When the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the new wrestling state team tournament to begin this year, Thurgood Marshall coach Armiya Muhammed was thrilled.
“I was celebrating,” Muhammed said. “It meant more wrestling for our kids. Wrestling in the state duals is something we really wanted to do and something we are excited about doing.”
And the Cougars are still doing it.
Thurgood entered Region 16B as the No. 6 seed but advanced to the regional semifinals with a 41-35 win over No. 3 Chaminade Julienne.
Success was a payoff for all the time in the weight room and all the hours spent traveling in a van with Muhammed over the summer to different state qualifiers, the state freestyle tournament, open tournaments, open mats and duals.
“We are inconsistent as a team at times this year,” Muhammed said. “We have a lot of growth to do, but our hard work is paying off and it is nice seeing them rewarded for their effort.”
Two of the mainstays of the summer program closed the door on CJ in the dual.
Mario Bell improved to 17-6 with a pin while senior Brandon Flucas moved to 21-3 with a pin. Jase Farlow leads the Cougars with a 23-4 record.
Byrd back in form: After sitting out the first part of the season, returning state qualifier Cordell Byrd is starting to return to form for Ross.
Byrd started 0-2 and finished third at Fairfield but is now 10-4 at 138.
“He had some issues to take care of,” Ross coach Rich Dunn said. “He’s getting there. We are getting him back into shape.”
Eagles claim CIT title: CJ claimed its first Catholic Invitational Tournament title last weekend at Olentangy Liberty High School with 81 points.
Junior Lyle Plummer was runner-up at 120, recording his 100th career win in the semis. McKinley Screetch finished third at 106 after entering the tournament as the fourth seed.
One-two punch: Urbana has a powerful combination at the end of their lineup in Sam and Jack Harris.
Sam, a senior 195-pounder, is 32-3 while Jack, a freshman at 182, is 33-0.
The duo have combined for 41 pins.
Bonding experience: The new state team tournament has helped the Carlisle wrestlers mesh as a unit.
“We’ve always had trouble with that in the past,” assistant coach Nathan Carmack said after the Indians advanced to the regional semis. “With the way traditional postseason is, we have individuals who shine, but this is starting to bring them together as a team, which is great.”
On deck: Fairfield coach Ron Masanek could claim his 400th career dual meet win Saturday night at Lebanon. … Badin will host the Badin Bash on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. The four-team event will feature the pep band, cheerleaders and possible appearance by Ben-Gal cheerleaders. … The Eaton Invitational hits the mat this weekend for the 34th consecutive year.