The Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high school wrestling teams will compete in the OCC-Central Division tournament Saturday at Westland.

The Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high school wrestling teams will compete in the OCC-Central Division tournament Saturday at Westland.

The event features a dual format and also will include Dublin Coffman, Grove City, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Upper Arlington and Westland. There will be no individual champions, and the all-league selections will be voted on later by coaches.

"I personally am not a big fan of this format," Thomas coach Jeremiah Webber said. "Sectional, district and state are all run at the individual level. I think the OCC should be run along the same lines and give the individuals the opportunity to settle it on the mat. Right now it's determined by a coaches' vote. I just think if there's an opportunity to settle it on the mat, then let's do that."

Still, Webber said it will be a good chance for Thomas to wrestle some of the top teams in the area. Six of the eight teams in the league were represented at the Division I state tournament last year, and the two that weren't -- Dublin Coffman and Westland -- are vastly improved.

"My expectations for the OCC tournament are that we'll come away with some first-team, second-team and honorable-mention wrestlers," Webber said. "We're approaching it as an individual recognition tournament for the guys. With the numbers we have it's hard to approach it with a team mentality. It will give us a good look at the competition we'll see at sectional and district and help us prepare. It's a goal-setting opportunity."

Senior Bryan Bowman (135 pounds) has set some lofty goals, and a good performance in the OCC tournament could help him continue on that path.

"At the beginning of the season, I didn't know where I wanted to be," he said. "I said I had some goals but I didn't know how attainable they were. Now I'm into the season and I feel I really can go to state and place."

The Cardinals finished 30th (40) behind champion St. Paris Graham (351) in the Top Gun Tournament at Alliance on Jan. 16-17. Mike Brankamp was fourth at 171 and Alex Karageorge was eighth at heavyweight. Karageorge had to injury default in the seventh-place match after injury a shoulder.

Webber didn't disclose which shoulder Karageorge hurt but said he will be OK to wrestle at the OCC Championships.

ĽKilbourne will compete in the OCC-Central tournament two days after a dual against Pickerington North.

Kilbourne has improved its standing in the league the last three seasons, but a division switch with tougher teams could make it difficult for the Wolves to continue that trend.

"It's going to help us because every match will be hard," coach Phil DiSabato said. "We had a hard week last week, but it was a good week, and we'll continue to build on it this week. I hope to have some kids do well in their weight classes, and I hope to get second or third as a team in our division."

DiSabato said he would rather the OCC shift to a more traditional tournament format.

"I'd rather have a big tournament instead of the duals," he said. "I don't know how they'd seed it but it will be difficult to seed the teams with the way it is now. I'd just rather have a big tournament to get the team ready for sectional, district and state."

In a four-team meet Jan. 22, Kilbourne defeated Delaware 37-32 as Wassim Soomro (112), Bryan Hoffman (145), Josh Burton (152), Tyler Blaine (160), Ryan Bott (171), Greg Muenchow (189) and Brett Shaffer (heavyweight) were winners.

Kilbourne then faced West Jefferson, which was seventh in the Division III state poll last week, and won 37-34 as Nick Varazashvili (103), Soomro (112), David Hutchinson (125), Andrew Taylor (130), Hoffman (145), Muenchow (189) and Shaffer (heavyweight) were winners.

It was a particularly impressive showing for Muenchow as he moved up from his usual spot at 171 to compete at 189. He defeated two of the area's top wrestlers as he won an 11-6 decision over Delaware's Christian Brooks, then pinned West Jefferson's Nick Fultz in 3 minutes, 32 seconds.

Kilbourne's Trevor Aebi (top) battles Delaware's Mark Rieman on Jan. 22 during a 140-pound match.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas wrestling teams:

KILBOURNE

Jan. 22 -- Defeated Delaware 37-32; def. West Jefferson 37-34

Today --╩At Pickerington North

Saturday --╩At OCC-Central tournament at Westland

THOMAS

Jan. 16-17 --╩Finished 30th (40) behind champion St. Paris Graham (351) in Top Gun Tournament

Jan. 22 --╩Lost to Dublin Coffman 62-10; lost to Pickerington Central 65-12

Saturday -- At OCC-Central tournament