Bob Fresch is as much a recruiter as he is the coach of the Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling team.

Bob Fresch is as much a recruiter as he is the coach of the Johnstown-Monroe High School wrestling team.

The Johnnies have started the season with only six wrestlers, and two of them are expected to miss most of this month because of knee injuries. That's the reason Fresch is working on his sales pitch.

"I have had a few years like this," said Fresch, who has been coaching the sport since 1977 and is in his third season with the Johnnies. "You kind of have to shrug it off and know it can be different in a couple weeks.

"I'm advertising our brand-new uniforms -- they're pretty cool -- and I have been talking to kids in hallways. It's a sport you have to sell all of the time, but once it takes off it sells itself."

The Johnnies have a state placer back in senior Hayden Bullard, who returns at 138 pounds after finishing eighth in the Division II state tournament last year at the same weight. He went 2-3 at state, losing to Licking Valley's Jake Martinez 4-3 in the seventh-place match to finish 44-13 overall.

Also back is junior Dakota Ramey, who will wrestle at 126 or 132.

"Both of them worked really hard in the offseason to get better and Hayden had just a great football season," Fresch said. "We expect Hayden to get back to state and do well, and Dakota could really do well this year."

The Johnnies have two freshmen in Jacob Bowers (138/145) and Tristan Bush (152).

Sophomores Jon Foor (160) and Chase Sigman (182/195) both should return before the new year after rehabbing knee injuries.

Junior Peyton Clift was a district qualifier last season, going 1-2 at 126 to finish 26-19 overall. He is taking time after football season to decide whether to return to wrestling.

Fresch hopes Clift and others will join the program in the coming weeks.

"It's one of those things where we try to talk (athletes) into coming out," Fresch said. "It's tough to go from one sport to another, and it takes a special person to do this sport."

Girls basketball team loses LCL opener

The girls basketball team lost its first game in four decisions, dropping its LCL opener to Lakewood 46-39 on Dec. 1.

"(The loss) is something that we have to leave behind us and look to our games ahead," said coach Carl Dufford, whose team was 3-1 overall before a league game against Newark Catholic on Dec. 4. "One thing I'm proud of is the way we played against one of the teams that's supposed to be near the top of the league. We played well defensively, holding a pretty good team to 46 points."

Johnstown led 36-35 with 4 minutes, 13 seconds remaining, but the Lancers went on a 7-0 run to take control of the game.

"We had a rough second quarter, only scoring three points (and trailing 22-16 at halftime)," Dufford said. "We spent a lot of energy getting back into the game and in the long run they were a little deeper than us."

Karaline Boso scored nine points, all on 3-pointers, and Mallory Henson also had nine points. Sammy Edwards had eight points and Maddi Lusk added seven. Cheyenne Crawford had 10 rebounds.

Lusk had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Johnnies past Granville Christian 42-26 on Nov. 28. Crawford also had 13 points and Edwards scored eight.

Boys basketball team gets first win

Kyle Matoszkia scored 23 points to lead the boys basketball team to its first win, 61-58 over Columbus South on Dec. 2 in a rematch of a Division II district final from last season.

The Johnnies lost that meeting against South, 44-35 in overtime.

Michael Perkins scored 15 points for the Johnnies, who are 1-1 overall. Jason Carter added eight points.

The Johnnies lost to Dayton Chaminade Julienne 53-44 in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic on Nov. 27 at Wilmington College.

Carter led with 18 points and Tyler Maynard added eight points.

Workman earns state football honor

Junior Cody Workman of the football team was named first-team all-state in Division IV as a punter.

Workman averaged 45.4 yards per punt. At quarterback, he rushed for 1,571 yards and 15 touchdowns on 226 carries.

Junior offensive lineman Jeff Nogaj was second-team all-state. Bullard, a senior linebacker, and senior defensive lineman Jonny Chatfield were special mention.