Hudson Jump is at ease on the mat, and it shows.
The Grandview Heights High School senior wrestler overwhelmed opponents in the 220-pound bracket of the prestigious Medina Invitational Tournament on Dec. 27 and 28. He recorded four pins and then with a 19-8 major decision over Delta's Austin Kohlhofer became the first Bobcats competitor to capture a title in the 44th annual event.
Jump also is the defending Division III state champion at 195, finishing 41-1 as a junior.
"A lot of people might think that there would be more pressure on me this year, but it's the opposite," he said. "I feel like I can go out there and be myself. I don't want to say that I have accomplished my goal (by winning state last year), but I don't feel any pressure anymore. I'm going out there and wrestling freely.
"It helps a lot because it's a weight off my shoulders. I don't feel pressure. I can just constantly push and keep going and going to try to break the other person."
The Medina tournament was Jump's first action of the season. He got a late start because of a shoulder injury suffered in the final regular-season football game, a 42-21 loss to Columbus Academy on Oct. 26.
"I injured my right shoulder in football against Academy when I tried to run over a defender," said Jump, a running back and defensive end who was first-team all-state and all-district on defense in Division VI and MSL-Ohio Division Defensive Player of the Year. "My shoulder pad came up, and I hit him with a bare shoulder. Some of the muscles and tendons were ripped from the bone, and I didn't give it enough time to recover. It took longer than I wanted to get back."
Coach Sam Mehling said that wasn't much of a setback considering the demands put on a wrestler's body during the course of a season.
"Hudson started like three weeks late, which isn't a bad thing," Mehling said. "Wrestling is such a long season and you can get burnt out or beat up. Maybe that can help him.
"He has been more focused since winning a state title. He works hard and likes to have a challenge. He's always pushing himself."
Mehling said Jump always has been driven, but Jump believes that drive became even stronger last year during the Top Gun Invitational at Alliance. That is where he suffered his last loss, finishing third at 195 last January after losing to Austintown Fitch's Breylon Douglas 6-4 in a semifinal.
Jump would finish 5-1 in the event, pinning Bellefontaine's C.J. Cook in 1 minute, 58 seconds in the consolation final as Douglas lost to North Canton Hoover's Ben Smith 6-2 in the championship match.
"The toughest part (of wrestling) is mentally trying to get back up when you lose," said Jump, who will compete in the Top Gun on Jan. 18 and 19 at Alliance. "That's why a lot of people can't handle wrestling. The last match I lost last year was at Top Gun.
"I feel that (Top Gun) loss benefited me a lot. I don't want to say I'm happy I lost, but I needed that a lot. I felt like I was on top of the world, and that put me in my place and allowed me to work a lot harder to reach my goal."
Grandview finished 11th (127 points) of 13 teams in its annual Bobcat Invitational on Jan. 5 behind champion Franklin Heights (263.5). Jump won at 220 to improve to 8-0 and was the tournament's Most Valuable Wrestler for the third consecutive season.
Jump credits his success to an aggressive, takedown-style normally implemented by lighter-weight competitors.
"My motor seems to be bigger than most of the people I wrestle, so if I can keep shooting, I can get one eventually," he said. "I try to keep pushing the pace all of the time.
"I guess I learned that from smaller guys. I learned to be quicker and not just rely on strength. (Ohio State junior 149-pounder and 2016 Grandview graduate) Brendan (Fitzgerald) was really good at upper-body moves and he was really quick. It was cool to be on the team with him (as a freshman). We were really close."
Although Jump already has won a state title, he still has goals. Topping that list is going through his entire senior season without surrendering a takedown.
"The guys are stronger (at 220 than at 195) but they aren't as fast; I think I can benefit from that more," he said. "I enjoy just going against the bigger guys because I feel like I have an advantage. I weigh around 215, so I'm having fun and not worrying about cutting weight. I haven't cut weight since freshman year.
"Wrestling is so demanding and it's so obvious that the hardest-working person always is going to win. I feel like I can be the hardest-working one and keep pushing. I have always enjoyed being pushed to my limits."
Boys basketball team has streaky nature
The boys basketball team lost to Columbus Academy 61-39 on Jan. 4 in MSL-Ohio play, continuing its roller-coaster season.
The Bobcats were 6-4 overall before playing Horizon Science on Jan. 9. They are 2-2 in the league.
Grandview won its first three contests before losing two in a row and then winning three consecutive games. The loss to the Vikings was a second consecutive setback after falling to Johnstown 56-35 on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the Bobcat Holiday Classic.
In the home tournament, Manny Day scored 33 points to lead the way in a 76-48 win over Grove City Christian on Dec. 28. Brian Collier had 20 points and Day added 14 against the Johnnies.
The Bobcats have been playing without two starters in Aaron Cincione and Luke Lachey. Cincione has a back injury and will be re-evaluated in the next week while Lachey is expected to return soon after missing four games since Dec. 22 with mononucleosis.
Girls basketball team looks to get on track
The girls basketball team has lost five of six games and is 4-9 overall and 1-3 in the MSL-Ohio.
The Bobcats earned their league win by defeating Academy 33-27 on Dec. 21. Rachel Hartman scored 11 points with three 3-pointers and Hannah Yochem also scored 11.
Grandview has lost three in a row, including to Hilliard Bradley 54-26 on Dec. 27 and Hilliard Darby 59-34 on Dec. 28 in games in the Watterson Christmas Classic. Yochem had 16 points in both of those contests.
The Bobcats also lost to Olentangy Berlin 58-25 on Jan. 5 as Tayler Pierce and Yochem both had nine points.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
Jan. 12 -- Home vs. Washington Court House
Jan. 15 -- At Westland
*Jan. 11 -- At Worthington Christian. The Bobcats lost to the Warriors 46-22 on Dec. 1.
Jan. 14 -- Home vs. Fairbanks
*Jan. 10 -- Olentangy Berlin at Sawmill Lanes
Jan. 16 -- Worthington Christian at HP Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton