Notebook: Thomas Worthington Cardinals wrestlers primed for postseason
First-year coach Ross Sandridge and the Thomas Worthington wrestling team are looking forward to the postseason.
The Cardinals, who were 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before facing Hilliard Darby on Feb. 18, will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Upper Arlington. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Darby.
“We’re doing great,” Sandridge said. “We’re focused, and we’re prepared. As far as our team, I think we’re ready to go. They’re chomping at the bit and they’re already talking about it.”
Last week, the Cardinals were so eager for the postseason that Sandridge had to remind them the regular season wasn’t over.
“I try to kind of bring them back and make them understand, ‘We’ve got one more match left. One more match and then we can focus on sectionals,’ ” he said.
Heading into the Feb. 18 dual at Darby, Michael Blain (132 pounds) was leading the Cardinals with a 25-4 record. He went 1-2 at district last year.
“I’m looking for him to do big things and make a name for himself (in the postseason),” Sandridge said.
Channing Thornton (120) was 24-4 and Jaden Fields (170) was 23-7. Thornton went 2-2 at district last season.
Sandridge is looking forward to seeing what Fields can do at sectional at 170 after competing at 182 last season.
“He was not at his normal weight class going into sectional last year, and I think that hurt him a little bit,” Sandridge said. “He’s at his weight class that he wants to be at (now), and I’m looking for big things from him.”
Sandridge said other wrestlers to watch in the postseason include two-time district-qualifier Mason Gates (195, 15-2) and Majed Ahmad (160, 18-9), also a former district qualifier.
out for Wolves
Kilbourne wrestling coach Jose Martinez has high hopes for Iain Rojas (152) entering a Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Marysville. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Darby.
Rojas, who qualified for district for the first time last season and went 1-2, has been among the bright spots for the Wolves, who are developing a younger roster. He was 28-4 heading into an OCC-Capital dual at Westerville South on Feb. 19.
“I would love to see him at the state tournament this year,” Martinez said. “Iain’s already had the experience of being a district qualifier. ... I think he’s right there and if things fall right, he could break through.”
Fourteen of Kilbourne’s 19 wrestlers are underclassmen. The Wolves were 5-25 heading into their dual at South.
Regardless, Martinez said the Wolves have been making progress and are continuing to build a foundation with their youth program.
“This is a marathon not a sprint,” he said. “It’s a sport you have to put some time into and we are taking steps forward, it’s just hard to tell.
“We're trying to put all those things in place.”