Second-year Bexley High School wrestling coach Shawn Straub is looking forward to seeing how seniors Derek Cain and D.J. Jones fare this season.

Second-year Bexley High School wrestling coach Shawn Straub is looking forward to seeing how seniors Derek Cain and D.J. Jones fare this season.

"Probably most of all, we are looking forward to the performance of our seniors. We have two four-year kids in Derek and D.J.," said Straub, whose team opens Thursday, Dec. 8, in a tri-match at Heath with Lakewood before competing in the Sparta Highland Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 10. "Physically speaking, they're not much bigger, but they're a year older and quite a bit stronger than they were a year ago."

Cain will start in the 160-pound weight class with hopes of moving down to 152. Jones will start at 145, but Straub would like to see him drop to 138 in the newly sanctioned weight classes.

Jones, who went 31-7 at 130 last season, and Cain, who went 32-10 at 152, are the Lions' only returning Division II district qualifiers. Both went 0-2 in the district tournament last season at Columbus East.

Also competing at district a year ago were 2011 graduates Chris Crane and Chuck Sismanturk. Crane went 1-2 at 145 and Sismanturk went 0-2 at 135.

"Just because you made it to district one year doesn't mean you're making it to state this year," said Jones, who was one win away from reaching the state tournament as a sophomore in 2009-10. "You have to work hard."

Also expected to be key contributors are senior Cameron Stewart (170), junior Josh Gewirtz (145) and sophomore Sam Shorr (106).

The Lions scored four points at district to tie New Concord John Glenn for 37th behind champion Olentangy (158.5), finished seventh (77.5) in the 13-team Hilliard Bradley sectional behind champion Olentangy (292) and went 2-5 in the MSL-Ohio Division.

Bexley likely will be handicapped in dual meets this season because it may be able to fill only 10 of the 14 weight classes, but Jones remains optimistic.

"Right now, we don't have a (full) team, but the people that we have are really working hard in practice, and with the people that we have, I feel like we're going to be successful," Jones said.

"One of the things that our coach says is that wrestling is a team sport, but it's also an individual sport, so I am going to do my part and I hope everyone else is going to do theirs."

Bexley was sixth (2-5) in the MSL-Ohio Division last season, behind Licking Valley (7-0), Whitehall (6-1), Newark Catholic (5-2), Granville (4-3) and Heath (3-4), and ahead of Lakewood (1-6) and Columbus Academy (0-7).

•The boys and girls swimming teams enter the season with a lot of question marks.

"We have a pretty young team this year," sixth-year coach Natalie Mossman said. "We get to build that young talent up and see how they develop.

"One of the biggest challenges is you don't really know them yet. You have to kind of establish a relationship with them and figure out where their strong points are and where their weaknesses are and what are the best ways you can help them."

Expected to lead the girls team are senior Katlin Hiller, juniors Sierra Humphrey and Sarah Jones and sophomores Megan Niermeyer and Maya Saar. Mossman also expects big contributions from the freshman class, which includes Abby Early.

Humphrey and Saar teamed with 2011 graduates Amanda Young and Anna Bauer to place 13th (2 minutes, 3.88 seconds) in the 200-yard medley relay in the Division II district meet last season at Ohio State.

Also at district, Humphrey was ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.99) and Saar placed 18th in the 500 freestyle (5:59.36).

Last season, Bexley placed third (145) in the MSL meet, seventh (79) in its sectional and 13th (74) at district. Granville scored 391 points to win the league meet and captured the sectional (204) and district (368) titles.

Expected to lead the boys team are senior Kris Baker and juniors Ian Davis and Jacob Turner.

Freshmen Ben Hoffman, Patrick Lape, Alex Musick and Drew Powell also are expected to make an immediate impact.

At district last year, Davis and Baker teamed with 2011 graduate Hayden Humphrey and sophomore Marek Kuspan to place 15th in the 400 free relay (3:50.48). Davis, Turner, Humphrey and 2011 graduate Spencer Fries finished 23rd in the 200 free relay (1:58.18).

Also at district, Humphrey won the 100 breast (1:01.5), Davis was 17th in the 200 individual medley (2:22.44). Turner was 26th in the 500 free (5:48.99) and 30th in the 200 free (2:07.57).

Humphrey went on to place 12th at state in the 100 breast (1:01.46) as the Lions finished 46th with five points behind champion Hunting Valley University School (377). He was the first state qualifier for the boys team since 2002.

Bexley finished seventh (78) in the MSL meet last season behind champion Granville (269), placed fifth (83) in the Academy sectional behind champion Granville (283) and tied Liberty Union for 23rd (24) at district behind champion Granville (368).

"I think (the returnees) learned a little bit from Hayden about what it takes to be successful," Mossman said.

"You have to commit to the training and have a specific goal in mind. You have to really work for it and be single-minded in that effort. Hayden had a goal. It took us two years, but he made it."