Canal Winchester High School wrestling coach Jordan Cramer is overjoyed at senior Austin Wolfe's season to date.

Canal Winchester High School wrestling coach Jordan Cramer is overjoyed at senior Austin Wolfe's season to date.

Cramer is not, however, so eager to get on the mat with Wolfe, who is 22-1 at heavyweight and did not allow an offensive point through his first 18 matches. Wolfe started 20-0 before losing to Ashland's Tyler Newlan in a semifinal at the Marion County Tournament on Jan. 14 at Marion Harding.

"I haven't had a chance to wrestle him live yet this year just because I had a torn meniscus so I won't get my body in there," Cramer said. "Last year, I would take a shot on him because that is my offense. I shoot. Normally, I could get a jump on these guys, but not him. I have to get both my arms wrapped around one leg for dear life so I don't give up a takedown.

"He is just a tough individual to take down. I can see where some of these guys try to get in on his legs so he might back up a little bit, but he lands his hips right on top and spins right around behind. He has improved on that part of his defense and made it part of his offense."

Wolfe, who entered wrestling after a solid football season, even expressed some surprise at his dominance.

"This is definitely better than I thought," Wolfe said. "A lot of it is just my size and being a lot longer than everybody else. It's harder for them to get anything over on me. But a lot of it is also just mat time and experience. This is my third year, so now it's finally starting to come naturally to me. The past two years, I was learning as I go, and this is the year I can kick it into high gear."

Wolfe went 29-8 last season but failed to reach the Division I district tournament. As a two-way lineman in football, he recorded 12 tackles on defense and helped paved the way for an offense that averaged 249.2 total yards and 18.9 points per game in finishing 3-7.

Wolfe, who made third-team all-state in Division II, said he has been in contact with a handful of Division II colleges regarding football. While he largely has ruled out wrestling at the next level, he said he might try to work out with a college team for conditioning purposes.

"Lifting weights for football helped prepare me for wrestling, but I think wrestling actually helps me more with football," Wolfe said. "On the football field, I am in way better condition. I have better leverage and I think that helps me dominate better than before."

Perhaps Wolfe's biggest adversity on the mat has been that because he stands 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, he has to cut weight every week.

One of his most memorable wins came Jan. 7, when he outlasted Dublin Scioto's Brian Zimmerman 5-3 in the heavyweight final of Scioto's Kevin Cleveland Memorial Tournament. Wolfe used a takedown in the final seconds to increase his lead to 5-1, and hung on for a 5-3 win despite being called for a stall as time expired.

"That's what it's all about. It just comes down to conditioning and who wants it more," Wolfe said. "I want to be a good example for the rest of the team. I want to give them a blueprint of how to be successful. Wrestling always comes down to hard work."

Wolfe's ultimate goals this season are returning the Indians to the Division I individual state tournament for the first time since 2014 and becoming the program's first state champion.

"He is comfortable wherever he is on the mat, and that creates a big advantage," Cramer said. "If he doesn't like it, he can still move his body and create an offense out of whatever he's doing. He is dictating his matches."

Boys basketball team
prepares for Newark

After a lackluster second half in a 54-40 loss at New Albany on Jan. 13, the boys basketball team had a chance to regain some momentum before playing host to Newark on Friday, Jan. 20.

The Indians led 18-10 early in the second half, but allowed a 19-0 run by New Albany and made just two of 17 3-point attempts as their three-game winning streak was snapped.

Canal Winchester was 9-4 overall before playing Hamilton Township on Jan. 17 and is 2-2 in the OCC-Capital.

Luke Phillips' 10 points led the Indians, who squandered a chance to move into second place in the OCC-Capital. Newark is 4-0 in the league, ahead of Groveport (3-1) while Canal Winchester and New Albany are tied for third. Big Walnut (1-3) and Franklin Heights (0-4) round out the standings.

"Our first half was the best first half we'd played all year even though we hadn't scored well," coach Lyndell Snyder said, referencing in part a substantial advantage in offensive rebounds. "The hustle, the intensity, we had so many of the intangibles that we need to be a good team. We have to get back to some fundamentals. I know a lot of teams out there would like to be 9-4 right now, but there's definitely room for us to get better."

Newark was tied with Westerville South for fourth in last week's Division I state poll.

"Newark at home is going to be a tall task. We will have to play really, really well," Snyder said. "We have played well lately. We got some momentum going and we just ran into a tough team (at New Albany)."

Fry, Riddle stand
out in swim meet

Two underclassmen led the swimming teams during the invitation-only Northeast Classic on Jan. 14 in Canton.

Freshman Blake Fry of the boys team placed sixth in the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 53.66 seconds), and sophomore Grace Riddle of the girls team was seventh in the 100 backstroke (59.23).

Fry also was 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.16), while Riddle teamed with Miaya Green, Hannah Olger and Kassidy Pastor to finish 12th in the 200 free relay (1:42.37) and finished 22nd in the 200 free (2:00.67).

Swimmers had to meet time standards to qualify for the Northeast Classic. It was held at Branin Natatorium, the site of the state meet.

Fry was the only boy to qualify for the Indians, along with nine girls swimmers. According to coach Julie Pastor, the Indians faced some adversity as Kassidy Pastor became ill the night before the meet but insisted on staying to compete. Pastor, however, did withdraw from competing individually in the 100 back and 200 individual medley.

The girls finished 27th (22 points) behind champion New Albany (206) as 47 teams scored, while the boys tied Akron Firestone for 32nd (16) behind champion Columbus Academy (196) as 51 teams scored.

Coach Pastor also was quick to point out that the Indians have seen considerable improvement from several other swimmers, most of whom do not swim with club teams during the offseason as the Indians' top swimmers do.

"Corey Berner and Nathan Amburgey have both stepped up ... and will do any strokes we ask," coach Pastor said. "Jared Tomlinson and Will Butler have been dropping a lot of time this year, and Ashley Clubb went into our Westerville North meet (on Dec. 9) and dropped nine seconds in the 100 free, so it's not just the club swimmers that hold this group together. It's a group effort."