A.J. Pinyerd remembered the last time he competed in the Bobcat Invitational, and this time the senior heavyweight for the Grandview Heights High School wrestling team wanted to go out a winner.
On Jan. 4, Pinyerd won his weight class in the home tournament and shared Most Valuable Wrestler honors with Williamsport Westfall 170-pounder Josh Green.
Last season, Pinyerd lost the heavyweight title match to Marion-Franklin's Deante Gray 1-0 in double overtime. This time, he defeated Jeremiah Koah of Westfall 6-4.
"I won the title (Dec. 7) at (the) Madison Plains (Invitational) and wanted to ride that wave," said Pinyerd, who is unbeaten through 11 matches. "I really spent a lot of time over the holiday working for this. Last year, I lost in double overtime and I didn't want that to happen again."
Pinyerd went 5-0 and was one of three champions for the Bobcats, who had only six competitors.
Brendan Fitzgerald was champion at 120 pounds, going 4-0 with four pins, and Benton Bair went 4-0 at 138 with two pins. Ben Jump was runner-up at 132, going 3-1 with one pin.
"I dropped down from 145 pounds because I was wrestling heavy, and this is a better weight for me," Bair said. "The wrestlers I was facing were too big and I feel good at this weight."
Despite its small roster, Grandview finished third of 11 teams with 131.5 points, behind Delaware (212) and Westfall (162) and ahead of fourth-place Marion-Franklin (130.5). Zanesville West Muskingum (116) was fifth, followed by Columbus Academy (115), Centennial (99), Lakewood (97), Briggs (35), Linden-McKinley (25) and Morral Ridgedale (19).
"We did well," coach Marc Mattingly said. "It's always great to do well in your home meet and it's a good start to the second half of the season."
Sam Callison (2-3) was fourth at 182 and Preston Robson (0-4) was fifth at 195.
The Bobcats had not competed since Dec. 18, when they lost duals to host Bexley (48-28) and Centennial (54-24).
According to Bair, their work in the practice room made a difference.
"We have been working hard in practice, and working with Brendan and Ben has been great," Bair said. "We work each other hard to make each other better and Brendan really helps, showing how to hit moves the right way."
Girls basketball team wins four straight
The girls basketball team is 8-4 overall and 3-3 in the MSL-Ohio Division entering its game Friday, Jan. 10, at Whitehall.
The Bobcats have won four consecutive games, including the championship in the Cincinnati Summit Country Day Tournament. Dareth Douglass scored 10 points and Megan McCauley had nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in a 33-29 victory over the host team Dec. 27 in the opening round.
"Last year, we lost to them (49-24) and we couldn't handle the press, but this year we broke it three or four times in the first quarter for layups and they didn't press again," coach Michelle Chavanne said. "We handled the pressure for the most part and had to attack the basket because they denied everything with an aggressive, physical defense. For the most part, we played great team defense and only let them have tough outside shots."
In the championship game Dec. 28, McCauley scored 10 points and made a short jumper with 2 seconds remaining to defeat Carnegie (Pa.) Carlynton 38-36.
The Bobcats also defeated Bloom-Carroll 36-31 on Jan. 3 and Bexley 41-32 on Jan. 4 in MSL-Ohio play.
Palmer led with 13 points against Bloom-Carroll.
McCauley scored 16 points with four 3-pointers and Palmer added 14 against Bexley.
On Dec. 23, the Bobcats lost to Fairbanks 35-34 as Douglass scored 13 points.
Through 10 games, Douglass was averaging 8.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, McCauley was averaging 7.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals, and Palmer was averaging 5.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Morgan Taylor was averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds, Emma Bulla was averaging 4.4 points and Ali Lachey was contributing 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 points.
Boys team hopes to grow from Classic loss
The boys basketball team is 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
The Bobcats' league game against Worthington Christian on Jan. 7 was postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 13, at home.
Grandview lost to visiting Dover 44-41 on Dec. 28 in the championship game of the Bobcat Holiday Classic. The Bobcats led 41-33 with 3:15 remaining but could not solve late aggressive defense from the Tornadoes, who made all 16 of their free-throw attempts and hit six 3-pointers among their 11 field goals.
"That's a good team we played and we played with them for 32 tough minutes," coach Ray Corbett said. "If we can learn something from this game and use it down the road in the league then it will be OK. That's why we wanted (Dover) to be in the tournament. They are a good team and it's good to play competition like that."
Hunter Schmalz led Grandview with 15 points. Nick Schopis scored seven and Ben McCullough, Luke Miller and Marky Moore all had five.
The Bobcats rebounded with a 70-47 league win over Madison Plains on Jan. 4. Schmalz scored 20, Moore had 12, Schopis scored 10 and Ike Dunaway and Miller both scored seven.
On Dec. 27 in the opening round of the Holiday Classic, Schmalz had 16 points and Schopis scored 10 in a 65-40 win over Wellington.
Swimmers finish 4th in Yule at the Pool
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both finished fourth as the host squads for the Yule at the Pool meet Dec. 28 at Columbus Aquatics Center.
The girls were fourth (131) of 18 teams behind champion Springboro (247), as the 200-yard freestyle relay of Ellie MacLeod, Maddie Bills, Adrienne Bechtel and Halli Bair won in 1:50.9.
The 400 free relay of MacLeod, Bills, Mary MacLeod and Bair placed sixth (4:14.63), as did the 200 medley relay (2:06.3) of Mary MacLeod, Camille Day, Calley Schmalz and Bechtel.
Mary MacLeod was fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.79), and Bechtel was sixth in the 100 free (1:00.79) and eighth in the 200 free (2:17.23). Ellie MacLeod was seventh in the 50 free (28.03) and Bair was seventh in the 100 free (1:01.17).
The boys were fourth (121) of 16 teams behind champion Springboro (245), as the 400 free relay of Josh Smith, Peter Bonn, Glenn Cheney and Tucker Rinehart finished second (3:43.4).
Grandview had another 400 relay finish eighth (4:06.15) with Justin Warnement, Zak Graham, Ross Carter and Christian Meyer.
The 200 free relay of Rinehart, Graham, Meyer and Smith was fourth (1:39.54).
Rinehart was second in the 100 back (1:00.69) and fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:00.09). Smith was fourth in the 100 free (54.31) and fifth in the 200 free (2:05.69).