His squad's first excursion into the state team tournament was not a memorable one for Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling coach Jared Writesel.
The eighth-seeded Johnnies were edged by ninth-seeded Fredericktown 30-28 in the opening round of the Division III, Region 22-A duals Jan. 23 at Galion Northmor.
Johnstown trailed 30-6 entering the 152-pound class when junior Alex Workman won a 14-6 major decision over Milan Pozderac of Fredericktown to slice the deficit to 20 points. Sophomore Cody Thompson won by forfeit at 160, followed by pins from junior Logan Writesel (170) and junior Clayton Bullard (195), but the Johnnies still came up short.
"We had a couple of sick kids (at 220 and heavyweight) and that hurt us," coach Writesel said. "But everyone on the team is battling some form of sickness or injuries. Some are more sick than others. It's something all teams face this time of year."
The Johnnies finished sixth (143) in the nine-team Jonathan Alder Invitational on Jan. 19 behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (290).
Bullard won at 195 and was named the event's Most Valuable Wrestler after defeating Carter Harris of West Jefferson 16-5 in the final.
In last week's Division III district poll, Bullard was rated second at 195 behind Northmor's Tyler Beck and ahead of Harris, who was third.
"Obviously (the performance at Jonathan Alder) gives you confidence going into meets like the MBC," Bullard said. "We just have to keep working hard and pushing each other in practice to get better."
Also winning titles at Jonathan Alder were Logan Writesel (170) and freshman Hayden Bullard (120). Also placing were Workman (152, third), freshman Clay Psurny (126, fourth), sophomore Vince Walls (138, fifth) and freshman Josiah Annis (132, sixth).
The Johnnies will compete Saturday, Feb. 2, in the MBC Duals at Fredericktown. Last season, 2012 graduate Joey Dismuke (182) was Johnstown's only champion in the league duals at Northridge.
Loudonville (333) won the league title for the sixth time in seven seasons and was followed by Utica (284), Northridge (259), Centerburg (243), Fredericktown (236), East Knox (111), Danville (98) and Johnstown (91).
"We have some good opportunities (in the MBC tournament)," coach Writesel said. "Clayton has a really good chance to win and Hayden should also do well. We just have to keep working and get healthy."
Boys basketball team to face Centerburg
The boys basketball team was 9-7 overall before playing East Knox on Jan. 25 in an MBC game.
Entering that game, Johnstown and Danville were tied for second (6-3) in the league behind Fredericktown (8-1) and ahead of Centerburg (5-4), Utica (5-4), Northridge (3-6), East Knox (2-7) and Loudonville (1-8).
The Johnnies play Friday, Feb. 1, at home against Centerburg. Junior guard William Orr scored 20 points and senior post player Tim Sayer added 10 in the first matchup, which Johnstown won 41-33 on Dec. 21.
"We need more practice and more work," coach Kevin Martin said. "It's a matter of more movement offensively and being able to finish when the opportunity arises."
On Jan. 18, Johnstown lost to Utica 53-45. Orr scored 15 points and junior guard Justin Bush added 12.
The Johnnies bounced back by defeating Danville 66-56 on Jan. 22. Bush scored 24 points with four 3-pointers, Sayer had 17 points and Orr added eight.
"We need more consistency from everyone ... and (to develop) more confidence on the offensive end," Martin said.
Girls team playing crucial MBC games
The girls basketball team was 11-4 overall before facing Centerburg on Jan. 26 in a showdown of first-place MBC teams.
The Johnnies entered the game tied with the Trojans and Utica atop the league standings at 8-2. Fredericktown was fourth (7-3), followed by Danville (4-6), East Knox (4-6), Northridge (1-9) and Loudonville (0-10).
Johnstown plays a non-league game Monday, Jan. 28, at West Lafayette Ridgewood before playing a pair of league rematches.
The Johnnies play at Fredericktown on Thursday, Jan. 31. Junior guard Natalie Carpenter led with 22 points, sophomore forward Paige Cannon scored 14 and junior guard Laiken Valentine added 10 in a 56-35 win over the Freddies on Dec. 20.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, Johnstown plays Loudonville at home. Valentine scored 24 points, Carpenter had 23, Cannon had 14 and senior guard Marissa Sheets added 13 in a 98-38 victory Jan. 3.
Carpenter had 12 points and Cannon scored 10 as the Johnnies defeated East Knox 48-29 on Jan. 19. Junior forward Makenzie Spang had eight points and six rebounds, Valentine had eight points, six steals and five assists and Sheets scored eight points.
On Jan. 22, the Johnnies lost at Ready 66-53 as Cannon scored 20 points.