Monarch sophomore Lincoln Heard is pictured in action during the Division I state wrestling tournament last weekend. Heard will be the only grappler with state tournament experience returning to the Marysville High School program next winter.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The 2018-19 high school wrestling season concluded a handful of days ago with the state individual tournament at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
Marysville High School head coach Shawn Andrews has had a bit of time to reflect on the campaign that saw the Monarchs send four grapplers to the state tournament.
A pair of those matmen, Walker Heard (152) and Ethan Smegal (220), earned seventh and eighth places respectively during the Division I event.
The season could be termed as a mixed bag for MHS. The team placed second in the Ohio Capital Conference Central Division and was also runner-up in the sectional and regional tournaments and third at the district.
It was a challenging campaign due to the number of illnesses and injuries that kept veteran athletes out of the lineup.
“We knew going into the season that it was going to be challenging,” said Andrews. “We knew we would have several freshmen in the lineup, along with some older guys who hadn’t had much in the way of varsity experience.”
Perhaps the biggest loss was that of heavyweight Tyler Connolly.
The former state tournament qualifier missed the entire season with a shoulder injury.
“When you have as much inexperience in the lineup that we had this year, the definition of success is a moving target,” said Andrews. “You look to see where the younger guys are growing and what improvements they are making from week to week.
“When you have a veteran team like we’ve had the past few years, success is more solidified.”
Heard, Smegal and Logan Painter, another senior at 195 who qualified for this year’s state tournament, were the leaders throughout the campaign.
Andrews was also pleased with the progress that others made.
“Zach Lowe and Blayne Landon are seniors who hadn’t had much varsity experience,” he said. “Despite that, they both became guys we could count on as the season progresed.
“We also saw guys such as Lincoln Heard (a state qualifier at 138 pounds), Erryl Will, Jack Golla, Tyler Winfield, Nate Thompson, Joey Palmer and Jagger Snyder gain a lot of experience.
“Walker, Ethan and Logan were our constants this year,” said Andrews. “We wanted to see improvement in the other 11 guys and girls from Day 1 to Day 185 and we saw it.”
Although the placements at the state tournament weren’t as lofty as hoped, Andrews was pleased with the effort.
“All four of them worked hard to do everything we asked of them,” he said.
MHS wrestlers who are not involved in a spring sport will take a few weeks off before the program’s off-season work begins.
“We will start again on April 1 with conditioning,” said Andrews. “We’ll also have guys enter into freestyle competitions (which are not regulated by the Ohio High School Athletic Association), we’ll hold a team camp during the summer and we’ll also make our Disney trip to Florida.”
While the season saw its ups-and-downs, the Monarchs’ goals for success will never change.
“The bar continues to be set,” said Andrews. “We always want to win the division and place high in post-season competition.”
For now, Coffman is the team being chased, while the Monarchs are doing the chasing.
The Monarch coach wants to reverse that trend.
“We have to close the gap with Coffman, because they’re not going anywhere,” said Andrews.
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