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Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

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A Decade of Domination

LHS wrestling team continues hot streak
2023-2024 LHS Varsity Wrestling team. Photo courtesy of the LHS Athletic website.
2023-2024 LHS Varsity Wrestling team. Photo courtesy of the LHS Athletic website.

The Lancaster High School wrestling team has been the definition of high-level consistency over the past ten years. The Gales have won ten consecutive Ohio Capital Conference titles and this season, also sent two athletes to the state competition in 2024.

LHS junior Luke Cox placed fifth in the Ohio Division l state tournament. Cox knew he could accomplish big things heading into the tournament, but the challenge for him was settling himself down.

¨My matches were mostly dealing with the nerves. I was confident in my wrestling but trying not to overthink situations and stay calm was hard,¨ Cox explained.

Junior Luke Cox (right) competed in the 285 pound weight class at the state tournament. Photo courtesy of Lancaster Eagle Gazette.

LHS senior Cole Dickerson also had a strong performance, placing 7th in the state. Dickerson wasted no time and defeated his first opponent quickly. Then he went on to have a tough draw and face one of the best wrestlers in the state.

¨I started off strong at states with my first match, getting a pin in a minute. My second match I went against the eventual state champion and lost in triple overtime which I wish I was more aggressive in that match,¨ Dickerson said.

Dickerson left it all on the mat and went on to win two more matches after that loss.

¨I would have liked to place higher than 7th but I know I put it all out there and I have no regrets,¨ Dickerson stated.

Head Coach Dugan Bentley expressed why Dickerson and Cox performed best in the most important meets.

¨They both continued to work for the entire season and constantly kept their focus on the postseason and making sure they were at peak performance throughout the postseason,¨ Bentley said.

Bentley has been in his athletes’ shoes before when he was a high school wrestler for Groveport. Bentley went on to compete collegiately at Ashland University and has learned valuable lessons that he has passed on to his athletes.

¨To be successful in this sport it requires a certain amount of obsession. We have to really love the sport, you have to really hate losing,¨ Bentley explained.

Dickerson made his last season a memorable one by enjoying his teammates.

¨My highlights of the season was just having fun with my team and trying to make as many memories to last,¨ Dickerson expressed.

Cox went to multiple high profile tournaments this season. The one that stood out to him was the one where he and Dickerson dominated the field.

¨Another highlight is winning the Medina tournament with Cole. There’s only two other wrestlers in Lancaster history to win that tournament and me and Cole did it on the same night,¨ Cox said.

The expectation of success also puts a lot on the athletes’ shoulders to live up to that hype.

¨The most challenging thing for me and the team this season was dealing with the pressure. Constantly being put against some of the better teams and going to the harder tournaments with Lancaster and still coming out on top,¨ Cox said.

Head Coach Bentley by his team’s OCC frame right outside the LHS cafeteria.

Throughout the season the Gales faced setbacks that were bound to happen at some point.

¨Injuries are always difficult; we deal with grades, and a constant roller coaster ride of discipline,¨ Bentley said.

This year’s team had a different dynamic than years past. A lot of underclassmen had to step into a bigger role.

¨We had about ten sophomores in our starting lineup, when you have that many sophomores you are sort of lacking some maturity,¨ Bentley said.

Former Lancaster wrestler Eric Duluse, who was inducted into the Athletic Wall of Honor this year has been a great influence on the current team. Coach Bentley praised Deluse and   his wrestling ability.

¨He comes from a very hard-nosed approach to the sport where it’s really tough, gritty, not always fun, and sort of embracing the grind type of athlete. He embraces a lot of the hard parts of the sport, when he talks to the athletes about it they know that is his character,¨ Bentley said.

Cox has a great relationship with Deluse and appreciates his guidance.

¨He’s done great things not only at Lancaster but at his program in Cumberland’s. Having him come into the room to wrestle with or even just talk to was amazing. I wish we could have him there all season,¨ Cox stated.

Deluse by no means has to come back and help the team but he chooses to. His message is to trust the process and believe in yourself when it gets hard.

¨I always love coming back and helping out the current wrestlers. I would normally say the same thing, “if you want to wrestle in college or accomplish anything, you have to remain consistent and diligent,¨ Deluse said.

The coach’s constant dedication to the team is something Cox will never forget.

Senior Cole Dickerson competed in the 215 pound weight class at the state tournament. Photo courtesy of Dickerson.

¨I’ll always remember how much effort my coaches put into not just me but the team as a whole. all of our coaches sacrificed a lot and not just time for all of us and I’ll always remember that,¨ Cox stated.

Dickerson had a legendary career for the Gales, totaling over 150 wins in his high school career, but it is not the wins that Dickerson will remember.

¨The connections is what I will remember most. I tend to forget the wins and losses but the people is who I remember,¨ Dickerson said.

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