Although first-year Westland High School wrestling coach Brent Allerding continues to be pleased with his team's progress, he realizes there still is plenty of room for improvement.
The Cougars have displayed steady growth and now are gearing up for the postseason, which begins Feb. 23 when they compete in a 10-team Division I sectional at Newark.
Westland split a pair of matches in the Division I, Region 6 team dual tournament Feb. 2 at Hilliard Darby, opening with a 41-31 win over Grove City.
"That was a nice win," Allerding said. "We felt pretty good going into it. We wrestled well, but I think we left some stuff on the table. We didn't wrestle up to our potential. I don't think our minds were fully on (Feb. 2). We didn't execute the way we needed to. We have a ways to go."
Winning by pin were Tyler Jude at 106 pounds (1 minute, 30 seconds), Edgar Cruz at 120 (1:33), Anthony Johnson at 160 (1:28) and Jacob Mullens at 170 (3:42).
"It feels super good," senior Andrew Sherman said of beating a South-Western City Schools rival. "Last year we only won against Franklin Heights, so losing to Central Crossing and losing to Grove City felt bad. We're looking for redemption this year."
In a quarterfinal, Westland led Darby 12-0 and trailed just 13-12 before the Panthers pulled away for a 55-17 win.
Trent Jude helped the Cougars take their early lead with a pin at 113 in 4:47. Other winners were Tyler Jude at 106 (9-3), Jakob Hurley at 138 (6-2) and Sherman by technical fall at 195 (24-9).
"We knew they were strong in the middle weights and upper weights," Allerding said. "We didn't take care of business in the lower weights like we needed to, but they're a strong team. They're physically stronger than we are right now. We're young and we have a lot of room to make up."
Sherman, a senior, was 29-4 before Westland competed against Central Crossing on Feb. 7 in an OCC-Central Division match.
"I like where this team is going," he said. "There's a lot of young bodies, a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so this year we're doing really well. I'm looking forward to when I'm gone seeing what the freshmen and sophomores are going to do when they're juniors and seniors."
Tyler Jude and Trent Jude both were 23-6, Hurley was 28-3, Bryson Palmer (126) was 21-5 and Cruz was 17-10.
Westland earned its first league win since 2016 by defeating host Hilliard Davidson 40-34 on Jan. 17, snapping a 13-match losing streak in OCC action. The Cougars' previous league win came against Thomas Worthington, 39-36 on Jan. 21, 2016.
The Cougars were 1-2 in the OCC-Central before facing Central Crossing. They close league action Thursday, Feb. 14, against visiting Upper Arlington.
Boys basketball team snaps losing streak
The boys basketball team was 3-16 overall and 0-8 in the OCC-Central before playing Davidson on Feb. 8.
The Cougars snapped a six-game losing streak with a 76-60 win over KIPP Columbus on Feb. 4 at home.
DeShawn Evans led the Cougars with 21 points. Gaige Holbrook scored 16 and Rece Evans added 10.
Holbrook scored 17 points, DeShawn Evans had 16 and Rece Evans added 10 in a 103-67 loss at Grove City on Feb. 5.
The Division I district tournament drawing is Sunday, Feb. 10.
Westland closes the regular season Tuesday, Feb. 12, against New Albany and Friday, Feb. 15, against Central Crossing, both at home. The Cougars lost to the Comets 59-39 on Jan. 11.
Evans committed Feb. 6 to play football at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.
Girls basketball team readies for postseason
The girls basketball team is preparing for the Division I district tournament.
The Cougars are seeded 40th of 45 teams and have a first-round bye. They likely will visit third-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round Feb. 20.
Westland lost to the Shamrocks 93-20 on Dec. 14 and 88-8 on Jan. 24 in OCC-Central play.
The Cougars were 3-16 overall and 0-9 in the league before playing Davidson on Feb. 8.
Alexxus Phifer scored eight points in a 31-25 loss to visiting Grove City on Feb. 5.
Hayden Kershaw scored seven points in a 75-15 loss at UA on Feb. 1.
Swimming teams compete at sectional
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams competed in a Division I sectional Feb. 9 at UA.
The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advanced to district Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.
At district, the top two placers in each event advance to state Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each event based on district times statewide.