The Lakeside High School wrestling team will be home for Christmas, while Panthers' coach Randy Hill will be home before Christmas.
Lakeside High School wrestling coach Randy Hill will get the chance to coach against his alma mater this
weekend during the Holiday Classic in Mason, Ohio. He says the tournament, one of the top tournaments in the Midwest, will be a great learning
experience for the team.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lakeside is competing in the Holiday Classic wrestling tournament this weekend in Mason, Ohio. That's a long way from Columbia County, but it's home for Hill.
"We might spend the first night at my mom's house," said Hill, who hails from the Cincinnati suburb of Oak Hills. "One of the reasons I'm excited about it is this tournament's where I was born and raised. It's a neat opportunity to have my son (Lakeside freshman Kyle Hill) wrestle against my old high school."
A number of teams were on the waiting list for an invite to The Holiday Classic, but Hill was able to pull some strings, thanks to his local ties - tournament director Frank Shaut was Hill's wrestling coach at Oak Hills High School.
The Panthers will board a mini-bus Thursday morning for the eight-hour trip, and Hill thinks getting there is only half the fun.
"Whether we take a beating or give it, it's going to be a great learning experience," Hill said. "We'll see a different environment and get to compete in a big tournament."
The Holiday Classic is considered one of the top high school wrestling tournaments in the Midwest. The field features 29 teams, including Mater Dei, which has captured eight straight Indiana High School wrestling championships and is ranked among the top 25 prep squads in the nation by USA Today.
Action begins Friday at Mason High School, and concludes Saturday. Nearly 400 wrestlers will compete in more than 500 matches, with 13 individual titles on the line during the two-day tourney.
Lakeside is coming off a third-place showing last weekend in the West Laurens Tournament. Justin Otis won the 160-pound weight class and was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
Tim Mithchum (119) and Rhett Carter (145) both placed second in their weight classes, while Mike Ingham (130), Payton Gunn (152), Sam Jasinski (189) and Tanner Richards (275) all recorded third-place finishes at West Laurens.
At The Holiday Classic, the Panthers will be without Otis. The senior is entered this weekend in The Beast of the East, a prestigious national tournament in Delaware.
"I hate that he's not going," Hill said of Otis. "He would have had a chance to place or maybe win."
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