Granville’s wrestling team plans to celebrate the best of both worlds this Friday night, when the Blue Aces combine their first alumni night with senior night for the Licking County League match against Watkins Memorial.
“One of the parents came up with the idea for alumni night, and we decided to hold it for our last home match along with senior night,” coach Marvin Bright said.
Bright is not sure which alumni will return. But he has commitments from his first state qualifier, Kevin Harvey, the captains from the 1973 and 1975 teams, state qualifier Preston Layman and assistant coach Terry Perkins, who wrestled and graduated in 1978. There also are plans to get former longtime wrestling and baseball coach Jim Shriner to attend.
Honored on senior night Friday will be Dain Steffeny (160), Jordan Ransom (113 in his first year), Zach Purdy (145), Elliott Smith (132 in his first year), Taylor Perkins (145 and 152 in his second year), Will Navin (170) and Dane Heughebart (182).
Steffeny is 26-2 along with freshman Luke Mendicino (126). Junior Christian Price (138) is 31-2, Purdy is 27-6 and Navin is 24-6 after winning his 100th match. Perkins has gone 13-4.
The Blue Aces have been slowed by injuries and illness. In last weekend’s Gahanna Duals, Granville had to forfeit five weight classes in a 36-34 loss to Big Walnut and wrestled without Mendicino.
“If you took away the forfeits and we had Mendicino, we would have beaten Big Walnut easily,” said Bright, whose team went 2-3 and finished fourth in a Gahanna event featuring five Division I schools and three Division II. “Today (Monday), we looked better and only two kids were out of practice.”
At Gahanna, the Blue Aces beat Dublin Jerome 42-24 and Westerville South 43-28. They lost to Big Walnut, 46-20 to Gahanna and 54-12 to champion Hilliard Bradley.
Steffeny went 5-0 at 160 and Price 5-0 at 138, while Navin was 3-0 at 170 and Purdy 4-1 at 145.
On Jan. 12, Granville competed at the Marion County Invitational. Steffeny was first at 160, Price third at 138, Purdy fourth at 145 and Mendicino fifth at 126, with his only loss to an Ashland wrestler ranked eighth in the state.
At the Tri-Valley Big Dawg Duals, Price went 8-0 at 138, Mendicino 8-0 at 126 and Steffeny 6-2 at 160, losing to a pair of state placers.
This is a big week for Granville. In addition to Friday’s home match, they were at second-seeded Buckeye Valley Wednesday in the OHSAA team duals. The Blue Aces were third-seeded and took on Mifflin, with that winner meeting the Buckeye Valley-Bexley winner. Granville also will travel to New Lexington’s Jimmy Wood Memorial on Saturday.
“If we can get everyone healthy, I think we’re going to be fine,” Bright said. “We’re where we want to be.”