Josh Wimer has been in search of top competition for his senior season on the Central Crossing High School wrestling team.
The 126-pounder breezed to the championship at 138 in the Panther Invitational on Dec. 21 at Pickerington North, moving up two weight classes because he was hoping to face a nationally ranked competitor, Alexandria (Ky.) Campbell County's Sean Fausz. However, Fausz dropped weight to win the title at 132.
Wimer's focus now is on the Medina Invitational Tournament, which will be held Friday, Dec. 27, and Saturday, Dec. 28. Last season, he finished third at 120 at Medina.
"When you go to tournaments like that, you go up against guys who you don't know," Wimer said. "That can be tougher than wrestling (in the) state (tournament) because you have an idea who you are going up against there (at state)."
Wimer qualified for state at 120 last season, but was scratched because of a skin irritation. He finished fifth at 106 as a sophomore.
He is 13-2 this season, with both losses coming in the Ironman Tournament on Dec. 13 and 14 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit. He went 2-2 in the event, pinning Chase Childers of Huntington (W.Va.) in 5 minutes, 18 seconds before losing 3-1 to Johnny Jimenez of Aurora (Ill.) Marmion Academy.
In the losers bracket, Wimer won 8-3 over Bailey Thomas of Olney (Md.) Good Counsel and was pinned by Dom Forys of Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny in 2:55.
Forys finished fourth and Jimenez placed fifth.
"I was up by two (on Forys) and I thought I had him on the ropes, but he caught me with an under-hook, throwing me on my back," Wimer said. "I have a good coaching staff that keeps me from getting down. They get me ready to wrestle."
The Comets finished fourth (161.5 points) in the 16-team Panther Invitational behind champion Pickerington North (206). In addition to Wimer winning at 138, Jackson Lakso was runner-up at 106.
Kameron Teacher (heavyweight) and James Wimer (113) placed third, while Gavin McKenney (132) and Hunter Taylor (152) finished fourth. Kyle Collins (126), Zach Collins (106) and Robbie Fusner (220) all placed fifth and J.D. Woods (120) was eighth.
"This pretty much ends the first part of the season for us," coach Jamie Ramirez said. "You have the early tournaments in December and then you have the January part of the schedule with a lot of league duals, and then you have February and March with the postseason. This part of the schedule shows us what we need to work on to get better for the rest of the season."
The Comets won their OCC-Central Division opener Dec. 11, defeating Upper Arlington 38-30. Teacher (heavyweight), Derek Wurzauf (160) and Josh Wimer (138) all won by pin. Zach Collins (106), Fusner (220), Ethan Leapley (145) and McKenney (132) were all winners and Lakso (113) had a forfeit.
Grove City takes 12th at Pickerington North
Grove City finished 12th (78) in the Panther Invitational.
Chandler Evanichko (heavyweight), Cortez Marshall (120) and Jacob Yono (145) led the Greyhounds, with all placing sixth. Finishing seventh were Justin Belmonte (195), Cornelius Marshall (126), Will Marshall (113) and Marcus Najdusak (106), with Jake Crosby (182) placing eighth.
"This was a tough tournament ... the toughest we have been to yet this year," coach Jay DiMasso said. "When you face competition like this, some of the moves that work on some kids don't work on wrestlers of this caliber.
"Sometimes you can get away by just using strength or not having good technique against beginner wrestlers, but you couldn't do that (at Pickerington North). Our kids learned that."
On Dec. 19, the Greyhounds lost their OCC-Ohio opener, falling to Pickerington North 48-16. Cornelius Marshall won 12-2 at 126, with Tristan Dingess (220) and Najdusak (106) both picking up forfeits.