With several freshmen on the team, second-year Westland High School wrestling coach Chas McCutcheon believes his program has a bright future.

With several freshmen on the team, second-year Westland High School wrestling coach Chas McCutcheon believes his program has a bright future.

McCutcheon, however, said that it might take awhile before positive results are seen, as he plans to have some of those younger wrestlers begin the season on junior varsity.

"We're still in the phase of (having) a lot of young kids, a lot of new faces," said McCutcheon, who is in his sixth season with the program. "We have a small group of returning guys that will be a solid foundation, and then (we have) a big group of new faces in the room."

Westland opens Saturday, Dec. 12, by playing host to Franklin Heights, West Jefferson and Whetstone in the Joe Stora Duals.

The Cougars did not have any Division I district qualifiers last season. According to McCutcheon, among the returnees who have the potential to reach district this season are seniors Manny Lagunas and Josh Brown.

Lagunas, a two-time district qualifier, went 18-10 at 220 pounds last season and was a district alternate. Brown went 15-14 at 170 last season.

Other key returnees are senior Sean Ponce (145/152) and juniors Isaiah Epling (160) and Jack Lewis (195). Epling went 15-16 last season.

Others looking to be key contributors include juniors Orion Kountz (106), Willie Juarez (126) and Trey Mayes (195) and sophomore Soriba Kaba (182).

"Our varsity may have a few holes in it this year for a lineup, but we're going to be able to fill every weight class for j.v., plus extras," McCutcheon said.

"I don't want to throw the new, young bloods into the varsity lineup with our conference. Our conference is pretty tough."

Last season, Westland went 0-7 in the OCC-Central Division to finish eighth behind champion Olentangy Liberty (7-0). McCutcheon expects the league to be quite competitive again this season, with Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman and Marysville challenging Liberty for the title.

Coffman (6-1), Marysville (5-2) and Central Crossing (4-3) rounded out the top four in the league last season, and Central Crossing won the district tournament.

"We don't worry about the powerhouses in our league. We worry about the basics, the foundation and getting our kids to learn the sport the best we can," McCutcheon said.

Westland begins league competition Jan. 7 at home against Coffman and Liberty.

Gymnastics team has two returnees

The gymnastics team has two returnees in juniors India Alston and Kailee Little.

Both are in their third year in the program.

Also on the team are junior Taylor Frasure and freshmen Vanessa Evans and Ines De la Fuente.

Westland opens Monday, Dec. 7, at Westerville Central with Central Crossing and Franklin Heights.

"We want a solid team score," 16th-year coach Lavon Maynard said of the team's season goals. "There's improvement every day."

Last season in the district meet, Little scored a 22.05 in all-around and Alston scored a 21.175, as the Cougars finished 23rd (99.525) behind champion Coffman (141.6) as 24 teams scored.

Westland placed last (103.4) in the five-team OCC-Central meet last season, behind champion Worthington Kilbourne (134.225). The Cougars went 0-4 in their league duals and finished fifth (4 points) in the overall league standings, behind champion Kilbourne (20, 4-0).

Boys basketball team begins league play

The boys basketball team opened OCC-Central play Dec. 4 at Marysville.

The Cougars entered the game 1-2 overall, with their win coming against Franklin Heights, 63-52 in the consolation game of the Grove City Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 28.

Malik Butcher had a team-high 17 points against the Falcons and was named to the all-tournament team. Alex Martin scored 12 points and Matt Mickens added 10.

Westland lost to Grove City 91-58 in the first round of the event Nov. 27. Wilton Marine scored 13 points and Amirah Johnson added 10.

The Cougars lost at Westerville North 111-60 on Dec. 1. Johnson had 16 points and Martin scored 12.

"It's not the start we wanted," coach Scott Vayansky said. "We have seen some good things, but we have a lot to work on. Our shot selection has to get better and we have to finish shots better. We are leaving a lot of points on the court by not finishing. We aren't happy with our defensive effort, and that must improve. We are going to keep working hard and improving."

Girls basketball team defeats Comets

The girls basketball team was 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Dec. 4.

Westland opened OCC-Central play Nov. 27 with a 37-35 win over host Central Crossing. Camryn Moreno had 11 points to lead the Cougars and Mya McClure scored 10.