The Pickerington High School Central wrestling team put its full lineup together for the first time last Saturday at the North Canton Hoover Holiday Invitational.

The Pickerington High School Central wrestling team put its full lineup together for the first time last Saturday at the North Canton Hoover Holiday Invitational.

Central scored 60.5 points to finish 19th behind champion Wadsworth (251), which won the Division I state championship last season.

The Hoover Holiday Invitational was the Tigers' third tournament of the season, but it was the first time that the Tigers had J.J. Chowoe (215 pounds), Garrett Foster (189), Jordan Piecynski (135) and Ryan Schmeltzer (heavyweight) in the lineup. Those four were members of the football team and had a late start into wrestling season.

"For us putting in some football guys that are still work-ing themselves into shape, this wasn't an easy first tournament," coach Jason Allen said. "But what I stressed to the entire team was this was something that we have to build upon. Next week is a different week and we're going to have a different attitude."

Josh Hunter was the only Central wrestler to place in the top four. He was fourth at 119 pounds after losing to Chillicothe Huntington's Josh Canterbury 2-1.

The Tigers had seven wrestlers advance to the second day of the tournament, including Schmeltzer, who concluded his final match on the first day at 1:30 a.m. last Saturday and had to back at the gym at 7:30 later that morning.

"In the back of my mind, I was concerned about how they would respond (to the two-day format)," Allen said. "I think they were mentally tough and tough enough to rebound and learn what was happening to them (during the matches)."

North scored 126 points to place fifth at the Panther Invitational last Saturday, behind champion Bedford Chanel (282.5).

Chanel was the top team in the Division III state poll released on Dec. 13.

Coach Brad Harris said the tournament was a chance for the younger wrestlers on the team to see top-level competition.

Typically, the Panther Invitational has drawn some of the area's best teams. It used to be a dual-meet format, but was changed to an individual format tournament this year.

Brandon Howes led North, placing second at 140 after losing to Teays Valley's Tyler Luft 7-3 in the championship match. Eli Corder was third at 145 after pinning Reynoldsburg's Brad Syfers in 6 minutes, 6 seconds.

North will compete in the Medina Invitational Tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not only does the MIT draw some of the top teams in the state, wrestlers have to deal with the atmosphere of a two-day tournament.

"A lot of it has to do with conditioning and energy," Harris said. "You have to make weight for two days. It's a lot about getting tougher and dealing with it mentally and physically."

Last year, North was fifth at Medina with 124.5 points as Lakewood St. Edward won (285.5). Howes was eighth at 135.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central and North wrestling teams:

CENTRAL

Dec. 4 - Finished fifth (2-2) at Eye of the Tiger Tournament behind champion Marysville (5-0)

Dec. 11 - Finished ninth (79) at Olentangy Liberty Classic behind champion Liberty (221)

Last Friday-last Saturday - Finished 19th (60.5) at North Canton Holiday Invitational behind champion Wads-worth (251)

Tuesday-Wednesday - Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Invitational at Vandalia-Butler

*Jan. 6 - At Groveport with Newark

NORTH

Dec. 4 - Finished 11th (116.5) at Solon Comet Classic behind champion Bedford Chanel (218)

Last Saturday - Finished fifth (126) in Panther Invitational, behind champion Chanel (282.5)

Tuesday-Wednesday - Medina Invitational Tournament

*Jan 6 - At Groveport with Newark

*OCC-Ohio match