Westland High School wrestler Andrew Sherman has used the program's history as motivation during his senior season.
The Cougars have had several wrestlers compete in the Division I state tournament, but none since 2007.
Sherman is hoping to change that. He often glances at the training room's walls, which list the names of the program's previous state qualifiers and state placers.
"My motivation is to go to state," Sherman said. "I've looked at the (walls) every day since freshman year when we were doing sprints. I look at the names on the (walls) and think, 'Did they take (a) shortcut?' They didn't, so that has made us work harder. That's been my motivation. I want to get some new names on the (walls)."
Chris Brogan was the last Westland wrestler to qualify for state, going 0-2 at 215 pounds in 2007. The last state placer was Jake Farrell, who finished eighth at 119 in 2005.
Scottie Haslam got close in 2011, finishing fifth at district at 125 to become a state alternate.
Competing at 195, Sherman was 21-4 this season entering an OCC-Central Division match Jan. 17 against Hilliard Davidson.
The Cougars opened league action with a 63-15 loss at Marysville on Jan. 10. Sherman was pinned by Logan Painter in 3 minutes, 26 seconds.
Another motivation for Sherman has been hoping to better last year's postseason performance. He reached a district semifinal at 182 and was one win from qualifying for state before being pinned by Olentangy Liberty's Trevor Lawson in 36 seconds and then Lancaster's A.J. McCritchie in 4:30 in a consolation match.
Sherman went on to place sixth and finish the season 34-16. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
As a sophomore, Sherman went 20-21 at 170.
"(My improvement has) been because of commitment," he said. "I went to a lot of open camps during the summer because my mom (Gretchen) and my coaches told me if I want to get good, if you want to be at the next level, go to camps (and) get other coaches' opinions on moves and not just Westland coaches and that helped me a lot."
Sherman competed at the junior varsity level as a freshman.
"I knew I'd be at the varsity level, but I never knew I'd be at the level I am now," he said.
Sherman also credits the three coaches he has had in his four seasons at Westland. Chas McCutcheon was the coach his first two years, with Mark Niemann coaching the team last season before Brent Allerding took over this season.
"It's sad that this is almost over," Sherman said of his prep career. "I was here all four years and this is now my third coach. All the coaches have pushed me further from where I began, but it's sad to think this is my last season and I only have a couple months left."
Allerding could sense Sherman was a special athlete when he was first introduced to the team during summer conditioning.
"We started lifting and wrestling a little bit in the summer, so I got to meet him there before football started and I could tell he was going to be a pretty decent wrestler," said Allerding, who also is an assistant football coach. "I heard about him from the year before. He's been doing a lot of good stuff. He's a good leader."
Sherman also excelled at outside linebacker and long snapper this past season.
"I like both sports," he said. "Actually, I like wrestling more. It's more of a one-on-one, but it's also a team sport. With football, one person can mess up and you can play. If you mess up (in wrestling), it's win or lose and I like that."
Sherman began long-snapping as a junior and is considering pursuing that position in college.
Zane Chappelear, who completed his second season as the Cougars' defensive line and long-snapping coach, believes Sherman has a chance to be a long snapper at the next level.
"If he keeps working over the summer -- he improved 10-fold in his short amount of time that I got to work with him -- he could be a Division I-caliber long snapper if he really committed to it," Chappelear said. "He has the build and he has the potential. He has a great work ethic. He's the kind of kid that you want to have on your team."
Chappelear, a 2013 graduate of Grove City, also is an assistant wrestling coach.
Allerding believes Sherman also could wrestle in college and said he will assist him in pursuing that option once the season is complete.
Westland has received solid contributions from other wrestlers, including Jakob Hurley (21-3 before Jan. 17, 138/145), Tyler Jude (18-4, 106/113), Trent Jude (16-6, 113/120), Bryson Palmer (14-4, 126) and Edgar Cruz (12-8, 120).
Boys basketball team loses key player
Junior Kalil Camara, who moved in from Philadelphia before the school year, will miss the rest of the season because of Ohio High School Athletic Association transfer rules.
Beginning this school year, transfer students who do not meet one of the bylaw exceptions must sit out the second half of the season and the postseason.
Previously, student-athletes who did not meet one of the exceptions sat out the first half of the season of the sports they played during the previous 12 months.
Camara finished with a scoring average of 12.2 points per game.
"Our administration appealed to the OHSAA to no avail," coach Rob Hayes said. "We were aware of the possibility that this would happen, but thought there was a fair case to be made that this move wasn't motivated by athletic opportunity or competitive advantage. The language of the OHSAA bylaws is pretty strict regarding non-parent households. There are very few exceptions to get a full season in their situation."
Camara is living with his sister in central Ohio.
Hayes said Camara is allowed to practice and attend games.
Westland was 2-11 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Jan. 18.
Eric Panning scored 22 points, DeShawn Evans had 17 and Mickey Martinez added 11 in a 73-68 overtime loss to Grandview on Jan. 11.
Panning scored nine points in a 59-39 loss to Central Crossing on Jan. 11.
Girls basketball team drops tight game
The girls basketball team was 3-11 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central before playing Marysville on Jan. 17.
Shukri Abdikadir and Atira Hoard each scored 10 points in a 35-34 loss to Hamilton Township on Jan. 16.
Hannah Kershaw scored 14 points and Alexxus Phifer had 10 in a 60-32 loss to Central Crossing on Jan. 11.
Below are the coming schedules for the Westland boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics,swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Jan. 22 -- At Canal Winchester
*Jan. 25 -- At Dublin Coffman. The Cougars lost to the Shamrocks 86-46 on Dec. 14.
Jan. 22 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Coffman. The Cougars lost to the Shamrocks 93-20 on Dec. 14.
Jan. 21 -- At *Coffman with Central Crossing, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto and Franklin Heights
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Central meet at Upper Arlington
*Jan. 24 -- At Coffman
Jan. 26 -- New Albany Invitational