The career accomplishment that Noah Ratliff recently enjoyed with the Reynoldsburg wrestling program wasn't on his radar as recently as last season.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporter's error, Logan Smalley's last name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story in print and online.
Two years before that, he would have been happy just to be on a mat competing, let alone on a path to reaching the 100-victory mark for his prep career, as he did Jan. 11.
Now a senior and a two-time Division I district qualifier with aspirations of going a step further this winter, the 152-pounder grew up participating in motocross before deciding to try out for wrestling as an eighth-grader.
Ratliff won just three matches as a freshman, though, because of an ear injury.
"(Winning 100 matches has) always been a goal of mine," he said. "I was kind of nervous around last year if I'd be able to achieve that because my freshman year I had an ear injury and it took me out for a lot of that season. I just kind of focused on getting better at wrestling and technique. I was blown away because I completely forgot about (reaching 100 wins until recently). It was definitely crazy to experience that."
Throughout this season, Ratliff has been at the forefront for a team that has shown vast improvement.
Reynoldsburg went 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division last season but was within one match of earning a league victory Jan. 9 when it lost to Pickerington Central 39-36.
The Raiders lost to Pickerington North 53-10 on Jan. 16 in a league dual and compete at Gahanna on Thursday, Jan. 23, in OCC-Ohio action.
Against North, another of the Raiders' top seniors, Luke Goeschl (126), was not able to compete because of illness.
Goeschl is 18-3 and Ratliff is 28-3.
Ratliff went 1-2 in the district tournament at Hilliard Darby as a sophomore and then last season was 2-2 in the Mentor district tournament to finish 35-9. No central Ohio competitors at Mentor qualified for state, but Ratliff was one of the closest to advancing.
The Raiders also had Kyle Copas, a 2019 graduate, surpass 100 career wins last season.
Ratliff's brother, 2018 graduate Elijah Ratliff, plays football at Kent State.
"He only got three wins as a freshman, so to (reach 100) in three years is pretty impressive," coach Jon Forgy said. "He puts in the work. He's the epitome of 'You get what you put into the sport.' He knows the sacrifices he makes, but in the end, it's working for him. Hopefully others can see that and see his growth and how he's bought into the program. We've grown together with him and the other seniors."
One of the Raiders' goals this season was to win a tournament, which they did in the nine-team Kevin Michael Invitational on Jan. 11 at Columbus Academy with 256 points.
In addition to Ratliff earning his milestone victory in the title bout of his weight class, Goeschl (126), senior Isaiah Boateng (138) and junior Gaven Miller (170) also finished first. Seniors Peighton Irish-Arnett (113) and Aaron Reynolds (132), junior Dalton Hall (heavyweight) and freshman Logan Smalley (126) all placed second.
"We're kind of dinged up right now, so we're going to try to stay healthy," Forgy said. "We were competitive (against Central) and we went to Columbus Academy and won a team title, so it was a good confidence boost for a lot of our guys as we get into the bulk of our OCC schedule."
Girls basketball team enjoys winning streak
The girls basketball team returns to OCC-Ohio action Friday, Jan. 24, at home against Grove City and then plays Monday, Jan. 27, at Eastmoor Academy.
The Raiders had won six in a row before losing to Gahanna 75-56 on Jan. 16, including beating Dublin Coffman 74-66 on Jan. 14 to hand the Shamrocks their first loss.
Sophomore Makiya Miller scored 29 points with five 3-pointers and sophomore Mya Perry had 24 points with six 3s against Coffman, and Reynoldsburg hit 16 as a team.
The Raiders were 11-4 overall before facing New Philadelphia on Jan. 20 in the Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland and Westerville South on Jan. 21. They are 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio.
In last week's Division I area coaches poll, Coffman was third, Gahanna was fifth, South was sixth and Reynoldsburg was tied for eighth.
"Instead of taking bad shots, we took a lot of good, open shots and we got the ball around (against Coffman)," Perry said. "We definitely worked as a team and definitely looked like a family."
Reynoldsburg has been without senior guard Kyria Walker since Jan. 7 because of shin splints. She's expected to be re-evaluated Friday, Jan. 24.
"We made the extra pass and played as a team (against Coffman)," Miller said. "This was definitely one of our best games. We hit shots. We've been trying to be more vocal without (Walker). She's more of our leader and we look up to her."
Boys basketball team out to sweep 'Hounds
The boys basketball team will play Friday, Jan. 24, at Grove City in a rematch of a game it won 66-54 on Dec. 13.
Reynoldsburg also plays Jonathan Alder at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, in the first of six games in the Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican.
While the Pioneers were 11-2 before playing Urbana on Jan. 21, the Raiders were 9-6 overall after beating Dublin Scioto 48-47 on Jan. 18 and before playing Westerville South on Jan. 21. Reynoldsburg was 2-4 in the OCC-Ohio after losing 58-50 to Gahanna on Jan. 17.
On Jan. 14, Reynoldsburg won 71-59 at Whitehall as senior Sean Moore scored 14 points in his return from a shoulder injury. He played for only a short time in a 64-43 win over Zanesville on Jan. 4 and missed the next two games.
Sophomore Cooper Davis had 17 points, senior James Dean scored 16 and junior Zaveon Croff added 12 against Whitehall.
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 24 -- At Grove City. The Raiders beat the Greyhounds 66-54 on Dec. 13.
Jan. 25 -- Jonathan Alder in Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Grove City. The Raiders beat the Greyhounds 70-42 on Dec. 13.
Jan. 27 -- At Eastmoor Academy
*Jan. 24 -- Big Walnut at Holiday Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Ohio meet at Kenyon College
*Jan. 23 -- At Gahanna
Jan. 25 -- Watkins Memorial Invitational