When he’s not wrestling, Gabe Stark wears black-framed eyeglasses that make him look like a newscaster — probably on the Mat Channel.
He’s able to focus and deliver his message clearly and concisely, with a pleasant smile added to keep his audience glued to the TV set.
But that may be 10 years down the road.
For now, the 145-pound state champion is enjoying his recent achievement.
“It’s a great feeling and a good way to end my high school career,” the 18-year-old son of Bob and Trisha Stark said of his 127-31 won-loss record. “It’s what you work for and it all worked out. Everything went the way it should have. It couldn’t have gone better.”
His final match in Columbus was a 4-2 decision over Bryan’s Shelden Struble, which enabled him to conclude with a 43-3 record to set a school mark for most wins in a season — previously 42 by Greg Ryan.
He became Howland’s first state champ since Brad Gintert won at 132 pounds in 1984 in Class AAA, when Barry Reinhardt was coaching.
Stark recalls the time his interest in the sport surfaced.
“I was in the second-grade looking through my dad’s newspaper clippings with articles and his picture and I really looked up to him and wanted to wrestle as well,” he said.
But keeping Gabe on the path wasn’t easy for his father.
“When I was younger, I wanted to be done, but he pushed me through,” Gabe said. “I didn’t want to go to practice and tournaments. I’m grateful for him pushing me.”
He also credits Reinhardt and Jack Raver and Dom Mancini of the Green Machine Wrestling Club.
He continues to practice twice a week and most recently won the 170 class at a Greco-Roman qualifier in Copley.
Just like a newscaster on a TV set facing a camera, wrestling is one-on-one.
“It’s a tough sport,” said Stark, with an eye on Cleveland State.
Tune in. Same Mat Channel, same mat time.