Jacob Noble pumped his fist in the air and smiled while looking toward Hilliard Bradley High School wrestling coach John Riggs.
The junior had just pinned Pickerington Central's Garrett Meek in 1 minute, 10 seconds in the heavyweight championship match of the Porter Memorial Tournament on Jan. 12 at Bradley. The result allowed the host Jaguars to vault over Lancaster into second place, making the weekend even more special.
The Porter Memorial is a three-day wrestling showcase in the city of Hilliard. Bradley, Darby and Davidson were among the seven varsity programs to compete Jan. 12. The junior varsity teams and all three middle schools in the community -- Heritage, Memorial and Weaver -- competed Jan. 11 and 12 and a youth tournament was held Jan. 13.
"Winning the Porter means everything," said Noble, who won the 205-pound title in the middle-school event as an eighth-grader. "We practice two-and-a-half hours pretty much every day. It's a big one because it's at home and we want to show our fans how good we can be."
The Jaguars totaled 158.5 points to place behind Darby (198.5) and ahead of Lancaster (156), Pickerington Central (151.5), Davidson (137.5), Gahanna (114.5) and Grove City (87.5).
Senior Zander Ellison was runner-up at 138 after being pinned in 2:56 by Davidson's Jackson Sowers in the final.
"(The Porter Memorial) will help me in the second half of the season and it showed me that I need to stay focused even when I'm sick," Ellison said. "I was throwing up a lot (before the matches) because I've had a little bit of the flu for the past couple days, so getting second wasn't so bad after that."
The Porter Memorial began in 1995 as a middle school tournament and added a high school tournament in 1998. The two divisions started competing under the same roof in 2000.
"We saw that we had cars across the parking lot from one another and thought why not put the two together," said Riggs, who was Darby's coach at the time. "It's a showcase for wrestling in the city of Hilliard. ...
"Jim (Porter) was the first coach with a wrestling background at Hilliard when there was only one school. Norm McElheny was football coach and (athletics director) at Hilliard for a long time and he started wrestling as a conditioning program in the late 1960s for football, which a lot of coaches did at that time. Jim took over in 1971 and was the first coach with a wrestling background, having wrestled in college and all that. He also started one of first youth programs (Madcats) in the area."
The Porter Memorial was canceled for the first time last year because of bad weather. That made this year's event even more special to Ellison.
"It was pretty important this year because I am a senior and because it was canceled last year," Ellison said. "We were hoping that it didn't get canceled (this year) and it didn't.
"The tournament is great, especially because I can see my brother wrestle at the same time. Caden (Ellison) won at 113 for Memorial. We look forward to it every year because we are representing ourselves and it shows how well we can do. Our middle school (Memorial) won and we were second."
Memorial scored 305.5 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Gahanna West (191) in the middle-school division.
Also placing for Bradley in the varsity division were Matthew Cooper (195, second), Evan Corea (113, second), Kyle DeMoss (182, third), Julien Kliev (106, third), Deacon Sawchuk (126, third), Dylan Ball (170, fourth) and Logan Germaine (160, fourth).
"It takes a lot of work to get this thing going," Riggs said. "You couldn't have a weekend like this without the support of the wrestlers, their family and other volunteers from the school district and the community. We're only able to do this because of the tremendous support wrestling gets in our community."
Girls bowling team wins Ashland tourney
The girls bowling team won the 12-team Ashland Baker Bash on Jan. 12 at Luray Lanes.
The Jaguars reached the finals by finishing fourth in the 16 preliminary Baker games with 2,488 pins. Ashland led with 2,867, followed by Lexington (2,795) and Wooster (2,591).
Bradley defeated the host Arrows in two games to reach the final, where they won in two games over Lexington.
The girls team was 6-1 overall, 5-1 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division and 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before a match against Groveport on Jan. 15. The Jaguars' lone loss came against Gahanna, 2,203-1,953 on Jan. 7 in COHSBC-B action.
Through seven matches, Christy Hribar had a team-best 174.6 average, followed by Callie Hribar (162.2), Ava Miller (150.8), Olivia Johnson (149.7) and Marisabel Aguilar (143.9).
The boys team finished eighth (2,582) in the preliminary Baker games of the Ashland Baker Bash, behind finalists Ashland (3,403), Lexington (3,320), Massillon Perry (3,144) and Wooster (3,096).
The Jaguars were 0-7 overall, 0-6 in the COHSBC-B and 0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before a match against Groveport on Jan. 15.
Brandon Dever had a team-best 172.1 average through seven matches, followed by Zander Dietz (153.4), Quinton Treadway (147.9) and Nicholas Curran (144.7).
Boys basketball team continues winning ways
The boys basketball team picked up two more OCC-Cardinal victories to extend their winning steaks.
The Jaguars improved to 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the league by defeating visiting Darby 56-25 on Jan. 11. They now have won 36 consecutive OCC-Cardinal games, 29 games in a row at home and 25 consecutive regular-season contests.
Chris Mayfield had 16 points against Darby, with Matt Allocco (11) and A.J. Morgan (10) also scoring in double figures.
Allocco had 19 points and Keaton Norris added 15 as Bradley beat Scioto 46-40 in a league game Jan. 8.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- At Thomas Worthington. The Jaguars defeated the Cardinals 57-32 on Dec. 7.
Jan. 19 -- Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge in Flyin' to the Hoop at Kettering Fairmont
*Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. The Jaguars defeated the Wolves 55-33 on Dec. 17.
*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Thomas. The Jaguars lost to the Cardinals 45-34 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 22 -- At Kilbourne. The Jaguars lost to the Wolves 30-27 on Nov. 30.
*Jan. 17 -- Newark at Park Lanes
Jan. 21 -- Muskingum University High School Invitational at Park Lanes
Jan. 17 -- at *Kilbourne with Darby and Davidson
Jan. 21 -- Olentangy Invitational
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- Davidson at Hilliard YMCA
*Jan. 17 -- At Kilbourne
Jan. 19 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North