On the opening night of OCC-Ohio Division action Jan. 10 at Gahanna, Reynoldsburg High School wrestler Kyle Copas sat by himself, leaning against a wall, after losing his match against Pickerington North.

About an hour later, the senior experienced the other side of the sport when he won 5-1 at 152 pounds over Pickerington Central's Marcus Zullo, whom he had lost to three times last season.

The emotional swing wasn't difficult for the two-time Division I district qualifier to keep in perspective.

"I wrestled really bad (in the first match) but then I wrestled a guy from Pickerington Central who beat me three times last year and I ended up beating him," Copas said. "That's the first time I've ever beaten (Zullo). That win against Marcus felt really good, but I've lost a couple matches that I shouldn't have lost."

Copas also has kept the big picture in mind when it comes to what he's hoping to accomplish by the end of his final prep season.

A starter since his freshman season when he won just 10 matches, Copas went 0-2 at district as a sophomore and 1-2 last winter to finish 38-12 overall.

Reynoldsburg lost to Gahanna 54-29 on Jan. 24 to fall to 0-3 in the OCC-Ohio.

Copas is 24-7 this season and 95-55 for his prep career.

"My first goal is that I'd rather bring my team together," he said. "We have a lot of new guys. When I'm not there next year, they'll have their foot in the door with experience. Then (my goal) would be to get to at least the state tournament and maybe win a couple matches.

"I feel like it could be a really good year and we can prove that Reynoldsburg is a really good team and producing good wrestlers. It's really fun. There are just a lot of younger guys who look up to us at practice and showing them what they need to be working on. We just need to keep getting better."

On Jan. 26, the Raiders finished 12th (75.5) in the 14-team Watkins Memorial Invitational behind champion Springboro (241) as Copas went 4-1 to place second at 145.

Copas has yet to decide whether he'll compete at 145 of 152 in the postseason.

The Raiders also have one of the area's better 160-pounders in junior Noah Ratliff, who joined Copas at district last season.

Ratliff also was a runner-up at Watkins Memorial, while Zach Frye (220) was sixth and Colin Harvey (heavyweight) placed seventh.

Copas, whose brother, Jonathan, is a 2014 Reynoldsburg graduate who also competed for the Raiders, has been considering competing collegiately at a list of schools that includes Adrian, John Carroll and Kent State.

"Kyle's had a pretty good season to this point," coach Jon Forgy said. "It's had its ups and downs, but that's the way our sport works. He's placed at every tournament that we've competed in this season. He had the biggest win of the year for him when he beat Zullo from Pickerington Central. Zullo beat him three times last season, so for Kyle it was a big win, and I was very proud of the way he wrestled that match.

"Kyle has progressed into a leader and is really taking control of the wrestling room. He's working hard and pushing others as well. As a coach we tell the team that the regular season is a warm-up for the postseason, and we have to make sure that we're hitting on all cylinders at the right time. Kyle is moving towards that."

Boys basketball team gaining confidence

After losing 64-52 to Pickerington North on Jan. 4, the boys basketball team had won five in a row before playing Whitehall on Jan. 29.

Included in that stretch was a 52-51 victory Jan. 18 at Gahanna that gave the Raiders a season sweep of the Lions.

Josiah Mobley made a 3-pointer from the corner with 23.2 seconds left for the final margin, and Nick Wallace and Sahmi Willoughby both blocked shots to help close out the win.

Ben Fort, who averages 14.5 points, finished with 19.

The basket by Mobley represented his only points of the game.

"We have all the confidence in the world in him to make shots," coach Scott Davis said. "Our guys are unselfish. We showed a lot of character and a lot of grittiness in a tough environment. We're a young, fairly inexperienced team with not a lot of guys back from last year and we could have wilted."

The Raiders beat Westerville South 61-53 on Jan. 22 as Wallace scored a season-high 18 points and Willoughby added 14.

After beating Grove City 79-43 on Jan. 25, Reynoldsburg was 13-3 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Ohio, one game behind co-leaders Pickerington Central and Pickerington North (6-1).

The Raiders get a rematch against Central on Friday, Feb. 1, after losing to the Tigers 52-45 on Dec. 21. Reynoldsburg led 25-23 at halftime.

Jay Rodgers and Sam Towns, who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for Central, are no longer eligible because of OHSAA transfer rules.

Swimmers prep for postseason

The Division I sectional will be held Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington for the boys and girls swimming and diving teams.

On Jan. 26 at UA, the boys finished fourth (158) in the six-team OCC-Ohio meet behind champion Gahanna (328) and the girls were last (78) behind champion Gahanna (349).

Winning titles for the boys were Nate Gaver in the 50-yard freestyle (22.28) and 100 free (48.6) and Harvey Culbert in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.16). The 400 free relay of Culbert, Justin Barnhart, Gaver and Max Hutson-Comeaux was second (3:26.51), and Culbert was third in the 100 butterfly (55.96).

For the girls, Kasey Lichtner was fifth in the 100 fly (1:03.3) and sixth in the 100 breast (1:12.4).

Abate set to be new girls soccer coach

Sam Abate is being recommended as the new girls soccer coach, pending school board approval.

He served as an assistant and junior varsity coach the past five years under Jimmy Stevens, who stepped down after his fifth season last fall.

Under Stevens, the Raiders went 39-47-4, including 10-7-1 last season when they lost to Olentangy Liberty 2-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Reynoldsburg had seven seniors last fall but is eligible to return sophomore forward Ryanne Buck, who had 23 goals and two assists, as well as juniors Kendall Craiglow (defender), Isa Fuentes (midfielder), Alissa Richmond (goalkeeper) and Alexis Sheffield (goalkeeper).

"(Abate's) been our assistant and j.v. coach the whole time Jimmy was there," athletics director Jacob Perkins said. "He really wanted (the job). Jimmy recommended him and he's got a good rapport with the girls."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball, girls basketball and bowling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Feb. 1 -- At Pickerington Central. The Raiders lost to the Tigers 52-45 on Dec. 21.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Feb. 1 -- At Pickerington Central. The Raiders lost to the Tigers 71-47 on Dec. 21.

Feb. 5 -- At Central Crossing

BOWLING

*Jan. 31 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3

*League contest