Since Jamey Collins took over as coach for the 2002-03 season, the Dublin Coffman High School boys basketball team has been to 11 Division I district finals, winning four titles, including last season.
The group of talent the Shamrocks will have on the court this season might be as good or even better than some of those past championship teams, according to Collins.
Coffman opened Nov. 30 with an 84-44 win at Mansfield Senior and beat Dayton Thurgood Marshall 78-50 on Dec. 1 at home.
"With so many returning guys, we've been kind of moving right along," Collins said. "We do have some guys that are fortunately playing at a high level, and I think we have so many very high-level players, probably more than normal. Across the board, I don't know if we've ever been more athletic than this."
The Shamrocks peaked at the right time last season, losing twice during the regular season to Upper Arlington to settle for second in the OCC-Central Division at 8-2 behind the first-place Golden Bears (10-0) but avenging those losses with a 68-51 victory over UA in a district final.
Coffman then lost 58-38 to Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal to finish 20-7 overall.
Dominiq Penn, a 6-foot junior guard, scored 30 points in the district final and averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals while earning first-team all-league and second-team all-district honors. He entered the season with 800 career points.
Senior Derek Van Vlerah is a 6-6 wing player who averaged 10.5 points and was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and 6-3 senior forward Will Hunter averaged eight points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Luke Bartemes, a 6-4 senior wing player, shot a program-record 51 percent from 3-point range last season and averaged seven points, and 6-1 senior guard Grant Yeater averaged three points.
Two additions who should make an impact are 6-3 senior forward Patrick Preece and 5-9 freshman guard Ajay Sheldon.
Preece is a transfer from Hilliard Davidson and an Asbury commit who was second-team all-league last season, while Sheldon is the brother of two-time Division I district Player of the Year Jacy Sheldon of the girls team.
The other seniors are Jack Greenwalt (6-3, guard/forward) and Evan James (5-10, guard).
Also looking to contribute are juniors Sean Moriarty (5-10, guard) and Keaton Turner (5-10, guard) and sophomores Nash Hostetler (6-2, guard/wing player) and Hammond Russell (6-4, forward).
Penn scored 36 points in the opener and followed by making six 3-pointers and scoring 28 points against Thurgood Marshall.
The only key players lost from last season were Nick Carlson, an honorable mention all-league and all-district honoree who averaged 10 points and is now playing for Ohio Wesleyan, and Trevor Grady, who averaged 6.5 points and was second-team all-league.
"It's just a unique team where everything is kind of by committee," Collins said. "We've got a lot of guys back, so the familiarity has been really nice. It's just a bunch of guys who are trying to get better and it's always fun getting a group to that point. They like to compete and they like to play."
Wrestlers loaded with youth, talent
Despite having just three seniors in its postseason lineup last winter, the wrestling team won OCC-Central and Division I sectional titles and had eight district qualifiers.
The Shamrocks might end up with a similar number of seniors in their lineup by season's end, but that's because young talent continues to emerge.
"Our lineup is subject to change and is still a work in progress," seventh-year coach Chance Van Gundy said.
"At this point in time, we're trying to develop depth across the board. It could look a lot different in January."
Coffman returns six district qualifiers, with senior Lennox Wolak (182 pounds) expected to lead the way again after finishing fourth at state.
Last year's other state qualifier was 2018 graduate Ben Yost (138).
Seniors Antonio Gonzalez (152) and Eric Feng (heavyweight), juniors Nick Copley (160) and R.J. Carpenter (195) and sophomore Jimmy Baumann (113) also competed at district last season, with Baumann placing fifth at 106 and finishing 36-4 overall. Carpenter, Copley and Gonzalez all won more than 20 matches and Feng won 19.
Also returning after being district alternates last season are juniors Leo Alvarez (170) and Davante Cooper (126). Senior Morgan Adams (132) was a sixth-place finisher at sectional last season.
Seth Shumate, who placed fifth in Cadet Freestyle and fourth in Cadet Greco-Roman at nationals last summer, is a 170-pound freshman who could make an immediate impact. He is competing with Alvarez and sophomore Michael Blocher.
Junior Nick Hoskinson and freshman Riley Ucker are competing at 220.
Senior Jacob Hamed, sophomore Evann Coy and freshmen Kyle Striker and Mac Vickery are at 145, while senior Patrick Kennedy, junior Erik Arndt, sophomore Casey Magyar and freshmen Jackson Gilles and Juan Velazquez are competing at 138.
Senior Ryan Moriarty and freshmen Niko Gonzalez and Aayush Sharma join Adams at 132, with freshmen Ismael Ayoub and Cruz Komine competing at 120 and junior Corey Crawford, sophomore Chase Wolfingbarger and freshmen Rupert Moore competing at 106.
Others looking to contribute include senior Liam Mason (182), juniors Nick Sayles (195) and Cam Callahan (152), sophomores Jose Cuevas (152), Adam Gluck (160), Lohith Savardeckar (126) and Brady Walsh (152) and freshmen Dillon Cook (113), Andre Jeronimo (160), Zafar Shaik (152) and Dom Taylor (heavyweight).
"We have high hopes for this team," Van Gundy said. "Although we'll lack experience in several weight classes, our team goals stay the same. We want to be wrestling well enough to compete for OCC, regional and district titles. There are several teams in the area that will be pretty good on paper, so we'll have our work cut out for us."
Nov. 30 -- at Mansfield Senior
Dec. 1 -- vs. Dayton Thurgood Marshall
*Dec. 7 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Dec. 14 -- at Westland
*Dec. 21 -- vs. Marysville
Dec. 28 -- Liberty Township Lakota East in Stephen Gussler Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Dec. 29 -- Proctorville Fairland in Stephen Gussler Invitational
*Jan. 4 -- vs. Central Crossing
Jan. 5 -- vs. Dayton Ponitz
Jan. 8 -- at Pickerington North
*Jan. 11 -- at Upper Arlington
Jan. 12 -- vs. Toledo Scott
*Jan. 18 -- at Davidson
Jan. 19 -- at Northland
Jan. 22 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*Jan. 25 -- vs. Westland
Jan. 29 -- at Olentangy
*Feb. 1 -- at Marysville
Feb. 5 -- vs. Westerville North
*Feb. 8 -- at Central Crossing
*Feb. 15 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Feb. 16 -- vs. Parkersburg (W.Va.) South
Dec. 1 -- Uniontown Lake Duals
Dec. 8 -- Big Walnut Classic
Dec. 14-15 -- North Canton Hoover Invitational
Dec. 20 -- vs. Olentangy Orange, New Albany and Reynoldsburg
Dec. 27-28 -- Medina Invitational Tournament
*Jan. 10 -- at Central Crossing
*Jan. 17 -- vs. Marysville
Jan. 19 -- Jeff Arndt Classic at Amanda-Clearcreek
*Jan. 24 -- vs. Westland
Jan. 26 -- Rieman Invitational at Delaware
*Feb. 7 -- at Upper Arlington
*Feb. 14 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Feb. 16 -- Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman girls basketball, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
Dec. 8 -- Olentangy Liberty at Quicken Loans Arena
*Dec. 10 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Logan
Dec. 11 -- At Worthington Kilbourne with Jerome and Scioto
*Dec. 9 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 7-9 -- Makos Speedo Holiday Spirit Classic at Miami University