The Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling team is still taking shape after a lengthy football season.
The Johnnies had 10 wrestlers as of last week but could get more who were members of the football team, which reached a Division IV regional final before losing to seventh-ranked St. Clairsville 37-29 on Nov. 16 to finish 10-3.
"We're finally starting to get the football players in and looking to get the season started," third-year coach Jared Writesel said. "We have been getting some good practices in and getting some of the rust knocked off."
Johnstown opens Wednesday, Dec. 12, at home against Hartley, Heath and Newark Catholic. Like the Johnnies, Newark Catholic and Hartley saw their football teams make deep postseason runs. Newark Catholic lost to Maria Stein Marion Local 28-21 in the Division VI state final Nov. 30, and Hartley lost to eventual state champion Clarksville Clinton-Massie 45-21 in a Division IV state semifinal Nov. 23.
The Johnnies have no seniors and are led by juniors Clayton Bullard (182/195 pounds), Aaron Davis (220) and Logan Writesel (152). Also on the team are sophomores Trevor McGee (138) and Vince Walls (132) and freshmen Josiah Annis (126), Hayden Bullard (113/120), Alex Catalogna (285), Clay Psurny (126) and Ryan Thacker (106).
All three juniors were members of the football team.
"We're young, but we're getting (the program) going again," said coach Writesel, Logan's brother. "Clayton is paving the way. He's working really hard and has the goal of placing high at state after he missed out on that last year because of grades."
Last season, 2012 graduate Joey Dismuke was Johnstown's lone qualifier for the Division III state tournament at Ohio State, finishing eighth at 195 to finish 44-13.
The Johnnies tied Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Columbia Station Columbia and Newark Catholic for 70th (4 points) at state behind champion Apple Creek Waynedale (104) as 93 teams scored.
Dismuke also was Johnstown's only district qualifier, finishing third at Heath as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state. The Johnnies tied Madison Plains and Newcomerstown for 28th (16) at district behind champion Nelsonville-York (129.5) as 48 teams scored.
In the 14-team sectional at Madison Plains, Dismuke finished second as the Johnnies were 11th (36) behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (237). Writesel went 2-3 at 132 to place sixth, and Davis (220) and Walls (120) went 0-2 and 1-2, respectively.
In the MBC tournament last season at Northridge, Johnstown scored 91 points to finish eighth behind Loudonville (333), Utica (284), Northridge (259), Centerburg (243), Fredericktown (236), East Knox (111) and Danville (98). The league title was Loudonville's sixth in the past seven seasons.
Competing at 182, Dismuke was Johnstown's only league champion.
Grassman earns first-team all-state
Senior linebacker Corbin Grassman of the football team was named first-team all-state in Division IV.
The all-state honors were announced Nov. 28.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Grassman led the Johnnies in tackles (131) and had four sacks and was first-team all-district and all-league. As a tight end, the University at Buffalo recruit had 10 receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown.
Grassman also was the Johnnies' long-snapper.
"I set the goal (of being named all-state) when I was younger, so it was pretty neat to be able to reach that goal," he said. "It was a great way to end our great season."
Senior offensive lineman Dakota Crawford (6-3, 315) and senior defensive back Nick Sadinsky (6-0, 190) were third-team all-state.
Earning special mention all-state honors were senior Tyler Thompson (QB/DB), juniors Clayton Bullard (DL) and Charles Benton (K/P) and sophomore Cody Farley (RB).
"I think (the number of all-state honorees) represents our team well," Grassman said. "I think we probably had the most (all-state players honored in Licking) county, and it shows how talented our team was this year."