What fifth-year Upper Arlington High School wrestling coach Matt Stout knows for sure about his team entering the season is rivaled by the amount of question marks surrounding the Golden Bears.

What fifth-year Upper Arlington High School wrestling coach Matt Stout knows for sure about his team entering the season is rivaled by the amount of question marks surrounding the Golden Bears.

Stout expects to be without three of the six Division I district qualifiers from last season who were eligible to return, and said his team might not be able to fill all 14 weight classes in its season-opening Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 5.

According to Stout, football injuries have sidelined both junior Slade Morley (220 pounds) and sophomore Garrett Neely (132), who are expected to miss the entire season because of shoulder surgery and concussions, respectively.

As of last week, Stout said he did not expect senior heavyweight Izak Wunderlich, a two-time district qualifier, to come out for the team.

"Kids will have to step up, for sure," Stout said. "I don't know who that's going to be right now, but guys will have to step up.

"We'll see. I don't know that we will fill all 14 weights. We will just have to wait and see."

The three district qualifiers who will compete are senior Harper Nelson (113) and sophomores Teddy Hill (126) and Dante Landolfi (195). None of UA's 10 district qualifiers a year ago advanced to state.

The Bears have three other seniors in middleweights Santiago Barros (160), Jack Cartwright (152) and Michael O'Sullivan (145).

Rounding out the roster are juniors Alex Botello (heavyweight) and Pablo Pabon (170), sophomores Henry Ledman (138), Seth Morley (132), Dennis Orcutt (heavyweight), Garegin Soghomonyan (160) and Jack Stephens (170) and freshmen Mitch Herren (106), Joey Orlando (120) and Gavin Shafer (120).

Stout said Herren has been on his radar for several years.

"He's a very accomplished youth wrestler," Stout said. "He went undefeated in middle school last year (at Hastings). He has been wrestling since kindergarten. He probably had 60 matches by the time he was in second grade.

"He is a little small for 106, but he should have some success there."

UA begins OCC-Central Division competition Jan. 7 with a tri-meet at Marysville that also includes Hilliard Davidson. The Bears went 3-4 in the league last year to finish fifth behind champion Olentangy Liberty (7-0).

"The league is going to be a struggle," Stout said. "Central Crossing is a returning district champ. Olentangy Liberty has some strong move-ins (including defending 152-pound Division II state champion Kyle Lawson, a University of Wisconsin commit, from St. Paris Graham). (Dublin) Coffman brings everybody back. Marysville will probably be pretty good.

"Those might be the best four teams in the Central District."

Girls basketball team off to slow start

The girls basketball team will seek to build on its first win and seek its first OCC-Central victory when it plays host to Thomas Worthington on Friday, Dec. 4.

UA improved to 1-3 overall with a 41-32 win at Dublin Jerome on Nov. 30. Kortney Eisenman had 12 points and Macy Spielman 11 for the Bears, who were coming off a 60-48 loss to visiting Coffman in their league opener Nov. 27.

That night, Eisenman and Spielman each scored 17 points to lead the Bears.

Before league play began, coach Chris Savage considered defending league champion Liberty the favorite, with a catch. Patriots senior guard Alexa Fisher suffered a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus in April.

"The wild card is what happens with Lexi Fisher at Liberty when she comes back from her ACL. She is a tough kid and she will fight to get back," Savage said. "If they get through the early part of the season when she is not there, they are definitely the favorite, obviously.

"Coffman is a wild card, and they lost (2015 graduates) Sade (Olatoye) and Kamerine (Taylor). They will be good, but they will be like us. They'll be putting new girls into new spots. Those three are probably the top teams. It seems like us, Coffman and Liberty battle it out every year. But I don't want to underestimate the others, either."

Coffman, Liberty and UA have been the league's top three teams in some order each of the past two seasons, and finished first, third and fourth in that order three seasons ago.

UA won the league championship in 2013-14 at 13-1, ahead of the runner-up Shamrocks (12-2) and third-place Patriots (10-4).

The Bears were second (12-2) last year behind Liberty (13-1) and ahead of third-place Coffman (10-4).

Swimming teams prepare for opener

The swimming and diving teams open their season with back-to-back dual meets this weekend, as they will play host to Olentangy Orange on Friday, Dec. 4, and Liberty on Saturday, Dec. 5.

UA also will play host to Akron Firestone, Cleveland St. Ignatius and Rocky River Magnificat Dec. 11 before its first big invitational of the season, the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 12 at Ohio State.