Howland sends pair of best friends to State Wrestling Tournament

HOWLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Twenty four of the best high school wrestlers from here in Valley will head to Columbus Thursday for the State Tournament. That includes a pair of Howland seniors that have been best friends, and wrestling together for more than a decade.

“When I first met him” says Howland senior Chris Julian. “He was a shy kid, and I don’t know, he just needed a friend.”

Howland seniors Chris Julian and Brandon Matlock have been friends since 1st grade wrestling practice. And because they’re similiar in size, they’ve spent the last 11 years training against each other.

“It’s a good experience”, says Matlock. “It’s your best friend. It’s always competition in it. So you’re always getting the best work you can.”

So who’s the better wrestler? Julian says, “Well, earlier in high school, it’d usually be Brandon because I was still getting used to my body.”

Matlock had a more political approach, “It usually goes back and forth.”

“Earlier in middle school he was always the dominant wrestler and I was always like, I was average.”, says Julian. “And I started getting better and better each year and I started competing with him, which made him a better wrestler.”

Now they’ve both qualified for the State Tournament in Columbus. Matlock has been before, placing 4th last year at 285 pounds. This year, it’s Julian that will represent that weight class, so both have a shot at a state title.

“I don’t know. That’d be crazy.”, says Julian. “That’d be so exciting. We talk about it all the time and if it ever happened it’d be nuts. And it’s so close so we’re both going to try and get it this week and reach our goals because this is our last chance to do it together.”