Since taking over as Northland High School wrestling coach before the 2013-14 season, Nathan Wylder has attempted to build tradition while gradually helping the program have better results.

Since taking over as Northland High School wrestling coach before the 2013-14 season, Nathan Wylder has attempted to build tradition while gradually helping the program have better results.

The Vikings took a step toward the first of those goals by renaming its wrestling room in honor of former coach Chuck Deyo and repainting it last April. Deyo headed the program from 1969-95 and also coached softball at the school for 25 years.

Northland is expecting to be more competitive on the mats this season, too.

After finishing ninth in the City League tournament with 61 points last season, the Vikings have a returning league champion in senior Caleb Woods (145 pounds) and better numbers than last season.

"We dedicated our wrestling room to the memory of Chuck Deyo because the way he did his job had an impact on a significant number of people," Wylder said. "Even a fresh coat of paint and new lights has made a difference.

"Last year we finished ninth in the City and we only had four kids at the City tournament. This year we're looking for a nice rebound. We're looking to place in the top five or six. I feel good about the guys I have."

Northland, which competes Saturday, Dec. 19, in the Tom Sparks Memorial at Groveport, has a group of seniors other than Woods that Wylder is high on.

Solomon Beaufort (160) and his sister, Sheba Beaufort (106), are other seniors along with Demetrius Terry (220) who should have an impact.

Others looking to contribute include juniors Albert Adusei (138), Quadarius Bolden (152) and Devon Carter (126), sophomore Kevin Magana (132) and freshman Lavell Mitchell (170).

Among the teams that the Vikings likely will be chasing in the City are Walnut Ridge, Whetstone and Columbus West.

Walnut Ridge earned its first league championship since 1973 last season, scoring 224 points in the City meet as Whetstone was runner-up (202) and West placed third (140).

Senior Elijah McGowan, who won the league title at 152 last season, is among the top returnees for Walnut Ridge.

On Dec. 5 in the Lee Spitzer Invitational at Upper Arlington, McGowan took third at 160 as the Scots finished ninth (49) of 10 teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (288). West placed eighth (79).

The Cowboys' top returnee is junior Amadi Bakari, a Division II district qualifier last season at 106 who is competing at the same weight. He was runner-up in the Spitzer Invitational.

Other key wrestlers for West include junior Austin Sable (220), who also was runner in the Spitzer Invitational, and seniors Tyler Thompson (120) and James Mitchell (170).

"Half the battle in the City is having a full lineup," Cowboys coach Felix Catheline said. "To my knowledge, we are one of three teams that do (along with Walnut Ridge and Whetstone), and we also have a (junior varsity) team."

South, Eastmoor boys again look to excel

The Columbus South and Eastmoor Academy boys basketball teams aren't planning to take a step back after having memorable finishes last winter.

The Bulldogs were 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the City-South Division and the Warriors were 0-3 and 0-2 before the teams faced each other on Dec. 15.

Last season despite having just two seniors, South won its first district championship since 1986 before losing to Dayton Dunbar 72-54 in a Division II regional semifinal to finish 19-7.

Seniors Marquez Hargrove (5-foot-10, guard), Daevon Taylor (6-3, forward), Daeshawn Thompson-Green (5-10, guard) and Tamal Watkins (5-10, guard) and junior Lamont Broomfield (6-4, forward) are returnees.

The Bulldogs also have added a move-in from Bexley in 6-5 senior forward Carter Williams, who made honorable mention all-district last season.

"These guys have bought into the program," coach Ramon Spears said. "They compete every day in practice because they want to be better than they were last year. We still have things to prove."

Despite his team's slow start, Eastmoor coach Jim Miranda believes the future is bright.

The Warriors also have been boosted via the transfer route, with sophomores Stanley Williams (6-7, forward) and Stephan Williams (6-6, forward) joining the program after attending City Prep last season.

Eastmoor, which made it to the Division III state tournament last season and finished 17-12, has returned senior Osaretin Onaiwu (6-4, forward) and sophomores Tariq Brown (6-6, guard/forward) and Taevion Kinsey (6-3, guard).

The Warriors have moved up to Division II after advancing to state for the first time last season.

"By the end of the year, I'm hoping they can make big strides," Miranda said. "We've got 22 games to get them ready. We've got some bigs and we've got a solid 10 kids who can play. There's got to be some excitement, but there's got to be a lot of patience. I'm glad the tournament is not tomorrow."

Vikings girls gain early league lead

The Northland girls basketball team already has a leg up in its quest to return to the City championship game.

The Vikings defeated Centennial 68-65 on Dec. 4 and Whetstone 65-48 on Dec. 8 in City-North contests and were 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the league before playing Beechcroft on Dec. 15.

Northland endured its first loss Dec. 12, falling to Cleveland East Tech 58-49 at home.

Last season, the Vikings and Centennial both finished 13-1 in the league, with the teams splitting their two matchups. However, the Stars won the tiebreaker to represent the City-North in the City championship game because Northland had competed in the contest more recently.

The Vikings hold the tiebreaker if the teams tie for first in the league again this season.

Centennial, Mifflin and Whetstone all were 3-1 in the City-North entering play Dec. 15.