Senior Dylan Erdmann is what Gahanna Lincoln High School wrestling coach Matt Hammons calls "kind of a renaissance man."
In addition to being one of the team's top performers this season while competing at 195 pounds, Erdmann participates in the school orchestra and is considering majoring in medicine when he gets to college.
At home football and boys basketball games, he wears the lion costume to perform as the school's mascot.
Erdmann also has been one of the wrestling team's top leaders this winter.
"I just think the leadership position comes naturally for me," he said. "I've tried to come out and take that role and tried to get everyone involved. Coach has said a couple times that I'd make a great coach."
Erdmann made his impact felt on the mat early this season.
After turning in a fourth-place finish Dec. 3 in the Bad Apple Brawl at Mount Vernon, Erdmann went 2-2 for one of the Lions' top performances Dec. 27 in the Medina Invitational.
Erdmann won his match in a 61-9 victory over Pickerington North on Jan. 12 to open OCC-Ohio Division action.
The Lions lost to Lancaster, the defending league champion, 67-9 on Jan. 19 to fall to 1-1 in the OCC-Ohio. They continue league action Thursday, Jan. 26, at Reynoldsburg.
Gahanna also began competition Jan. 25 in the Division I state dual tournament. With two wins, the Lions will compete in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 1, at a site to be announced. The regional champion advances to the state tournament Feb. 12 at Ohio State's St. John Arena.
Last season, Erdmann competed at 182 but saw limited varsity action because the Lions had 2016 graduate Doland Martin, a district qualifier, at that weight.
"In the beginning of (this) season it was a little rough getting all the puzzle pieces together, but we're fine-tuning our lineup and getting people at the right weight classes," Erdmann said. "We've got some real good kids on our team. I got in as much as I could last year and they tried to get me into a lot of extra matches. Being a senior, I think it's my time now. I wrestled against (2016 graduate Luke Hess, who competed at 170 last season) and Doland since my freshman year. Especially Luke, he helped push me a lot.
"I don't personally keep track of my record. For me, pushing as hard as I can and wrestling the best I can, if I can do that, I'm satisfied."
Erdmann learned to play the cello several years ago before switching to the bass while living in Fremont. He moved to Gahanna after the sixth grade.
As a junior, he decided to become the school mascot, which is something he plans to do when he begins college next year, likely at Ohio University.
"It's really great to bring joy to people, especially the little kids," Erdmann said. "They freak out and love it when they see me. I think it's actually helped me become a better athlete because the costume is big and hot, and it's helped me become more physically fit. It's a giant suit and I wear football pads inside it, so it's good for weight loss.
"I'm most definitely mascotting in college. I'm going into pre-med, so I'm not sure how much time I can devote to being in the orchestra."
Hammons is impressed with what Erdmann has done on and off the mat to help him as he's gotten to know the program's other wrestlers.
"It's been nice to have an upperclassman who's so responsible," Hammons said. "He's a really cool guy who is good at everything, which is great as a first-year coach. He's coachable and leads by example."
prep for league meet
Gahanna's boys and girls teams will compete in the OCC-Ohio diving meet Friday, Jan. 27, and the league swimming meet Saturday, Jan. 28, both at Thomas Worthington.
The girls are going for their fourth consecutive league championship, while the boys were fifth in the league last year.
Both teams enter the meet believing they should be in the mix for strong finishes.
The girls took the top four places in diving a year ago and have the league's defending champion in sophomore Maycey Vieta. Senior Ally Wharton is the defending champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and junior Hannah Snedden won the 100 backstroke last season.
Other top competitors for the girls team have been senior Dominique Vaccani, junior Payton Vogelgesang and sophomore Lydia Gilger.
For the boys team, seniors Major Belli, Greyson Collins and Ryan Shaw have led the way.
"A lot of the younger swimmers, especially the boys, are doing a great job," coach Jeff Riegler said. "We're down to 11 girls swimmers, so that's kind of been disappointing. They're all really looking forward to the OCC meet."
Hockey team starting
to bounce back
After a 9-0-3 start to its season, the hockey team lost seven of its next nine games.
The Lions didn't have senior goaltender Chris Henestofel for four of the losses, and sophomore forward Cole Walker and senior defenseman Jacob Nemec also have missed time with injuries.
With a 7-3 win over DeSales on Jan. 22, Gahanna hopes it now is back on track with the postseason approaching. Jared Chobany had three goals and Austin Barok, Jordan Campbell, Will Rhymer and Justen Shotts also scored against the Stallions.
Henestofel saw action in the Lions' 6-3 loss to Olentangy Orange on Jan. 21, but freshman Matthew McElligott was back in goal against DeSales.
McElligott picked up his first career shutout in a 3-0 win over Strongsville on Jan. 15.
The Lions are 13-9-3 overall and 5-6 in the Capital Hockey Conference-White.
"It's been nothing specific, it's just kind of how it goes when you start out 9-0-3," coach J.J. Stallsworth said. "We've had some injuries and just some growing pains for some of our younger kids. It's getting down to crunch time now."