The Marysville High School wrestling team finished last season among the best in central Ohio. According to coach Shawn Andrews, being near the top presents his team with an opportunity to get better.

The Marysville High School wrestling team finished last season among the best in central Ohio. According to coach Shawn Andrews, being near the top presents his team with an opportunity to get better.

"Last year we were second in the sectional and second in the district," said Andrews, whose team opens Saturday at Pickerington Central's Eye of the Tiger tournament. "There is room for improvement. Hilliard Davidson finished ahead of us at both tournaments, and they have a lot of guys back. So, they're a team we need to contend with."

Marysville graduated two seniors from its lineup, but the Monarchs return three state-qualifying wrestlers in Caleb Marsh, Jake McCombs and Nathan Weeks.

Thanks to that trio, Marysville scored 39 points at the Division I state meet to finish 10th behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (111.5 points), which won for the 13th consecutive season and 25th time overall. The next closest central Ohio team was Davidson in 16th (25).

McCombs (55-2 at 125 pounds) finished third at state and won sectional and district titles. Weeks (36-4 at 215) finished fourth at state, won a sectional title and was runner-up at district. Marsh (44-3 at 160) was sixth at state, won a sectional title and was runner-up at district.

Marsh was making his third consecutive appearance at the state tournament and it was the second in a row for McCombs and Weeks.

The goal is to have those three return to the state meet March 4-6 without overlooking the present.

"You have to take things day-by-day," Andrews said. "What happened last year is behind you. You can only think about moving forward. It's not like we start off matches with more points because you're a returning state placer."

Marysville is opening its schedule by staying close to central Ohio. After the meet at Central, the Monarchs play host to the Marysville Invitational on Dec. 12 before traveling to northeast Ohio's Brecksville Invitational on Dec. 29-30.

Marysville will encounter its 2008 nemesis, Davidson, at its home tournament and the Brecksville Invitational.

Last season, Marysville won the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament with a 41-21 decision over Olentangy in the final. The Monarchs finished second to Davidson at both the section (203.4-199.5) and regional (119.5-104.5).

"We decided to go back to the Eye of the Tiger tournament instead of starting down in the Cincinnati area like we did last year," Andrews said.

"Going to Cincinnati is a long trip for the first weekend of the year. It's tough trip to start the year being on the bus as long as you are. It makes for a long weekend."

Andrews is also looking to use the early meets as a gauge for his lineup. In addition to the three returning state qualifiers, Marysville returned three district qualifiers in seniors Nick Sparks (112), Zev Green (130) and Tyler Bass (145).

"We're trying to get everyone in the right weight class now," Andrews said. "We're getting good practices in. We're trying to get in as good of shape as possible and get the right techniques down."

•The girls basketball team opens OCC-Cardinal play Saturday at Dublin Scioto.

Scioto won the conference last season at 14-0, ahead of Westerville South (11-3), Dublin Jerome (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (8-6), Westerville North (5-9), Olentangy (5-9), Marysville (3-11) and Westerville Central (1-13). Overall, the Irish finished 22-2, but were upset in a Division I district semifinal game by Reynoldsburg 40-37.

Scioto graduated the co-OCC-Cardinal Players of the Year in Kesi Hess and Brandi Gorniak. Gorniak averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 steals and Hess added 15.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3 steals.

"We may not be the most talented team, but we want to keep that tradition going," senior guard Katie Papesh (5-foot-8) said. "We lost two really good guards from last year. We can't replace them, but we're working hard to keep the program where it's at."

Papesh is among a class of five seniors. She's joined by returning starters Jamie O'Connell (5-8, forward), Lindsey Kell (6-0, forward), Shelley Diewald (5-6, point guard) and Devon Chappell (6-1, post player).

Scioto won both meetings against Marysville last season 67-40 and 60-45.

The Monarchs top two scorers last season, Kate Francisco and Jenny Jordan, were held to 8.5 and 7.0 points per game.

Marysville opens Tuesday at Bellefontaine. Last season, the Monarchs won 58-49 as Jordan scored 17 points.

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday's opener, Marysville coach Aric Tucker was hoping his team would establish some leadership.

"That is the biggest thing that hurt us last year," Tucker said. "I don't know if we developed any leaders on our team last year. We're focused on finding leadership this year."

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Marysville basketball, swimming and wrestling teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Tuesday -- At Bellefontaine in opener *Saturday -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto

GIRLS SWIMMING

Saturday -- At Marysville YMCA vs. Pickerington North in opener

*OCC-Cardinal contest

WRESTLING

Dec. 5 at Eye of the Tiger Tournament (Pickerington Central) Dec. 12 vs. Marysville Dual Tournament Dec. 29-30 at Brecksville Invitational *Jan. 7 vs. Westerville Central and Westerville South Jan. 10 at Division I State Duals (Wadsworth) *Jan. 14 at Dublin Jerome with Westerville North Jan. 15-16 at Top Gun Tournament (Alliance) *Jan. 21 at Olentangy Liberty Jan. 23 at Mason Tournament *Jan. 28 at Olentangy *Feb. 4 vs. Dublin Scioto Feb. 6 at Mason Super-Tri

*OCC-Cardinal match

SWIMMING

Dec. 5 vs. Pickerington North (Marysville YMCA) Dec. 8 at Worthington Kilbourne Dec. 10 vs. Bellefontaine and Olentangy (Marysville YMCA) Dec. 12 vs. Mount Vernon and Dublin Scioto (Kenyon College) Dec. 14 at Whetstone Invitational Dec. 17 vs. Lancaster (Marysville YMCA) Dec. 19 at Hilliard Darby with Hilliard Bradley Jan. 6 vs. Dublin Jerome (Marysville YMCA) Jan. 9 at Ned Reeb Invitational (Ohio State) Jan. 16 at Delaware Jan. 21 vs. Hilliard Davidson (Marysville YMCA) Jan. 23 vs. Westerville South (Marysville YMCA) Jan. 27 vs. Thomas Worthington (Marysville YMCA) Jan. 30 at OCC-Cardinal Meet (New Albany)