The sharp pain in Casey Nicholson's ribs had the Dublin Jerome High School wrestler wondering if his season would be in jeopardy - again.

The sharp pain in Casey Nicholson's ribs had the Dublin Jerome High School wrestler wondering if his season would be in jeopardy - again.

The three-time Division I district qualifier has adapted to disappointment.

"It was kind of like, 'Here we go again,'" the senior said. "But I decided to deal with the pain and work through it. It's better now to the point where I can tolerate it."

Nicholson wasn't so lucky last season, when a broken collarbone suffered during a skateboarding accident kept him off the mat until late January. He was nowhere near ready to compete for a berth in the state tournament.

His sophomore season was delayed several weeks after a vehicle ran over his foot in the parking lot of a convenience store.

Nicholson, who competes at 130 and 135 pounds, noted that both injuries happened on Halloween.

"One of the things about wrestling is that you have to have a short memory and move on," coach Adam Huddle said. "Even when you lose a match in a tournament, you've got to forget it and come back. It takes a special kid to do that."

Nicholson, who missed a couple of tournaments in December because of the rib injury, has put together one of the team's best records at 21-4 overall.

He won the Wapakoneta Invitational at 130 on Jan. 22 with four technical falls. Teammate Brad Myers (171, 23-4) finished second.

The Celtics placed fourth (194) behind champion Wapakoneta (263), Pickerington Central (258) and Vandalia Butler (205) and ahead of Springboro (189.5), Toledo St. Francis (166), Springfield Northeastern (131), Carlisle (111.5), Marion Harding (80) and Troy Christian (68.5).

Like any senior, Nicholson's goal is to reach the state tournament at Ohio State in March.

"I really relied on my athleticism, especially my freshman year," Nicholson said. "But I know I've gotten better technically and that's what it's going to take to beat the guys I'm going to have to beat to get to states."

Huddle has seen a steady progression.

"This is the first year we've had a full season to prepare," he said. "We've taken him to big tournaments, and we've gone out of our way to get Casey to wrestle better opponents. We've even gone up in weight classes. We want to make sure he's both physically and mentally prepared."

The Celtics expect to improve on last season's 10th-place finish at sectional. Nicholson anticipates company in reaching the state tournament.

"I feel like some of the guys who were borderline wrestlers last season have really stepped it up and made a name this season," he said. "We've really been competitive in duals and I think we're going to see a lot of success in February."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Coffman, Jerome and Scioto wrestling teams:

COFFMAN

Jan. 22 - Finished seventh (126.5) at James V. Horning Memorial Invitational behind champion host Mason (228.5). Ryan Murdock won a championship at 112.

*Jan. 27 - At Hilliard Darby

Jan. 29 - Lakota East duals

*OCC-Central match

JEROME

Jan. 22 - Finished fourth (194) at Wapakoneta Invitational behind champion Wapakoneta (263). Casey Nicholson won a championship at 130.

*Jan. 27 - Home vs. Scioto

SCIOTO

*Jan. 27 - At Jerome

*OCC-Cardinal match