Coach Joe Moyer is looking to have his St. Charles Preparatory School wrestlers fine-tune their skills in his third season.
The Cardinals have four seniors and also return sophomore Tim Rooney, who was the first freshman in program history to reach the state tournament.
"We don't have to work on the basics as much as we have in the past two years because of the experience we have back," Moyer said. "We can work on refining things, and working to get better."
Seniors back are Andrew Donahey (182 pounds), Andrew Kyser (heavyweight), Dustin Obergfell (145) and Mason Tigner (160). Also returning are juniors Matt Cannon (152) and Will Whalen (120/126) and sophomores Cole Delaney (160/171), Rooney (126) and Danny Wolfe (106).
On Dec. 1 in the season-opening Franklin Heights Invitational, the Cardinals tied Grove City for fourth (126 points) of 13 teams, behind champion Thomas Worthington (297). Rooney, Obergfell and Cannon won titles.
"We have 16 guys with varsity experience and we had 10 or 11 last year, and that can help out a lot in practice," Moyer said. "The numbers keep growing in the right direction."
Also expected to see varsity time are juniors Christian Noonan (220) and Will Somodi (182/195) and sophomores Kit MacDonald (195), Yasin Mahmud (160/171), Patrick Somodi (132) and Nick Valin (138).
Last season in the Division I state tournament at Ohio State, the Cardinals tied Ashtabula Lakeside, North Olmsted and Westerville Central for 62nd (3) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (233.5) as 84 teams scored.
Rooney went 1-2 at 120 pounds at state to finish 36-7. He finished third at district at Hilliard Darby, where Obergfell went 1-2 at 138 to finish 27-14 and Kyser was 0-2 to finish 12-21. St. Charles tied Reynoldsburg for 26th (19) at district behind champion Marysville (174) as 37 teams scored.
In the 10-team sectional at Central Crossing, St. Charles finished ninth (80) behind champion Dublin Coffman (196.5). Rooney won a sectional title, Obergfell took third and Kyser was fourth.
In the CCL tournament, the Cardinals were third behind host Hartley (191.5) and Ready (180.5) and ahead of DeSales (114) and Watterson (16.5). Obergfell and Tigner (160) won titles.
Swimming team young but promising
The swimming and diving team finished second (270) in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State behind Upper Arlington (370) as 48 teams scored.
The Cardinals also lost to Hunting Valley University School 154-149 on Dec. 7.
"We have done a fairly good job of training," fourth-year coach Geoff Gear said. "We have a pretty young team with a lot of potential. The team atmosphere and attitude have been good in the first month."
The Cardinals have 30 swimmers in the program, plus two divers in sophomores Nick Mitevski and Will Sievert.
Seniors include captains Alex Kendall and Nick McKinley as well as Carl Calcara and Tyler George. Sam Aslaner, Andrew Hoffman, Casey Horan, Franz Kabelka and Max Penn are juniors.
"The seniors are a small group, but they have done a nice job of bringing the team along," Gear said. "We pretty much have a strong swimmer in each of the individual events. Our strength is probably the balance of our team."
Last season in the Division I state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton, the Cardinals tied Worthington Kilbourne for 27th (21) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (297) as 47 teams scored.
McKinley was 16th in the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 56.91 seconds) and 22nd (1:00.08) in the 100 breaststroke. Daniel Cogan, a 2012 graduate, was 24th (2:00.7) in the 200 IM.
Also at state, the 200 freestyle relay of Cogan, Calcara and 2012 graduates Zach Poltor and Ryan Doyle was 12th (1:27.51), the 400 free relay of Cogan, Poltor and 2012 graduates Alex Kocher and Jordan Krumpelman was 14th (3:14.56) and the 200 medley relay of Kocher, 2012 graduate Chris D'Angelo, Cogan and Poltor was 13th (1:38.59).
In the district meet at Ohio State, the Cardinals finished second (336.5) behind champion UA (435). St. Charles was second (300) at sectional behind host UA (397.5).
The Cardinals also won their 14th consecutive CCL title, scoring 447 points in the home league meet as Hartley (238), Watterson (119), DeSales (104) and Ready (7) followed.
Bowling team continues success
The bowling team picked up where it left off last season, winning its first two Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division matches.
The Cardinals defeated DeSales 1,882-1,788 in their opener Dec. 4 at Capri Lanes. Senior Tom Cianflona was medalist with a 397, followed by senior Kyle Huston (350) and junior Noah Thomas (288).
On Dec. 5, St. Charles defeated Northland 1,897-1,463 at HP Lanes. Thomas (358) led the Cardinals, followed by Huston (354), Cianflona (346) and senior Stuart Sprigler (322).
Last season, St. Charles was 15-1 overall and 14-0 in the COHSBC-Central, finishing ahead of Brookhaven (12-2), DeSales (11-3), Centennial (10-4), Northland (10-4), Ready (9-5), Columbus Academy (7-7), Grandview (7-7), Hartley (7-7), Watterson (7-7), Beechcroft (4-10), Columbus West (4-10), Mifflin (2-12), Linden-McKinley (1-13) and Haugland Learning Center (0-14).
"Our first goal would be to repeat an undefeated (league) record and defeat all of the CCL schools," sixth-year coach Michael Warner said. "That is always a great source of pride for our students and something that is a challenge with the improved squads all CCL teams are fielding this season."
The Cardinals have five returning letterwinners in Cianflona, senior Darren Delimond, Huston, Sprigler and Thomas. The team also includes seniors Chris Couture and Tristan Kinnison and freshmen Marcus Galeano, Ryan Siesel and James Sullivan.
"We have a core group of leaders who had great success last year," said Warner, whose team finished 24th (2,444) in the 32-team Holiday Baker Marathon on Dec. 8 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace behind champion Fairport Harding (3,294).
"They know what it takes to win and get past sectional. It's great to have this group mentoring our three freshmen, who have each shown good promise."
In last year's district tournament at HP Lanes, the Cardinals finished 11th (3,513) of 18 teams, behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,962), as the top three teams advanced to state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
In a sectional at Eastland Lanes, the Cardinals finished seventh (3,375) of 28 teams, behind champion Westerville South (3,916), as the top nine squads moved on to district.