When describing his team, Dublin Coffman High School wrestling coach Chance Van Gundy refuses to use the terms "youth" or "young."
While those descriptions seem suitable for a lineup that usually features at least seven freshmen and a number of sophomores, he's not one to make excuses.
"We are who we are and we're going to go out and fight and practice with a purpose," said Van Gundy, whose team is 2-1 in the OCC-Central Division heading into dual matches against host Thomas Worthington and Upper Arlington on Thursday, Jan. 16. "You use that label and you start thinking that there's always next year. That's not always the truth."
That's the approach being taken by freshman Dominick Demas, who is 13-1 at 138 pounds. His season resume thus far includes a 17-2 victory over a 2013 Division I state placer in Marysville senior David Sparks, an overtime win over the 2013 Division I state runner-up in Springfield Kenton Ridge's Preston Bowshier, a pin against a 2013 Division II state qualifier in Wilmington's Zach Johnson and a victory by technical fall (22-4) against two-time Kentucky state champion Sean Fausz.
Demas' only loss came against Jamestown Greeneview's Andrew Hoskins, 4-3 in the championship match of the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament held Dec. 27 and 28 at Wright State University.
Despite being young, Demas is no stranger to the sport.
His older brother, Josh, a junior on the Ohio State wrestling team, won Division I state titles at 152 in 2009 and 171 in 2010 at Westerville North, and his father, Lou, was a three-time All-Marine wrestler.
"My brother has been working with me a lot on my pulling and pushing and just wearing a guy down," Demas said. "He's just been helping me with the little things. He knows what it takes to be the best and I'm a guy who is shooting for four state titles."
Demas isn't the only freshman to stand out for Coffman this season.
Van Gundy also has been impressed by the progress being made by Ben Frye, who is 11-2 at 182 despite competing mostly against seniors and juniors.
This was intended to be a developmental season for Frye, but season-ending injuries to seniors Riley Young (heavyweight) and Andrew Muncrief (220) forced Van Gundy to shuffle his lineup, particularly in the upper weight classes.
"Not only is it unique to have a freshman at that weight, it's unique to have one that's successful," Van Gundy said.
Frye has welcomed the challenge.
"I'm determined and I want to win a state title someday," he said. "If you execute the moves that you know, that's all it takes and that's how I approach each match. You get a feel for what you know and it goes a long way."
Frye placed seventh in the junior high state tournament last season -- his first season in wrestling.
"Technique is lacking right now and that's an area we have to clean up, but he makes up so much with his intensity and his willingness to go out and fight with a purpose," said Van Gundy, whose team defeated Central Crossing (40-34) and Westland (64-15) in league duals Jan. 9. "If you look at him, he doesn't look like a freshman."
Three Celtics place in Marion tourney
Jerome made a good showing in the 38-team Marion County Invitational held Jan. 10 and 11 at Marion County Fairgrounds, scoring 67.5 points to tie Jonathan Alder for 14th behind champion Dayton Christian (218).
Seth Transue had the Celtics' highest finish, placing fourth at 106. Emilio Paesano (heavyweight) and Josh Transue (113) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
Jerome is 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal heading into dual matches against host Hilliard Bradley and Westerville North on Thursday, Jan. 16. The Celtics split a pair of league duals Jan. 9, beating Scioto 48-28 and losing to Hilliard Darby 43-29.
Irish looking for first league win
Scioto is 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal entering its dual matches against host Canal Winchester and Westerville Central on Thursday, Jan. 16.
The Irish lost league matches against Jerome and Westerville South (47-30) on Jan. 9. Jared Nolan (132), Robert Martinez (145) and Ras Lumpkins (220) won matches against South and Cameron Wallace (160), Gareth Van der Walt (182) and Brennen Sawicki (heavyweight) won matches against the Celtics.