The Bexley High School wrestling team went 1-1 in its home tri-match with Grandview and Centennial on Dec. 18.
The Lions topped the Bobcats 48-28 and fell to the Stars 42-33 to put their dual-meet record at 3-3 for the season. While that .500 mark might not seem like much, it is a sign of progress for a Bexley program that won just two duals a year ago and ended the season with just seven wrestlers on the roster.
"We're heading in the right direction, but we are not satisfied by any means," said coach Ed Cruz, who is in his second season of rebuilding the program. "We are working hard and improving, but we don't want our team to have the attitude that we have reached our goals.
"We're probably close to where we expected to be."
Senior captains Daniel Lee and Sam Shorr have led the way for the Lions, who have completed the 2013 portion of their schedule. Lee, who eventually is expected to move down to the 195-pound weight class, picked up a pair of wins at 220 against Grandview and Centennial, improving to 9-1 on the season. He pinned Grandview's Preston Robson in 1 minute, 32 seconds and pinned Centennial's Hunter Waits in 1:19.
Shorr won by forfeit at 132 against Grandview, which filled just six of the 14 weight classes for the match. Against Centennial, Shorr wasted little time, pinning Alfath Ahmed in 53 seconds to improve his record to 12-3 for the season.
Sophomore Dylan Cramer (152) collected a pair of victories by forfeit and now is 10-5 a season after finishing 13-24.
Freshman Jalen Hatton (170) was the only other Bexley wrestler to post a 2-0 mark against Grandview and Centennial. Lions wrestlers who went 1-1 included sophomore John Hartshorne (145), senior Gage Hedrick (160) and freshmen Parker Getz (182), Noah Miller (195), Perrin Ruff (113) and Zach Welsh (120).
"The next step is to get more aggressive on the mat," Cruz said. "If you get beat by a kid who is better than you, that is life in sports, but you have to go after him.
"We want the guys to beat the beat kids they should and then a couple they are not supposed to beat."
In addition to their dual meets, the Lions placed 13 of 17 teams in the Kilted Classic on Dec. 7 at Sparta Highland and eighth of 13 teams in the Hamilton Township Classic on Dec. 14.
Cruz said the team will have a couple days off over the holiday break but will continue to practice leading up to the Pioneer Invitational on Jan. 4 at Olentangy Orange.
"We're pushing hard and as the season goes on we are going to push harder," Cruz said. "Every time we make practice more intense they need to be more intense.
"Our kids are getting after people. We just need to get after them a little bit more."
Boys basketball team in midst of road trip
Four players scored in double figures as the boys basketball team defeated host Wellington 65-33 on Dec. 19.
Senior forward Sam Nolan led the way with 17 points and five rebounds as the Lions improved to 2-2 overall.
Senior forward Marshall Drewry followed with 12 points for Bexley, which led 22-7 after the first quarter and 49-14 at halftime. Junior point guard Niejel Young and junior guard Drew Esposito each added 10 points.
"It was a good win and the scoring was spread out," coach Dave Gustin said.
"We came out ready to play as a team. We played very unselfish."
The Lions were 1-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division before facing London on Dec. 21 in what was their third of five consecutive road games.
The first game in that stretch was a 65-51 win over Columbus Academy on Dec. 13 in the league opener.
Nolan has powered the Lions so far this season, scoring a career-high 31 points against the Vikings after finishing with 22 points in a 74-63 home loss to Watterson on Nov. 30 and 17 points in a 60-52 loss to visiting Circleville on Dec. 4.
Bexley continues its road trip with visits to Columbus South on Friday, Dec. 27, and Hamilton Township on Jan. 3 before returning home for a league game against Whitehall on Jan. 7.