Central Crossing High School wrestling coach Jamie Ramirez believes his team gained valuable experience by competing in the inaug-ural Division I state team tournament.
Seeded sixth in Region 6-A of the dual-format tournament, the Comets defeated third-seeded Columbus West 55-24 in the first round Jan. 23 before losing to second-seeded Upper Arlington 40-34 in the second round Jan. 30 at Hilliard Davidson.
Central Crossing held a 24-3 lead against UA but had to forfeit two weight classes. The forfeits at 170 pounds and 220 helped the Golden Bears rally to advance to the next round that same day. UA lost to top-seeded Davidson 48-19 in a regional semifinal.
"I told the kids that this is the first year (of the state team tournament) and that we have a really young team," Ramirez said. "We had a bunch of young kids and we still almost (advanced to a regional semifinal).
"It's not their fault that we don't have the numbers to fill all of the weight classes. They went out and gave all that they had, and that's all I can ask for out of them."
Winning matches against UA were juniors Gavin McKenney (126) and Josh Wimer (120) and freshmen Robbie Fusner (195), Jackson Lakso (106), Ethan Leapley (132) and Kameron Teacher (heavyweight).
Central Crossing defeated Westland 41-30 on Jan. 31 to improve to 2-4 in the OCC-Central Division. Winning for the Comets were McKenney (126), Wimer (120), Fusner (195), Lakso (106), Leapley (132), Teacher (heavyweight), senior Kyle Farris (145) and freshman James Wimer (113).
The Comets conclude their league duals Thursday, Feb. 7, at Thomas Worthington.
"(The Westland dual) is always big because they are a South-Western (City) school and the kids know each other," Ramirez said. "Plus, we lost to them last year (44-34), so that added fuel to (the dual)."
Central Crossing is seeded 24th in the district and will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Westland. Also competing at the site will be third-seeded Delaware, fourth-seeded Davidson, Dublin Scioto, Grove City, New Albany, St. Charles, UA, Westland and Worthington Kilbourne.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby.
"This is what it's all about," Ramirez said, referring to the postseason. "This is what we work for all year. We have a lot of first-year kids, young kids who will have to get ready for their first time (in the postseason)."
Central Crossing finished fourth (149) in the 10-team Watkins Memorial Invitational on Feb. 2, behind champion Hilliard Bradley (225).
Greyhounds heading to Westland sectional
Grove City is seeded 18th in the district and will join Central Crossing in the Division I sectional Feb. 16 at Westland.
"For some of our kids, it's the best place that they can be," coach Jay DiMasso said. "But one (weight) class in particular that will be tough is heavyweight. The top three heavyweights in the district are all there. That makes it tough if you want to win a second sectional title like Chandler (Evanichko) does."
Evanichko was ranked third at heavyweight in the Division I area coaches poll released Jan. 25, behind Davidson's Travis Gusan and Scioto's Yoshi Akutsu.
Grove City lost to Pickerington Central 51-12 on Jan. 31 to fall to 3-3 in the OCC-Ohio. It concludes its league duals Thursday, Feb. 7, at home against Gahanna before preparing for sectional.
Winning against Central were Evanichko and senior Tavon Hudson (195 pounds).
"We lost four matches by two points or less," DiMasso said.
Seeded fourth in Region 6-A of the Division I state team tournament, Grove City lost to top-seeded Davidson 46-20 in the second round Jan. 30 after beating fifth-seeded Westland 42-30 in the first round Jan. 23.
Winning against Davidson were Hudson, senior Zane Chappelear (152), junior Justin Belmonte (220) and sophomore Jake Crosby (170).
"The state duals are great, but it also has you wrestling three days a week when you normally wrestle twice," DiMasso said. "Having two meets during the week, plus a weekend tournament, can definitely have an effect on performance, but it's something everyone has to deal with."
Grove City placed third (156.5) in the 14-team All-North Tournament on Feb. 2 at Dublin Jerome, behind Mount Vernon (244.5) and Gahanna (166.5).