at Wadsworth.
“That means everything to me,” Earnest said. “It shows how far I’ve come since freshman year. Having ‘G’ point on that wall back then to being up there forever for everyone to look up to and remember what I did is awesome. To know that I did all the extra stuff I could to get it feels great.”
It was that extra work that really took Earnest from an outstanding wrestler to an elite technician.
He burst on the scene as a junior by placing at the Walsh Ironman. Earnest eventually placed fourth at the state tournament.
After that, he took his skills to another level by heeding the words of his coach and putting in the extra work.
Anyone who made a trip to Wadsworth High in the fall undoubtedly ran into Earnest either running, hitting the weights or putting in extra time in the room.
“He was always doing something to better himself,” Gramuglia said. “He was eating right, running and wrestling. He was doing it all. That’s what makes our program roll. It’s what makes everything stick.”
What made everything that much better was a summer of 2017 that few will ever forget as the heavyweight took up freestyle again in an effort to better himself.
It started in Akron with Earnest becoming the first person from Wadsworth to win a UWW (Fila) national title and continued with a strong showing at Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D.
“He was around all the college kids at UWW,” Gramuglia said. “All those big college coaches are watching you. You’re around guys that wrestled in the NCAAs. You’re in the same tournament and it showed, ‘Gosh, I’m in this big of a tournament.’ Then he goes out and wins it. That was his breakout.”
The title proved to Earnest that he wasn’t just good on an Ohio scale, but on a national one as well.
It also took the heavyweight from being a solid wrestler who could compete with the best to one who dictated how every match went.
With the help of freestyle, where you have to know your surroundings at all times, Earnest took his game to another level.
The proof came in the fact he finished the season 48-1 and led Medina County in winning percentage (.980), takedowns (172) and pins (35).
His only loss came to the No. 2 wrestler in the nation in Cohlton Schultz of Ponderosa, Co., when the cadet world champion beat him 5-3 in the Ironman semifinals.
Earnest rolled off 42 straight wins after that and capped off an incredible senior season by beating St. Xavier’s Jack Heyob 2-1 in the state final.
“Just thinking about how much extra stuff I did helped put my mind at ease in the tunnel at the state tournament,” Earnest said. “Knowing that I did all that extra and it paid off, it was an amazing feeling.”
Contact Brad Bournival at Bournival929@gmail.com.