Notebook: Groveport Madison Cruisers wrestlers learning, working to improve

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Groveport's Dylan Blackburn battles Westland’s Bryson Palmer in a 132-pound match Jan. 7. The Cruisers will be host to Central Crossing on Feb. 11 in an OCC-Buckeye Division dual.

Even in limited action, Groveport Madison wrestlers and coaches are encountering plenty of teachable moments. 

Some came from a 64-14 loss at Newark on Jan. 28 in which a few losses by pin occurred in matches the Cruisers led. 

Groveport was 0-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division after losing to Reynoldsburg 57-18 on Feb. 4, the first of three league contests in a week. The Cruisers played host to Pickerington Central on Feb. 10 and will take on visiting Central Crossing on Feb. 11 to wrap up league competition. 

“Our lineup is falling more into place and with that, we have to get guys into competing at weights, getting a deeper gas tank and responding to adversity a lot better,” assistant coach Jacob Schultz said. “We have a lot of ammunition to use in practice as coaches. There’s a lot of stuff we can work on. Getting put on your back when you’re winning is a piece of adversity you can learn from. There are learning moments that the guys will grow from.” 

Jake Nelson (220 pounds) and Jace Nincehelser (145) both were 4-0 and Cameron Ross (152) was 3-0 before Feb. 4. Jacob Johnston recently moved from 152 to 160 and Dominic Karns is wrestling at heavyweight, while Nelson, a returning state qualifier, remains at 220. 

“A lot of guys are a little bit fresh out there at their current weights,” Schultz said. “We need to continue working on building energy.” 

Elle Howard and the 27th-seeded Canal Winchester girls basketball team will open the Division I district tournament Feb. 16 at 17th-seeded Delaware.

•The Canal Winchester girls basketball team, which was sidelined for most of January because of a COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic quarantine, is the 27th seed in the 41-team Division I district tournament and will be familiar with its first-round opponent. 

The Indians, who were 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Capital before playing Westerville South on Feb. 5, will visit 17th-seeded Delaware in the first round Feb. 16. Canal Winchester lost 42-37 to the Pacers on Jan. 8, and the rematch was scheduled for Feb. 10. 

The winner will play 20th-seeded Teays Valley in the second round Feb. 19 at the home of the better seed. 

The Indians did not play for 16 days, returning to the court Jan. 30 with a 48-31 loss at Big Walnut. 

Groveport is seeded 35th and will visit fourth-seeded North in the first round Feb. 19. The Cruisers were 3-10 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Buckeye entering a Feb. 5 game against Pickerington Central. 

•The Canal Winchester and Groveport swimming teams will participate in a Division I sectional meet Feb. 13 at Upper Arlington, but advancing further will be a different task than in past years. 

Eleven boys teams and 12 girls squads will compete. The sectional will be broken into four sessions, two boys and two girls, from Feb. 12-14, in an effort to decrease the number of swimmers and spectators at one time because of the pandemic. 

There are no automatic berths to the district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. The top 24 in individual events and the top 16 relays advance based on sectional times. 

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave