Grant Robinson likes to size up his opponent and break down what is likely to happen in a match.
The senior heavyweight for the Bexley High School wrestling team weighs his opportunities by analyzing the situation, and that approach has helped him go 19-0 this season with 15 wins by pin.
It's the perfect strategy for someone who scored a perfect 36 on his ACT and has a 4.12 GPA.
"There are different styles of wrestling, like some guys get by with being super-strong, but to be a top wrestler you have to be smart," Robinson said. "You can't just go out there and not think about what you're doing. You have to take calculated risks and be ready for what your opponents are doing, and that kind of analytical thinking is transferable (from the classroom)."
Robinson has been doing a lot of thinking on his feet this season after making the jump from 220 pounds to heavyweight, which has a limit of 285. He currently competes at 250, a weight where he feels comfortable.
"At 220, I was always the strongest guy, but now I'm not always one of the strongest but I can move around better than some of the bigger guys," Robinson said. "It's a whole different style. I match up better against some of the heavyweights than I do the 220s.
"I'm able to rely on my athleticism more at heavyweight than at 220. At 220, I would be forced into positions where I wasn't comfortable because a guy might be quicker than me or more technically sound. Heavyweight wrestlers can't put me in position that I don't want to be in."
Last year at 220, Robinson became Bexley's first Division II sectional champion since Jake Weisman at 112 in 2007. Then in the district tournament, he went 1-2 to finish the season 42-5.
"At 220, I wrestled like a heavyweight, but I wrestle more like a little guy now," he said. "At 220, I was a lock-up wrestler and I'm less so at heavyweight. I have better speed and better cardio than a lot of them and I like to make them move around a bit."
Coach Chris Bragg said Robinson's other strategy is just going out and having fun on the mat.
"He's the only kid that I have ever had that can be sleeping five minutes before the match and then he's like, 'I'm ready to go,'" Bragg said. "He'll shake hands before and give a hug afterward, but Grant goes out and wails on them in-between. He's very dominant on top. He's so strong and he holds guys down so well, and he turns guys so well."
Robinson also was a two-way starter on the line for the football team. He was second-team all-district and first-team all-MSL-Ohio Division last fall after being honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league as a junior.
"There's the physical strength and toughness you get from football that helps you, especially as a heavyweight," Robinson said. "Offensive and defensive line are complementary (for wrestling), especially when balancing people's weight and using that against them.
"Wrestling is my favorite sport. I like football too, but in wrestling you push yourself as hard as you can and all of your success is a result of what you do to prepare. It won't be from bad luck or anything like that, it's all on you."
Bragg said Robinson dominates on top as well as from the bottom position, but the key to breaking through for his first state tournament berth will come down to his performance in the standing, or neutral, position.
"Grant is solid at every position, but I wish he had more offense at the neutral position," Bragg said. "That might be his biggest problem. He probably should have been a heavyweight last year because I think that would have helped him this year (at the neutral position).
"What I have learned at the district tournament is that if you don't shoot to score, if you're not offensive, you won't make it to state. Those matches are too close. It doesn't have to be a double-leg (takedown), but he needs to get some takedowns."
Robinson isn't sure if he wants to wrestle in college. He already has been accepted to Case Western Reserve and is looking at other avenues, as he expects to major in biology or biochemistry.
"I started (at 220) as a freshman and always had fun with it," he said. "That was a valuable experience. You learn more from a loss than you do a win, and I did a lot of learning. It's different now because I have the confidence to do what I need to do."
Boys basketball team to face Whitehall
The boys basketball team will play Saturday, Jan. 20, at Whitehall in MSL-Ohio action.
The Lions are 9-4 overall and 2-3 in the MSL-Ohio, while the Rams are 4-0 in the league.
Bexley lost the first league meeting between the teams 68-53 on Dec. 9. Shannon Stanley scored 17 points and Nasir Tucker added 15.
The Lions defeated Worthington Christian 49-33 on Jan. 13 in league play as Ryan Callahan scored 14 points and Damian Davis added 11 with three 3-pointers.
Callahan scored 19 points and Davis added 18 as the Lions defeated Washington Court House Miami Trace 53-39 on Jan. 9.
Vincent setting pace for girls team
Maddy Vincent has been leading the girls basketball team, which was 8-4 overall before playing Columbus South on Jan. 17 and is 4-1 in the MSL-Ohio.
Through 11 games, Vincent was averaging 16.3 points, followed by Amanda Frey (8.1) and Maddy Young (7.7).
The Lions lost to Granville 49-41 on Jan. 11 as Vincent had 15 points. Frey scored 13 and Emma Dressel added nine.
Bexley was scheduled to play Jan. 13 at Whitehall, but the league contest was postponed because of bad weather.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, girls basketball, boys bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 20 -- At Whitehall. The Lions lost to Whitehall 68-53 on Dec. 9.
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Patriot Prep
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Grandview. The Lions defeated the Bobcats 36-28 on Dec. 8.
Jan. 22 -- At Mifflin
*Jan. 18 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes
*Jan. 19 -- Marion-Franklin at Holiday Lanes
*Jan. 22 -- Grandview at Holiday Lanes
*Jan. 24 -- Columbus South at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- At Columbus Academy with Grandview
Jan. 20 -- Academy Invitational
Jan. 20 -- Ron Thomas Sr. Invitational at Jonathan Alder