The way the wrestling season ended last winter still stings Dublin Coffman senior Corey Crawford.
He entered the Division I district tournament as the No. 3 seed at 106 pounds and knew he might have a long weekend ahead of him when he was matched up with Lancaster's Jacob Hutsler in the first round.
Crawford, who was beaten convincingly by Hutsler in three previous matches, lost again to fall into the backdraw, where he needed to post four consecutive wins to qualify for the state tournament.
That's exactly what he did, beating Upper Arlington's Jake Thomas 6-2 in his state-qualifying match before falling to Dresden Tri-Valley's Sky Wisecarver 6-4 in the consolation match to place fourth.
A few days later, Crawford's opportunity to compete at state for the first time was wiped away when he woke up with a skin condition on his face.
"It was kind of frustrating," he said. "The doctors and trainers thought (the skin condition) was due to stress. I was disappointed and just watched my teammates. Just being at state motivated me a lot and I've been training super hard this year and been working on my mental state. When I'm wrestling in my mind, I get hyped and mad."
Crawford has channeled that frustration into what he hopes again will be long postseason.
He and his teammates are preparing to compete in the team dual tournament Saturday, Feb. 8, at Marysville. Coffman is the No. 1 seed in Region 5 and will face eighth-seeded Westerville South or ninth-seeded Thomas Worthington in a quarterfinal. The Shamrocks must win three matches that day to reach the state tournament Feb. 16 at Ohio State's St. John Arena.
Coffman is the defending regional champion. Last season, the Shamrocks lost to Lakewood St. Edward 60-15 in a state quarterfinal.
The individual postseason begins with a sectional Feb. 29.
Crawford likely will compete at 106 again this postseason. On Jan. 30, he beat UA's Frankie Mulligan 21-5 in that weight class as the Shamrocks won 49-18 to capture at least a share of the OCC-Central Division championship.
Coffman is 4-0 in the league entering its league final Feb. 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
Also winning matches against UA were Davante Cooper (126), Jimmy Baumann (132), Antonio Gonzalez (145), Adam Gluck (160), Mitchell Broskie (170), Nick Copley (182), Michael Blocher (195), Seth Shumate (220) and Riley Ucker (heavyweight).
Crawford hopes being more experienced and stronger than others in his weight class will benefit him over the coming weeks.
"Corey is trying to learn from his losses," coach Chance Van Gundy said.
"In the previous seasons, he let losses get him down and affect his attitude. Now he's more open to suggestions and has become more coachable as he's gotten older. He really has a great attitude. Secondly, he's finding time to get his extra workouts in. Whether it's a private lesson or small-group (session), he's finding more time to work on his craft. Being a senior 106-pounder, he's had to really learn to manage his weight more than ever."
Gymnasts prepare for league meet
One newcomer on the gymnastics team to watch at the OCC-Central meet Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Marysville is freshman Emily Yoshino.
On Jan. 18 in the 12-team Worthington Kilbourne Invitational, Yoshino was runner-up on balance beam (9.05) and placed sixth in the all-around (34.575) as Coffman finished 11th (95.35) behind champion Jerome (136.725).
Yoshino won the uneven bars (8.9) on Jan. 22 as the Shamrocks were last (88.85) in a five-team meet won by Jerome (134.5). She also won beam (9.3) and placed fifth in the all-around (35.575) on Jan. 11 in the McGee Invitational at Jerome.
"(Beam is) basically one of my best events when I don't fall," Yoshino said. "I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my freshman year a lot and I think that's what I've been doing so far."
Coffman, which also is preparing for the district meet Feb. 22 at Kilbourne, placed sixth in the eight-team OCC-Central meet last season behind champion Upper Arlington.
Sophomore Lex Lewis and Alexis Colombo also have been key contributors for the Shamrocks.
"I've been doing club basically my whole life so I thought high school would be a little different," Yoshino said. "I like it a lot. I think (my events) need some work, but they're kind of where I want them to be."
Boys team looks to keep pace in OCC
The boys basketball team avenged its only OCC-Central loss when it beat Marysville 70-53 on Jan. 31 to move into a first-place tie with the Monarchs at 7-1.
The Shamrocks were 14-5 overall before playing Westerville North on Feb. 4.
On Friday, Feb. 7, Coffman will look to earn a season sweep of Central Crossing when it plays host to the Comets. The Shamrocks won 64-48 on Jan. 3.
Coffman then closes the regular season Feb. 14 at Upper Arlington, which is third in the league at 6-2.
Central Crossing is 4-14 overall and 3-5 in the league after beating Hilliard Davidson 49-48 on Jan. 31.
In the win over the Comets, senior guard Keaton Turner had 16 points, junior forward Hammond Russell scored 12 and junior guard Nash Hostetler and sophomore guard Ajay Sheldon both scored 11 as Coffman overcame a 23-point performance from Central Crossing senior post player Devon Miller.
Marysville beat Coffman 80-78 on Dec. 20 and led the rematch 31-29 at halftime but couldn't stop Turner, as he produced a career-high 41 points, including 28 in the second half. Turner made seven 3-pointers.
Senior guard Jesse Hains added 14 points and Hostetler scored 13 against the Monarchs.
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. Central Crossing. The Shamrocks beat the Comets 64-48 on Jan. 3.
*Feb. 7 -- At Central Crossing. The Shamrocks beat the Comets 86-28 on Jan. 3.
Feb. 21 -- 24th-seeded DeSales or 34th-seeded Licking Heights in second round of Division I district tournament. The Shamrocks are seeded fourth.
Feb. 12 -- OCC-Central meet at Marysville
*Feb. 7 -- Springboro at Chiller Dublin
*Feb. 9 -- Olentangy at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 8 -- Division I sectional at Kenyon College. Winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 13 at Ohio State. There is no diving at sectional. District boys diving is Feb. 12 at Ohio State and district girls diving is Feb. 13 at the same venue.
Feb. 8 -- Eighth-seeded Westerville South or ninth-seeded Thomas Worthington in quarterfinal of Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament at Marysville. The semifinals and final will be held later that day. Regional champion advances to state Feb. 16 at Ohio State's St. John Arena. The Shamrocks are the top seed.