Only two members of the Groveport Madison High School wrestling team have Division I district tournament experience, and one of them might not be available to compete in the postseason this year.
Malcolm Solack, who is 12-4 at 220 pounds this season, is out with a knee injury. The junior qualified for district last season at 195.
"Malcolm is the latest Cruiser wrestler to go down with an injury," coach Pat Niemann said. "He had an MRI (Jan. 31), so we will see about him come postseason time."
Groveport concludes the regular season with an OCC-Ohio Division dual against Lancaster on Thursday, Feb. 6, at home. It then will prepare for a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Marysville.
The Cruisers, who are 1-5 in the OCC-Ohio, will have just two seniors in their postseason lineup in Dayrel Billingsley (145) and Ryan Smith (120). Their lineup also will include junior Shakur Laney (113), a state qualifier a year ago.
Laney placed fourth at state last season at 106 after winning a district championship. He finished 33-8 last season and was 33-2 entering the Comet Tournament on Feb. 1 at Central Crossing.
"Shakur has wrestled extremely well and (has) earned some quality wins. His goal is a state championship," Niemann said. "I feel he has improved by being on the mat all year long.
"Shakur got almost 80 matches in between the last two seasons. With that much mat time, he is anticipating and reacting at an incredible speed, which makes it very difficult for an opponent to score on him. With his athleticism, it is extremely fun to watch."
Before competing in the Comet Tournament, sophomore Matt Miller was 19-11 at 106 and Billingsley was 15-9.
"Matt Miller and Dayrel Billingsley have wrestled well all season," Niemann sad. "Miller is second on the team with 19 wins. Dayrel has really done a great job as well. I think both of them have a good chance of getting to the district tournament."
The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional advance to district Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby.
According to Niemann, the postseason lineup also is expected to include junior Brendan Finneran (195), sophomores Marshall Buck (160) and Victor Haynes (138) and freshmen Kyle Duty (170) and Blake Fawley (132). The Cruisers are not expecting to fill four weight spots in their postseason lineup: 126, 152, 182 and heavyweight.
Groveport finished sixth (75.5) in the 14-team Comet Tournament behind champion Teays Valley (263.5). Laney finished first at 120, with Smith placing fourth and Billingsley, Finneran, Miller and Eli Schleret (113) finishing fifth.
Bowling teams rolling into postseason
The bowling teams will complete the regular season Thursday, Feb. 6, against Columbus West at Columbus Western Bowl.
The boys team is trying to secure a spot in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference tournament, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at Holiday Lanes.
The Cruisers were 15-3 overall and 12-2 in the COHSBC-South Division before competing against Whitehall on Feb. 3. They entered the match tie with Whitehall for third behind Teays Valley (12-1) and Briggs (13-2).
Groveport handed Teays Valley its first league and overall loss, 2,401-2,386 on Jan. 30, as Brandon Klentz (443 series) and Jordan Bennett (440) led the way. Both had big second games -- Bennett a 263 and Klentz a 246 -- to help the Cruisers build a 26-pin lead and survive the Baker games.
Devon Stepney (389), James Jervis (382) and Dakota Harmon (359) followed for Groveport.
"I owe the boys pizza and drinks for that one," coach Shon Jenkins said. "I promised the boys before that match that's what I'd do if they beat (Teays Valley). They were pretty excited to beat them. It was a good, close match all the way. We bowled our team high all season to beat them, but that's a great sign. With the pressure on, the boys came through."
The Cruisers' previous season-high was 2,332, which they rolled in a win over Worthington Kilbourne (2,128) on Jan. 16.
Entering the week, Klentz had a team-high 197.7 game average, followed by Bennett (181.2), Jervis (179.5), Stepney (160.9) and Harmon (157.5).
Groveport earned a share of the OCC-Ohio championship, as it finished 4-1 to tie Lancaster. Newark (3-1), Worthington Kilbourne (1-2), Reynoldsburg (1-4) and Thomas Worthington (0-4) followed in the standings. Newark can earn a share of the title if it beats Kilbourne on Thursday, Feb. 6.
"I think we're going to be strong in the (postseason), too," Jenkins said. "As long as the boys keep their heads and stayed focused, we could go a long way."
The Division I sectional tournament for both boys and girls is Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes.
The girls team was 7-7 overall and 5-5 in the COHSBC-South before competing against Whitehall on Feb. 3.
The Cruisers finished 2-2 in the OCC-Ohio behind champion Lancaster (4-0). Newark (2-1) and Kilbourne (0-3) competed against each other Thursday, Feb. 6, and Reynoldsburg finished 1-3.
"It's a rebuilding year for the girls," coach John Haney said. "We've only got one girl, Liz Moore, who averages over 130. We're real young and working on things."
Moore, a district qualifier last year, entered the week averaging a team-high 175.9. She was followed by Tewana Smiley (126.8), Bonnie Kyle (108.1), Kahlia Killen (102.5) and Loren Jackson (94.8).
"Liz has bowled under stress all season because she wants so badly to win matches," Haney said. "It's time for her to start thinking about herself and get ready for the (postseason)."
Boys basketball team seeks winning season
The boys basketball team is seeking its first winning season since finishing 14-7 in 2007-08.
The Cruisers were 9-8 overall and 3-8 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 4.
Groveport defeated Lancaster 57-40 in a league game Jan. 29 before losing to Newark 74-64 in a league contest Jan. 31 and Grove City 73-62 on Feb. 1.
C.J. Crowder had 13 points, Ty Ferguson scored 12, Tyrone Cherry scored 11 and Carmearl Thomas scored nine against Lancaster.
Groveport led Newark 14-6 in the first quarter but trailed 41-36 at halftime. The Cruisers did not get closer than three points in the second half.
Crowder had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Ferguson scored 11 points and Tyrell Carter and Tre Charles-Martin both had 10 points.
Against Grove City, Thomas had 14 points and Ferguson scored 11.
Girls basketball team tries to snap skid
The girls basketball team was 0-18 overall and 0-11 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 3 and Grove City on Feb. 5.
The Cruisers lost to Lancaster 46-26 on Jan. 29 and fell to Newark 86-17 on Jan. 31 in league games.
Diaba Diane had nine points and Zaria Brinkley scored seven against Lancaster and Hayley McKinley scored eight against Newark.
Groveport will play host to Pickerington Central on Friday, Feb. 7, in a league game before closing the regular season at home against Franklin Heights on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Cruisers lost to Central 72-29 on Jan. 14.
Groveport then will prepare to face top-seeded Reynoldsburg on the road in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17. The Cruisers, who are seeded 47th, lost to the Raiders 78-16 on Nov. 29 and 90-18 on Jan. 10.