Trevor Lawson's life hasn't been the same since his older brother brought home a slip of paper with information about a wrestling event at a local high school when the family lived in the Lancaster area.
He was 4 years old.
"I've been wrestling ever since," said Lawson, who admits he doesn't have many interests or hobbies off the mat.
Now a senior at Olentangy Liberty after he and his brother, 2017 graduate Kyle Lawson, moved into the school district before the 2015-16 season, Trevor is more focused than ever on what he wants to accomplish over the coming weeks.
Considering Kyle was a three-time state champion who now is competing for Oklahoma while Trevor was a Division I state runner-up as a sophomore and third at state as a junior, it's not hard to understand his motivation.
"(Last season) is driving me a lot to get that state title," Trevor said. "My brother was a three-time state champ, so I've got to get at least one."
The Lawson family moved into the area after living in the St. Paris Graham school district. Kyle Lawson won two of his state championships for Graham in Division II and a third state title with the Patriots in 2016 before settling for sixth at 160 pounds last season.
Trevor didn't compete for Graham's varsity as a freshman but made the cut at 170 for the Patriots the last two seasons.
This winter he's at 182 and thriving, with junior Carson Kharchla (170) serving as his usual drill partner.
"I've been trying to get (Trevor) to attack the legs more, and him working out with Carson helps," coach Mark Marinelli said. "Trevor forces him to get down and it also helps Carson, so it's good for both of them.
"There's not a lot of difference (between 170 and 182). The guys he's facing now are a little bit bigger, but at 170 guys are a little better technically. But there's good kids at 182."
One thing Marinelli has noticed is that Lawson's demeanor has improved from a year ago when he battled adversity during the regular season.
"We're having a good year, and he's having better spirits than last year," Marinelli said. "He got in a car wreck last year where he had a concussion so he couldn't practice for a few weeks. He missed three weeks or so, and he kind of lost his rhythm. He's pretty healthy right now and really much bigger and stronger."
Lawson has received college attention from Division I programs and could end up at Oklahoma with his brother as well as Liberty senior Jordan Rosselli, who has committed to the Sooners from the 2018 class. Rosselli's father, Lou Rosselli, is Oklahoma's head coach.
With a 40-34 victory over Olentangy on Jan. 25, Liberty is 3-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
On Jan. 20, the Patriots scored 304.5 points to finish second in the 19-team Grizzly Invitational behind host Wadsworth (394). During the tournament, Lawson beat Wadsworth's Joey Baughman 3-0 for the title at 182.
Last season, Baughman was the state runner-up at 170 but didn't face Lawson in the state tournament.
Kyle Lawson beat Baughman for the 160 state title in 2016, and Trevor also has beaten Baughman two other times in addition to Jan. 20.
Kharchla (170) and Connor Brady (152) also captured titles in the Grizzly Invitational, while Blake Saito (132) and Rosselli (126) both were third.
"We really lost a lot of good people last year, but there's some tough people still wrestling like Carson and Connor Brady, so we've just got to keep moving forward and see what we can do at the state tournament," Trevor Lawson said. "(My season is) coming together pretty well. Last year I was probably cutting four pounds every week, but this year I'm usually weighing about 180.
"From 145 to 152 it's a lot different wrestling, but once you get to the heavier guys, it's about technique and staying in your stance and waiting to attack."
Lawson, who said he's concentrating on "my shots and working toward staying in the middle a lot," never gets tired of what he calls "the grind."
"I love it here," he said. "It's a great environment, and the team is the most important part. You can have lifelong friends (in wrestling)."
Swim teams sweep league championships
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams each captured OCC-Buckeye championships Jan. 26 and 27 at Thomas Worthington.
The boys scored 400.5 points to place ahead of Orange (259), Olentangy (210.5), Westerville North (163), Westerville South (142) and Westerville Central (73), and the girls scored 279 to top Olentangy (273.5), Orange (186), Central (182.5), North (161) and South (145).
Depth ruled the day for the boys team as it won both sprint relays and had multiple top-three placers in some events.
The 200-yard freestyle relay of John Bently, Andrew Gehring, Eli Grubbs and Alexander Wisler was first in 1 minute, 30.76 seconds, and the 400 free relay of Bently, Grubbs, Christopher Tracewell and Wisler won in 3:20.85.
Liberty took the second through fifth spots in the 500 free, with Bently finishing second (5:06.35) and Tracewell finishing third (5:20.9).
Also earning runner-up finishes were Bently in the 200 free (1:50.03), Grubbs in the 200 individual medley (2:04.74), Isaac Iversen in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.66) and Michael Boothman in diving (321.45). Taking third were Max Miller in the 100 breast (1:04.7), Blake Overly in the 200 free (1:55.75), Matthew Patterson in the 100 backstroke (59.69) and Nick Sells in the 100 butterfly (55.81).
For the girls, Rachel Peroni won the 200 IM (2:12.46) and 100 fly (58.53) and Kate Saczawa was first in the 50 free (24.86) and 100 back (58.07). The pair also joined Lila Leary and Abby Noonan on the winning 400 free relay (3:41.31).
Liberty's other league champion was Morgan Menninger in diving (453.7).
Earning third-place finishes were Libby Boothman in diving (446.65), Avery Venetta in the 100 breast (1:12.68) and the 200 medley relay of Hannah Beavers, Allison Kenny, Abby Noonan and Venetta (1:57.7).
Boys team hopes to build on Coffman win
Less than 16 hours after enduring a 51-50 loss to Westerville South on Jan. 26, the boys basketball team surprised Dublin Coffman in the Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican.
The Patriots built a 28-14 halftime lead and held off a rally attempt to win 62-54 on Jan. 27. The Shamrocks were second in last week's Division I area coaches and are 14-3.
Liberty was 9-7 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before facing Olentangy on Jan. 31. It then will play Friday, Feb. 2, at home against Westerville North, which it beat 63-57 on Dec. 22 as Ben Roderick had 20 points, Nick Nakasian scored 17 and Mitchell Okuley added 12.
The Patriots since have returned senior Dan McFarland, a 6-foot-8 post player whom they view as a rim protector heading into the stretch run of the regular season.
Hockey team earns big league wins
Although the hockey team's hopes of winning the Capital Hockey Conference-Red title remain slim, the Patriots have gone 3-0-1 since losing to first-place Dublin Jerome 3-1 on Jan. 19.
Liberty tied St. Charles at 1 on Jan. 20 but beat the Cardinals 3-1 on Jan. 26. The Patriots also won 4-3 on Jan. 21 over Upper Arlington. St. Charles and UA are two of the other three teams in the CHC-Red.
After a 10-0 win over Gahanna on Jan. 27, the Patriots are 21-5-3 overall and 11-2-1 (23 points) in the league. Jerome is first in the CHC-Red at 13-1 (26 points) and closes the league schedule Friday, Feb. 2, against DeSales and Saturday, Feb. 3, against Springboro.
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty boys basketball,
girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Westerville North. The Patriots beat the Warriors 63-57 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- At Newark
*Feb. 2 -- At Westerville North. The Patriots beat the Warriors 62-46 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 3 -- At Teays Valley
Feb. 5 -- Home vs. Newark
*Feb. 1 -- Beechcroft at Sawmill Lanes
Feb. 6 -- Olentangy and Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes
*Feb. 2 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The Patriots beat the Golden Bears 4-3 on Jan. 21.
*Feb. 3 -- Watterson at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 3 -- Upper Arlington Invitational
Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Massillon Perry