Wrestling might be a regular part of Ben Yost's future for only a few more weeks, but he believes its impact on him will last a lifetime.
The Dublin Coffman High School senior, who is one of the top students in his class and plans to attend Northwestern University, credits the sport with molding him academically.
"It's always school first, (but) wrestling is a great sport," Yost said. "Wrestling taught me a lot about how to succeed in school with time management, how to work hard, endurance. I don't think there's anything like it. I've given so much for the sport, but the sport's also given so much for me, and I love it."
Yost has received some interest from a few mid-major colleges such as Buffalo as well as numerous Division II and III programs and is interested in possibly walking on at Northwestern or becoming a part of the school's powerlifting team.
Regardless, he believes he has some unfinished business on the mat that he hopes to take care of with the Shamrocks during the final month of his prep career.
Yost and Coffman reached the Division I state team tournament each of the past two seasons.
On Jan. 24, the top-seeded Shamrocks beat eighth-seeded Columbus West 69-12 and fifth-seeded Hilliard Davidson 41-19 at Hilliard Darby to advance to the Region 6-A final against third-seeded Teays Valley on Jan. 31 at St. Paris Graham. The winner faced Graham or Vandalia Butler in the Region 6 final Jan. 31.
The regional champion advances to the state tournament Feb. 11 in St. John Arena.
Coffman lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 40-29 in a state quarterfinal in 2016 and lost to Lakewood St. Edward 57-16 in a state quarterfinal last season.
The Shamrocks are 3-0 in the OCC-Central Division after edging Marysville 34-32 on Jan. 18 and shutting out Westland 80-0 on Jan. 25. They have league duals remaining Feb. 8 at home against Upper Arlington and Feb. 15 at Hilliard Davidson.
Yost, who beat both of his opponents Jan. 24 and also captured a title in the Jeff Arndt Classic on Jan. 20 at Amanda-Clearcreek, has spent much of the season at 145 pounds.
Last season, he went 0-2 in the state tournament at 138 and finished 35-15 after being a district qualifier as a sophomore.
"I've had some good matches and I'm working really hard in practice," Yost said. "Making states makes you realize you can compete with some of the guys you didn't think you'd be able to compete with before, so it's a great feeling. Now being a senior, I've garnered quite a bit of respect. I've got a chip on my shoulder and some big goals. My goal is top four in the state this year."
Yost continues to impress coach Chance Van Gundy with his well-rounded abilities on and off the mat.
"Ben is a spectacular kid that is well liked by his peers, teachers and coaches," Van Gundy said. "He got a 34 on his ACT and has well over a 4.0 GPA. As a returning state qualifier, he works extremely hard in the wrestling and weight rooms and manages to work 15 to 20 hours a week."
With veteran teammates such as seniors Parker Baumann (170) and Kyle Murray (113) and junior Lennox Wolak (170), Yost likes the direction his team is heading with the individual postseason approaching.
Sectional competition is Feb. 24.
"We've got some good guys back," Yost said. "It's nice because I've got a lot of friends on the team. Things have been going pretty well."
Girls team closes in on outright title
With a 106-36 victory over Westland on Jan. 25, the girls basketball team earned at least a share of the OCC-Central championship.
The Shamrocks were 17-1 overall before playing Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 30 and are 8-0 in the league as they prepare to play Friday, Feb. 2, at Marysville.
A win over the Monarchs or a victory Feb. 9 at Central Crossing would give Coffman the outright league title.
The Division I district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 4, and the Shamrocks figure to earn one of the top three seeds.
Last week, Coffman was second in the area coaches poll behind Newark with Pickerington Central at No. 3 and was fourth in the state poll behind Newark, West Chester Lakota West and Pickerington Central.
Against Westland, Kaitlyn Kopyar made four 3-pointers and totaled 24 points, Jacy Sheldon made four 3s and scored 21 and Dana Axner added 16 points.
"We're doing pretty well," coach Bryan Patton said. "We've just got to continue to improve over the next couple weeks."
Both swimming teams place second in OCC
Both the boys and girls swimming and diving teams return to action Feb. 10 in a Division I sectional at Kenyon College.
In the OCC-Central meet Jan. 27 at Upper Arlington, the boys team scored 345 points to finish second, behind the host Golden Bears (391) and ahead of Davidson (223), Marysville (89) and Central Crossing (83). The girls also placed second (324), behind UA (478) and ahead of Davidson (166), Marysville (126), Central Crossing (71) and Westland (57).
The boys team swept the three relays. The 200-yard freestyle relay of Owen McQuaid, Eddie Michael, Will Randall and Andy Shepard finished first in 1 minute, 30.35 seconds, the 200 medley relay of Zak Birnbrich, McQuaid, Cole Northup and Ted Stevens won in 1:40.55 and the 400 free relay of Birnbrich, Michael, Randall and Shepard finished first in 3:16.51.
Michael captured titles in the 100 free (47.48) and 200 free (1:44.73), Birnbrich was first in both the 50 free (22.52) and 100 butterfly (53.06), McQuaid won the 100 backstroke (57.72) and Trinity Williams finished first in diving (270.75 points).
Earning runner-up finishes were Northup in the 100 back (57.98), Brendan Oshida in both the 100 breaststroke (1:02.08) and 200 individual medley (2:02.26) and Shepard in the 100 fly (54.66). Ethan Shaw added a third-place finish in the 200 free (1:49.82).
Ellie Andrews and Hannah Bailey led the girls.
They were joined by Grace O'Banion and Ava Warren on the winning 400 free relay (3:43.04). Andrews also won both the 100 breast (1:05.57) and 200 IM (2:10.34) and Bailey finished first in both the 50 free (24.52) and 100 free (53.16).
Earning runner-up finishes were the 200 free relay of Marissa Kruse, Ryoka Nishibori, O'Banion and Warren (1:46.11) and the 200 medley relay of Andrews, Bailey, Cameron Das and Nishibori (1:50.78). The medley relay finished just .42 of a second behind UA.
Sidney Boroff placed third in diving (321.1).
Boys basketball team set for key OCC clash
After playing host to Marysville on Friday, Feb. 2, in OCC-Central action, the boys basketball team will get its first shot at defending league champion UA on Saturday, Feb. 3, at home.
The game with the Golden Bears originally was scheduled for Jan. 12 but was postponed because of bad weather.
Coffman lost to Liberty 62-54 on Jan. 27 in the Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican to fall to 14-3 overall.
Both the Shamrocks and Bears are 6-0 in the league.
UA beat Eastmoor Academy 45-30 in the finale of the Play by Play Classic and was 14-1 overall before facing Westerville Central on Jan. 30. The Bears play host to Westland in a league game Feb. 2.
Coffman has split its last six games after getting off to an 11-0 start.
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Marysville. The Shamrocks beat the Monarchs 78-58 on Dec. 22.
*Feb. 3 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Feb. 6 -- At Westerville North
*Feb. 2 -- At Marysville. The Shamrocks beat the Monarchs 89-56 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Westerville North
Feb. 3 -- Jerome, Scioto and Olentangy at Central Ohio Gymnastics & Cheerleading
Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Jerome, Scioto, Central Crossing, Grove City, Upper Arlington and Westland
*Feb. 3 -- Olentangy at Chiller North
*Feb. 4 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton
Feb. 3 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware