By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Cruisers are a dominating force in varsity wrestling as the team recently won its third straight Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division championship.
The team finished the season with a record of 13-0 in dual meets, including 5-0 in conference matches. The Cruisers finished first in the Canal Winchester, Granville, and Bexley invitationals; second in their own invitational and in the Logan invitational; and third in the Miami Trace invitational.
“It is very difficult to win a championship,” said Cruiser Wrestling Head Coach Brian Brison. “I feel fortunate to have worked with such great coaches and wrestlers to make something like this happen. The guys really bought in from the beginning and their attitudes have been phenomenal. I am so proud of everyone and it is great to see all of the hard work pay off. I know I pushed this team in the practice room as hard as any team I’ve coached and they always responded. It hasn’t really set in yet what we’ve accomplished. I am still focused on daily goals and post season goals. I’ll reflect more on it when the season ends.”
When asked what the highlight of the season was for the team, Brison said there were too many to mention them all.
“We have had a great season bringing home hardware from each invitational we attended and finishing undefeated in duals,” said Brison. “If I had to name one, I would say Muhamad Conteh coming back to win in double overtime against his opponent from New Albany. It was a very hard fought dual and we were running out of life when Muhamad tied up his match in the remaining seconds of the third period and went on to win in double overtime to seal the dual.”
Brison said Conteh worked as hard as anyone to improve during his three seasons of wrestling.
“His first year of wrestling, during his freshmen year, he went 11-18,” said Brison. “His current record for this season is 32-3. It just goes to show what you can accomplish if you do the right things everyday.”
According to statistics provided by Brison, wrestler Jake Nelson also has 32 wins so far this season.
Brison said the team’s strengths are its discipline and focus.
“Our ability to come to practice each day with the mindset to improve and do what is necessary to win has allowed us to make major improvements throughout the year,” said Brison.
Brison said the team has “a lot of good wrestlers and if we wrestle like we are capable of we will have a good showing” in the district and state tournaments.
“I know this team is not just happy with winning a league championship and many of them want to advance to districts and state,” said Brison. “I think we have a lot of guys capable of qualifying for districts and a handful of guys that can do some damage in districts and possibly make it to state. We just need to take everything one practice at a time and one match at a time and everything will work itself out.”