Dublin Scioto High School wrestling coach Aaron McKenzie has seen signs of progress from his team, which literally has been outmanned in competition.
The Irish, who have 20 wrestlers in their program, have been unable to fill a complete lineup thus far. But according to McKenzie, a number of wrestlers entered January with confidence.
"We're showing progress every single week," said McKenzie, whose team travels to Westerville South on Thursday, Jan. 9, for OCC-Cardinal duals against the Wildcats and Jerome. "We're getting results, but I want to see more emotion out of these guys."
Scioto finished eighth (103.5 points) of 14 teams in its annual Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament on Jan. 4 as Lewistown Indian Lake (190) won.
Two wrestlers reached the finals for the Irish, with Ras Lumpkins finishing first at 220 pounds and Brennen Sawicki placing second at heavyweight. Lumpkins went 4-0 to improve to 13-3 on the season and Sawicki, who recently returned to the lineup from injury, went 3-1 to improve to 4-1.
Also placing in the event were Cameron Wallace at 160 (third, 4-1, 11-4 overall), Jeffrey Jarry at 182 (fourth, 2-2, 10-5), Nick Horvat at 145 (fifth, 3-2, 9-8) and Dareal Vassel at 152 (sixth, 2-3, 11-4).
Celtics set for busy three-day stretch
Jerome is set for a busy three-day stretch of competition.
The Celtics will face Hilliard Darby in an OCC-Cardinal dual Thursday, Jan. 9, before competing in the 37-team Marion County Invitational on Friday, Jan. 10, and Saturday, Jan. 11, at Marion County Fairgrounds.
"Everybody is guaranteed eight or nine matches, so (the Marion County Invitational) is going to be a grind," coach Adam Huddle said. "There will be a lot of good teams there and we wanted to schedule something that would test our kids in January and give them a couple of tough days."
Jerome had a strong showing in the 33-team Marion Harding Classic held Dec. 27 and 28, finishing fourth (139) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (162).
Josh Transue placed second at 113 and improved to 15-2 overall and his brother, Seth, finished third at 106 and improved to 17-2. Liam Dunlea (120, 6-1 overall), who recently returned to the lineup after recovering from a concussion, also finished third.
Also among the Celtics' top performers thus far are Malachi Strickland (132, 12-5), Alex Jacobs (138, 14-5) and Jake Isele (145, 13-6).
Shamrocks lose Young, Muncrief to injuries
Coffman entered January with a injury-riddled roster.
Among those sidelined by injury are seniors Riley Young (heavyweight) and Andrew Muncrief (220), both of whom are expected to miss the rest of the season. Young was a Division I district qualifier a year ago.
"There's no doubt that injuries have stunted the growth of this team, but we'll keep plugging away," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "As the saying goes, 'It's not where you start, it's where you finish.' In the sport of wrestling, that saying couldn't be more true."
Coffman placed 30th (57.5) in the 53-team Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament held Dec. 27 and 28 at Wright State University behind champion Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer (332.5).
Dominick Demas was the Shamrocks' only top-six finisher. The freshman went 4-1 and placed second at 138, losing to Jamestown Greeneview's Andrew Hoskins 4-3 in the final, to improve to 10-1 overall.
Other steady performers for Coffman thus far include Ben Frye (182/195, 9-2 overall), Nate Longo (132, 6-3), Aaron Miller (195, 6-3), Willy Plaisir (152, 7-5) and Sterling Roseberry (220, 6-3).