Shawn Straub was surprised to see how little Bexley High School had changed in the 22 years since he graduated. Straub, a 1988 Bexley graduate, returned this winter to serve as the school's wrestling coach.

Shawn Straub was surprised to see how little Bexley High School had changed in the 22 years since he graduated. Straub, a 1988 Bexley graduate, returned this winter to serve as the school's wrestling coach.

"It's been kind of fun, but different," said Straub, whose team opened the season by placing sixth (114 points) at the 10-team Franklin Heights Invitational on Dec. 3 behind champion Grove City (250). "Walking down the halls, I've seen some kids of people I went to school with and some of the same teachers that I had as a student. I don't think there's a place I could be more comfortable at than Bexley."

Straub earned 11 varsity letters in football, wrestling and track at Bexley and played football for four years at Hope College in Holland, Mich. After serving as a volunteer football and wrestling coach at Bexley Middle School, Straub spent the last two seasons as a middle school wrestling coach at Fredericktown.

Straub replaces Jason Barnett, who coached the Lions for two years. Last year Bexley finished 34th (9) behind champion Olentangy (135.5) at the Division II district meet.

Junior Derek Cain said he was glad to see Straub, who had been his middle school football coach, take over the program.

"I've known coach Straub for a while, so it was quite easy to adjust to his style," Cain said.

Straub brought in 2005 Bexley graduate Chris Spragg, who served in the Marines for four years, and Jordan Ritter, an ROTC student at Capital University, to help out with practice.

The Lions graduated three of their five district qualifiers, losing Tommy Bolon, Devlin Carver and Mikey Penn. Carver finished the season 24-16 at 171 pounds while Penn was 28-7 at 189 and Bolon was 31-10 at 152.

Junior D.J. Jones and senior Dan Doersam are returning district qualifiers. Jones, 24-7 at 125 last season, went 2-2 at district and was a match away from qualifying for state. Doersam, who went 0-2 at district at 112, was 28-15 last year.

Jones started this season 9-1, winning the 130-pound class at the Franklin Heights Invitational on Dec. 4 and Dan Gartner Duals at Whitehall last Saturday.

Straub expects a lot of leadership to come from the senior and junior classes. Seniors Doersam (135), Chuck Sismanturk (140) and Chris Crane (145) will lead the team with juniors Jones, Cain (160) and Cameron Stewart (171). Stewart has been sidelined by a dental injury. Crane finished 23-18 at 140 and Cain was 13-12 at 145 last year.

Additionally, the Lions added sophomore Howard Yang (171) and freshmen Sam Shorr (103) and Daniel Lee (215) this year.

Bexley went 5-12 overall last year and tied Newark Catholic for sixth in the MSL-Ohio Division at 2-5.

Licking Valley won the league at 7-0 followed by Heath (6-1), Granville (5-2), Lakewood (4-3), Whitehall (3-4), Bexley, Newark Catholic and Columbus Academy (0-7).

One of the things that hampered the Lions last year was competing without a full lineup.

If wrestlers can achieve their goal weights, Straub doesn't foresee that being a problem this season.

"It's important for us to have as big of a lineup as we can," Straub said. "Every time we forfeit a weight class, we give up six points. That's a big factor. Right now we've got several wrestlers trying to lose weight. We will see what happens in January when we have a bunch of dual meets."

The Lions haven't had a state qualifier since Jake Weisman in 2007, but Cain is hoping to see that drought come to an end.

"The past couple of years, I've struggled to get past the sectional meet," Cain said. "This year I'm planning on doing that, doing well and hopefully making it to the state meet.

"Having a state qualifier would mean a lot to the program. If we got some through, the people in the community would realize we have a wrestling team, support it and maybe we'd get some people to come out and give it a try."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming and diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 7 - Lost to Hamilton Township 60-53. Jalen Robinette scored 22 points and Jon Primes added 11 points.

Last Friday - Defeated Columbus West 74-59. Primes scored 21 points, Robinette had 15 and Josh Lake and Evan Porter both scored 11.

*Last Saturday - Lost to Heath 66-45. The Bulldogs outscored the Lions 31-13 in the second half. Robinette scored 14 points.

*Today - At Whitehall. The Lions defeated the Rams 74-62 and 81-67 last year.

*Tuesday - Home vs. Granville. The Lions defeated the Aces 61-53 and 51-36 last year.

Of note: The Lions are 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Dec. 6 - Lost to Hartley 54-39. Kylie Soga scored 20 points.

*Last Friday - Lost to Granville 55-41

*Last Tuesday - Played Newark Catholic

*Saturday - At Lakewood. The Lions defeated the Lancers 36-29 and lost to Lakewood 42-34 in overtime last year.

Tuesday - Home vs. Buckeye Valley. The Lions defeated the Barons 50-26 last year.

Of note: The Lions were 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the MSL-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*MSL-Ohio game

SWIMMING & DIVING

Last Friday - Boys: Lost to Columbus Academy 118-50; Girls: Lost to Academy 98-71

Friday - Grove City at St. Charles

WRESTLING

Dec. 8 - Def. Harvest Prep 34-12 and tied Centennial at 36 but won the meet by criteria of having more pins.

Last Saturday - Finished fourth (3-2) at six-team Dan Gartner Duals behind champion Whitehall (5-0). D.J. Jones (130) won his weight class. Dan Doersam (135), Derek Cain (160) and Sam Shorr (103) placed second.

Tuesday - At Columbus South with Whetstone and Harvest Prep

Of note: The Lions are 5-2 overall.

WRESTLING SCHEDULE

Dec. 4 - Franklin Heights Invitational

Dec. 8 - at Centennial with Harvest Prep

Dec. 11 - Dan Gartner Duals (Whitehall)

Dec. 21 - at Columbus South with Whetstone and Harvest Prep

Dec. 29-30 - Ready Invitational

Jan. 8 - Grandview Invitational

Jan. 14-15 - Licking Heights Invitational

*Jan. 20 - at Licking Valley with Columbus Academy

Jan. 21-22 - Grandview tournament

*Jan. 27 - vs. Newark Catholic and Heath

Jan. 29 - Licking Heights tournament

*Feb. 3 - at Granville

Feb. 5 - St. Charles Classic

Feb. 10 - at Whitehall with Lakewood

*MSL-Ohio match