Josh Wimer led the way for a blossoming Central Crossing High School wrestling program.
The 126-pound senior finished fourth in the Division I state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State as the Comets had a program-best four state qualifiers.
Central Crossing also reached the Region 6 final in the Division I state team tournament, losing to host Marysville 52-26 on Jan. 29.
But what was the highlight of the season for Wimer?
"It was great to be here (at state) with my little brother," he said of James Wimer, a sophomore who finished 1-2 at 113. "When I was finished with my first match (a 13-0 major decision over Cincinnati LaSalle's Andrew Sams), my brother was still wrestling. He was in a dogfight, and being able to experience this with him was great."
James Wimer won that match 2-0 in sudden-victory overtime over Cincinnati Glen Este's Gage Branson, but he lost his next two to finish 33-12.
Also at state for the Comets were sophomores Robbie Fusner (1-2 at 195 to finish 36-13) and Jackson Lakso (0-2 at 106 to finish 42-9).
Josh Wimer reached a state semifinal before losing to Kettering Fairmont's Josh Parrett 8-5. He went 3-2 at state and finished 44-5, losing to Uniontown Lake's Alec Cotton 3-2 in his consolation final.
"It's always nerve-racking (at state) with a lot of people here and the big arena," said Josh Wimer, whose team finished 21st (21 points) behind champion Massillon Perry (185) as 78 teams scored. "When you come up here, you find out anything can happen."
Josh Wimer won a district championship Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby as the Comets finished third (90) behind champion Marysville (147.5) as 37 teams scored. Fusner placed second, James Wimer was third and Lakso placed fourth.
Sophomore Ethan Leapley (138, 21-19 overall) placed sixth at district. Sophomore Kameron Teacher (heavyweight, 33-8) also competed at district, but senior Gavin McKinney (132, 32-11) did not compete after suffering a knee injury at sectional.
Central Crossing finished fourth (148) in an 11-team sectional Feb. 15 behind champion and host Marysville (218.5).
The Comets tied Dublin Coffman for fourth (3-4) in the OCC-Central Division behind Marysville (7-0), Olentangy Liberty (6-1) and Hilliard Davidson (5-2). Thomas Worthington and Upper Arlington tied for sixth (2-5) and Westland was last (0-7).
Also expected to return are juniors Kyle Collins (120) and Casey Davis (152/160), sophomores Luke Doudna (106), Jonathan Kowalski (138), Nathaniel Kowalski (126), Hunter Pemberton (195), J.D. Woods (113) and Derek Wurzauf (152) and freshmen Zach Collins (106) and Zach Robinson (heavyweight).
"Our program is definitely looking up," said coach Jamie Ramirez, who completed his fourth season. "We're losing a few good seniors, but things are definitely looking up."
Evanichko battles injury at state
Grove City senior Chandler Evanichko suffered a rib injury at district that carried over to the state tournament. The 220-pounder went 0-2 at state to finish 40-15.
"Chandler drilled only one day (the week before state) because of his rib injury he suffered at district," said coach Jay DiMasso, who completed his seventh season. "In the middle of the second period (of his state opener), he was on his second injury time, so we decided to rest up for his next match. It continued to bother him in that match and he was pinned."
Evanichko lost by default to Massillon Perry's Stefano Millin in the first round and then was pinned by Lakewood St. Edward's Parker Knapp. Millin defeated Knapp 3-1 in the fifth-place match.
"Both of the guys who beat Chandler placed, so he lost to two of the top six wrestlers at his weight," said DiMasso, whose team did not score at state. "It was a great experience for him and I was excited for him. He's really a great kid and he deserved to be there."
Grove City finished 21st (25) at district as Evanichko placed fourth to advance. Also competing were junior Jake Crosby (170, 34-14), senior Cornelius Marshall (126, 26-17), senior Cortez Marshall (120, 23-20) and freshman Marcus Najdusek (106, 23-20). Sophomore Will Marshall (113, 29-7) did not participate after not making weight.
Grove City finished ninth (135) in an 11-team sectional Feb. 15 at UA behind champion Westerville North (237).
The Greyhounds finished fourth (4-3) in the OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington Central (7-0), Lancaster (6-1) and Pickerington North (5-2) and ahead of Gahanna (3-4), Reynoldsburg (2-5), Groveport (1-6) and Newark (0-7).
Grove City lost to Central Crossing 43-27 in the first round of the Division I state team tournament Jan. 22 at Hilliard Bradley.
Also expected to return are juniors Drew Capehart (182), Luke Plageman (160) and Jacob Yono (145), sophomores Wayne Bowman (195), Canaan Dick (145), Cameron Ellis (113), Ray Madero (120), Jur'marr Tolber (heavyweight) and Brandon VanSickle (170) and freshmen Cole Antle (132), Andy Beatty (106), Michael Bellar (113), Chris Desmarais (152), Ryan Johnson (120), Tanner Kennaw (152), Kyle Weisgerber (126) and Dane Whittier (220).
"We had (10) seniors, but we have a good group coming back," DiMasso said. "We have a lot of offseason training set up for technique, and we'll begin working for next year."