The Olentangy and Marysville high school wrestling teams are the top two contenders entering the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Saturday at Marysville.

The Olentangy and Marysville high school wrestling teams are the top two contenders entering the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Saturday at Marysville.

Although Marysville was ranked 10th in the Division I state poll a week ago, the Braves and Monarchs were tied for fourth in the area coaches poll.

Marysville had three wrestlers ranked first in the district in Jacob McCombs (125 pounds), Caleb Marsh (160) and Nate Weeks (215). Tyler Wirtz (140) was third.

Olentangy had three wrestlers who were ranked second in Joe Grandomincio (140), Mark Sabo (171) and Preston Oglesbee (heavyweight). Trevor Fiorucci (103) was third.

There's no guarantee that the Braves and Monarchs will compete head-to-head in the event, as the eight OCC-Cardinal schools will be divided into two four-team pools, with each team competing against the other three teams in their pool in duals. The top two from each pool then will compete in two more duals for first through fourth place. The other four will compete in two duals for fifth through eighth.

But if Olentangy and Marysville do meet in the final as projected, Grandominico is confident the Braves' depth will give them the edge.

"Marysville is more of a tournament-type squad because they have a couple of studs who usually place first for them," he said. "We have some real good kids who can push through and win tournaments, too, and our lineup doesn't have any weak links. I think we can beat Marysville because in the places where they are average, we have strong kids. I could have a tough match (with Wirtz) but you never know because people are always getting bumped around to different weight classes depending on where teams need a win."

Also in the tournament are are Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Liberty, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South.

Scioto had three wrestlers ranked in the district in Randy Languis (first at 135), Alex Gordon (second at 145) and Drew Pike (third at 160), but Olentangy beat the Irish 46-31 on Dec. 13 despite suffering losses to those three.

The Braves, who have won three consecutive OCC-Cardinal titles, also handled Liberty 41-16 on Dec. 18.

Olentangy received a major confidence boost heading into the tournament after beating Pickerington North 36-25 on Jan. 21. North was second in the area coaches poll.

Michael Webber beat Austin Marsico 7-2 at 112 and Alex Steinmetz pinned Ryan Campbell 12 seconds into overtime at 189 for key victories for the Braves.

Marsico was second at 103 in the area coaches poll.

"This was a huge win for us," coach Matt Hammons said. "They bumped Marsico up to 112 and Michael still won. Alex Steinmetz won the match of the night. He got a last-second takedown to send the match into overtime, and then he got another takedown in overtime and put the guy on his back to win it."

•Liberty coach Mark Marinelli said his team will use the OCC-Cardinal tournament to prepare for the Division I postseason, which will begin Feb. 21 with the sectional.

Last season, the Patriots finished 2-3 in the OCC-Capital as Big Walnut, Dublin Scioto and Watkins Memorial tied for first at 4-1.

"Marysville and Olentangy will be the top two seeds and the favorites to win it, and I'm just hoping that we wrestle well enough to get a shot at both of them in the second part of the tournament," Marinelli said. "The good thing is we'll get five matches in because we really need that experience."

Fourteen Patriots have winning records in John Pfleiderer (10-9 at 103), Jarrod Boone (19-8 at 119), Anthony Michael (17-9 at 125), Nick Kaczkowski (12-8 at 130), Kelton Pettay (10-9 at 135), Craig Thomas (12-9 at 140), Ethan Snyder (18-9 at 145), Kyle Pettay (13-8 at 152), Koh Schooley (15-7 at 160), Joe Archer (16-8 at 171), Damien Capretta (7-4 at 189), A.J. Dobson (12-10 at 189), Matt Casey (15-8 at 215) and Luis German (16-8 at heavyweight).

"Luis German has been our closest thing to a sure win and he's been getting a lot of pins, so he could be valuable for us in this tournament," Marinelli said. "This is a strong wrestling league, but we've got a lot of kids who are wrestling well and this is the best our lineup has looked all year, from top to bottom, so I think we'll be competitive in every match."

•Orange will compete in the OCC-Capital tournament Saturday at Big Walnut along with Big Walnut, Delaware, Franklin Heights, Mount Vernon, New Albany and Watkins Memorial.

Last week in the area coaches polls, Mount Vernon was eighth in Division I and Big Walnut was second and New Albany fifth in Division II.

New Albany downed Orange 39-28 on Dec. 11 and 30-28 on Dec. 30.

"Big Walnut's probably the deepest team in our division and they will probably be the No. 1 seed," coach Brian Nicola said. "Mount Vernon's been consistently good over the years. Delaware has a lot of good seniors, and New Albany has already beaten us twice, so we'll probably be the No. 5 seed."

Seven Pioneers have winning records including Jonathan Edwards (17-5 at 103), Frank Hu (12-5 at 125), Tyler Dias (11-10 at 130), Josh Toprani (10-7 at 135), Dan Waldron (14-9 at 140), Doug Ganim (12-10 at 215) and Josh Winn (22-7 at heavyweight).

"We may end up being the fifth seed, but we haven't had our best lineup together yet, so I won't be happy if we end up fifth," Nicola said. "I expect us to do better because we've got the potential to be a good dual team."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Liberty, Olentangy and Orange wrestling teams:

LIBERTY

Jan. 21 -- Lost to Groveport 37-33

Jan. 22 -- Defeated Marion Elgin 54-18

Saturday -- At OCC-Cardinal tournament at Marysville

OLENTANGY

Jan. 21 -- Def. Pickerington North 36-25

Last Saturday -- Finished fourth (201) in 10-team Mason Invitational behind West Chester Lakota West (267), Central Crossing (262) and Mason (244). Trevor Fiorucci (103), Joe Grandominico (140) and Preston Oglesbee (heavyweight) were first and Ryan DiSabato (160) and Mark Sabo (171) were second.

Last Wednesday -- Competed against Cincinnati Anderson and Greenville

Saturday -- At OCC-Cardinal tournament at Marysville

Wednesday -- At Upper Arlington vs. Gahanna, Marion-Franklin and UA

ORANGE

Jan. 22 -- Def. Columbus Academy 42-18; lost to Dublin Jerome 40-35. Jarrod Winn (140), Mike Moore (145) and Josh Winn (heavyweight) went 2-0.

Saturday -- At OCC-Capital tournament at Big Walnut