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Coach feels at home with Vikings

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Brandon Ford (right), a senior who will compete at 126 pounds, is among the top returnees for the Northland wrestling team and first-year coach Nathan Wylder.
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Nathan Wylder hasn't had trouble feeling at home as Northland High School wrestling coach.

A former Central Crossing assistant who was a volunteer assistant with the Vikings the past four seasons under Toby Hawk, Wylder took over in September.

Hawk, who coached the program for 10 seasons, now is an assistant at DeSales.

"I coached for four years at Central Crossing under (former coach) Chance VanGundy, but I never lived in Grove City and always felt a little like an outsider because I had to drive in," Wylder said. "We bought a house in the Northland neighborhood, so I called Toby up four years ago. I had been serving in a volunteer capacity, so I'm really thrilled to have the head coaching position."

On Dec. 4 in the opening round of the first City League dual tournament, Northland lost to Centennial 42-24. The Vikings beat Eastmoor Academy 36-30 in the consolation bracket's second round.

Top competitors for Northland include senior Brandon Ford (126 pounds), juniors Darrick Drennan (220), Mike Harris (heavyweight) and Jeremiah Ware (160) and freshman Quadarius Bolden (132).

Harris was one of three Vikings to compete in the Division I sectional at Marysville last season, going 0-2 at heavyweight.

Anthony Alexander, a 2013 graduate who was a state qualifier the previous season, finished sixth at sectional and went 38-1 overall last year.

"(Ford) could do pretty well in the City this year," Wylder said. "We're a pretty young team. We've got close to 15 freshmen who have never wrestled before and I've got three or four kids who have had one season of wrestling."

Cougars swimming coach optimistic

Beechcroft boys and girls swimming coach Dan Zedeker wasn't sure of the last time his program beat an opponent in a dual meet before this season.

The boys and girls teams combined to defeat Columbus East 47-4 on Nov. 27. Then on Nov. 30, the boys team scored 11 points to finish behind Centennial (57) and ahead of Eastmoor (6) while the girls scored 12 points to place behind Centennial (70) and ahead of Eastmoor (11).

"I told people I don't care if it was against East -- we won," Zedeker said. "We're beating some teams. I think this is the best team I've ever had."

The top returnee is sophomore Erin Baggs, who last season became the program's second district qualifier since Zedeker took over in 2001.

Baggs, who finished 24th in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 37.54 seconds) in the Division II district meet, was the Cougars' only representative in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 7 at Ohio State. She placed 19th in the 100 freestyle (1:03.28).

Also on the girls team are seniors Stephanie Ibarra, LeAnn Terry, Janea Walburg and Zaya Wallace, junior Christine Wolff and sophomores Lavonna Harrison, Faith Hay and Jasmine Ibarra.

Competing for the boys team are senior Jason Rojas, juniors Peter Darko, Maxino Federo, Victor Guerrero and Spencer Stewart and freshmen Elonzo Reynolds and Anthony Wolff.

Vikings swimming team hopes for solid season

With one of its two Division I district qualifiers back, the Northland boys swimming team is hoping to build on a season in which it won the City championship.

Senior Clay Siens, who was ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.4) and 28th in the 200 IM (2:12.15) at district last season, is the top returnee.

"I hope to see the young, inexperienced swimmers mature," coach Aaron MacCaughey said. "I hope to see the veteran swimmers achieve personal bests and perhaps qualify for meets they haven't qualified for in the past."

The other individual district qualifier last season was 2013 graduate Viet Nguyen, who was 22nd in the 200 free (1:52.02) and 25th in the 500 free (5:12.52).

Also competing on the boys team are seniors Thomas Carroll and Silas Williams, juniors Benjamin Asebrook and Aaron Seum, sophomores Jovanny Alcauter, Christo-pher Asebrook, Solomon Beaufort, Evan Kerr and Marlon Martinez and freshmen Cobalt Kaiser and Wilfredo O'Connor.

Competing for the girls are seniors Emilee Aldridge, Miriam Avila and Madelyn Smith, juniors Jasmine Caldwell, Sara Carr, Celestia Haga, Mercedes Haga, Johely Martin and Clorissa Mendez-Lance, sophomores Andrea De La Rosa and Taylor Williams and freshman Dennia Carballo.

Youth, lack of height not hurting Bearcats

The Brookhaven girls basketball team isn't worrying about its limitations.

With several players in key roles for the first time, the Bearcats bounced back from an 80-26 loss to Northland on Nov. 26 in their City-North Division opener to beat Mifflin 50-45 on Dec. 3 and Linden-McKinley 83-32 on Dec. 10.

Brookhaven lost to Centennial 68-38 on Dec. 13 and was 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the league before playing Beechcroft on Dec. 17. Its game against Cleveland Martin Luther King on Dec. 14 was postponed because of bad weather.

"Size-wise we're lacking, and we start two freshmen," coach Darris Gattis said. "Since we start four guards, we're just constantly on the attack."

Leading Brookhaven has been junior guard Nazarae Butler, who had a career-high 34 points against Linden.

Senior guard Martesha Jenkins has been another steadying presence for the Bearcats, who also have had freshmen guards Sha'Toya Johnson and Destiny Culpepper and freshman post player Kiara Fleming in key roles.

Schedules

BEECHCROFT SWIMMING & DIVING

Nov. 25 -- Fairfield Union and Lancaster at Lancaster YMCA

Nov. 27 -- Columbus East at Eldon Ward YMCA

Nov. 30 -- Centennial and Eastmoor Academy at Columbus Aquatics Center

Dec. 7 -- Northridge Viking Splash at New Albany

Dec. 28 -- Bellefontaine Invitational at Hilliker YMCA

Jan. 9 -- Eastmoor at Eldon Ward YMCA

Jan. 15 -- DeSales and Northland at North YMCA

Jan. 18 -- Northridge at New Albany

Jan. 21 -- Bellefontaine and Northland at Hilliker YMCA

Jan. 27 -- East at Eldon Ward YMCA

Feb. 1 -- City League meet at Columbus Aquatics Center

NORTHLAND SWIMMING & DIVING

Nov. 26 -- Eastmoor and Watkins Memorial at North YMCA

Dec. 4 -- Wellington and Whetstone at North YMCA

Dec. 7 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State

Dec. 9 -- Braves Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center

Dec. 14 -- Jaguar Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center

Dec. 18 -- Bloom-Carroll and Central Crossing at North YMCA

Dec. 23 -- Dual at Dawn vs. Whetstone at Columbus Aquatics Center

Jan. 4 -- Dublin Coffman and Whetstone at Dublin Recreation Center

Jan. 8 -- Canal Winchester and Centennial at North YMCA

Jan. 11 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton

Jan. 15 -- Beechcroft and DeSales at North YMCA

Jan. 21 -- Beechcroft and Bellefontaine at Hilliker YMCA

Jan. 25 -- Stars Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center

Jan. 28 -- Eastmoor at Eldon Ward YMCA

Feb. 1 -- City meet at Columbus Aquatics Center

NORTHLAND WRESTLING

Nov. 30 -- Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at DeSales

Dec. 4 -- at Eastmoor with Centennial and Columbus West in first round of City dual tournament

Dec. 14 -- at Independence with East, Eastmoor, Columbus South and Walnut Ridge

Dec. 21 -- New Albany Invitational

Jan. 11 -- Columbus Academy Invitational

Jan. 16 -- Columbus Academy, Eastmoor and Whetstone at TBA

Feb. 1 -- All-North Tournament at Dublin Jerome

Feb. 8 -- City individual tournament at Briggs

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