The Marysville High School wrestling team entered the season with its usual goals.
The Monarchs are looking to repeat their OCC, sectional and district titles, but their ultimate goal is a strong showing in the Division I state tournament.
“Our goal this year is to be in the top five of the state tournament, so everything else up to that is just practice,” said coach Shawn Andrews, who is in his sixth season.
Marysville returns a solid lineup led by a three-time state placer in senior Noah Forrider, who was fourth last season at 138 pounds to finish 35-3. Forrider, who has been competing at 145 this season, was named to ThisWeek’s Super 12 team a year ago.
Forrider was sixth at 130 as a sophomore and eighth at 119 as a freshman.
“I have to continue to work hard and remind myself every day that I want to be a state champ and practice for the tough ones out there,” Forrider said.
Senior Chase Boyd (38-11 last season) was eighth at 145 at state last year and has wrestled at 160 this season.
Other returning state qualifiers are juniors David Sparks (32-13) at 126 and Austin Pfarr (35-13) at 195.
Sophomore Taleb Rahmani, who went 48-5 last season and was fourth at state at 106, has yet to compete this season.
The Monarchs finished 13th at state (31 points) a year ago behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (223.5) as 84 teams scored.
Other returning district qualifiers are senior Alex Roberts (20-17) at 170 and sophomore Alex Sepeda (16-12) at 138.
Also expected to contribute is senior Morgan Miller at 220. Miller, who was a state qualifier at 189 as a sophomore, missed last season with a right knee injury suffered during the football season.
Other key wrestlers are juniors Jakob Reed (113/120), Collin Smithey (138/145), Jacob Thornton (106/113), Darius Walker (heavyweight) and Jordan Welch (113) and sophomores Nick Rioch (132) and Jason Wilkinson (152).
“Our team is getting progressively better,” Forrider said. “This is probably one of the best teams we’ve had.”
Marysville opened by finishing third in the nine-team Cincinnati Moeller Super Duals on Dec. 1 behind Aurora (Ill.) Marmion (4-0) and Oregon Clay (3-1). The Monarchs went 2-2, defeating Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove 49-18 and Moeller 35-32 and losing to Marmion 43-24 and Oregon Clay 36-24.
Marysville (5-0) was first in the 12-team Marysville Duals on Dec. 8, finishing ahead of second-place Apple Creek Waynedale (4-1).
“Waynedale was the Division III state champion last year and they brought a lot of wrestlers back, so we knew they were going to be good competition and that’s why we have them come in,” Andrews said.
During the tournament, the Monarchs defeated Dresden Tri-Valley 49-21, Lebanon 56-18, Lancaster 44-24, Wayne-dale 41-35 and Hilliard Darby 49-21.
Marysville has moved from the OCC-Cardinal Division to the OCC-Central and begins league competition Thursday, Dec. 20, when it plays host to Dublin Coffman.
Olentangy Liberty also moved from the OCC-Cardinal to OCC-Central.
Last season, the Monarchs (7-0) finished first in the OCC-Cardinal ahead of Olentangy (6-1), Liberty (5-2), Westerville North (4-3), Dublin Jerome (2-5), Westerville Central (2-5), Dublin Scioto (1-6) and Westerville South (1-6).
Hilliard Davidson (7-0) won the OCC-Central ahead of Coffman (6-1), Darby (5-2), Worthington Kilbourne (4-3), Upper Arlington (3-4), Westland (1-6), Central Crossing (1-6) and Thomas Worthington (1-6).
Marysville plays host to Davidson on Jan. 31.
“We have a really tough schedule this year,” Forrider said.
Last season, the Monarchs finished first in the 10-team home sectional ahead of second-place Davidson (183). It was Marysville’s 11th sectional title.
Marysville (174) won its fourth district title, finishing ahead of runner-up Olentangy (116) at Darby as 37 teams scored.