MEDINA — Copley’s Marlon Yarbrough, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Hunter Olson and Wadsworth’s Michael North found out early in life that if they wanted to succeed in wrestling, they had to be leg men.

Each spent the summer honing their skills at the freestyle level to get better for the high school season, which wrestles folkstyle.

For Yarbrough (106 pounds) it was an All-American freestyle showing at Fargo, N.D. in the Cadet Freestyle Nationals. For Olson (138), a trip to Fargo the year before showed him the way, and North (145) wrestled freestyle for the Grizzly Wrestling club.

All came to the 44th Medina Invitational Tournament on Thursday and all will open Friday afternoon with semifinal matches.

“Fargo showed me I had to be aggressive and that I had to get my weight up,” said Yarbrough, who weighed 88 pounds in July. “I learned a lot out there from my teammates and coaches. It was a good experience. I’m a lot better from last year.”

That attitude earned him a pin in his opening match against Olentangy’s Gabriel Bulugaris and an 8-4 decision over Norwayne’s Jarrison Moore.

That brought Lancaster’s Jacob Hutsler in the quarters in a match that got tight at the end before Yarbrough, a sophomore, eked out an 8-7 win.

The close win didn’t surprise Indians coach Larry Grimes in the least.

“He’s more confident, a little heavier and he’s working harder towards his goals,” Grimes said. “Everything is a building process. By the time we get to March, we want him to be peaking at district to try and get on that podium and get to Columbus. He sets the tone for the rest of the guys. His intensity sets the pace for everybody.”

Olson knows all about setting the pace after his trip to Fargo in 2017.

A state alternate last season, the senior found the going easy in his first match at the MIT with a first-period pin of Miami East’s Eli Strubler. A 10-5 win over Fitch’s Gus Sutton brought a quarterfinal against Mentor’s Connor DeBoe and the state qualifier gave Olson all he could handle before the St. Vincent-St. Mary product won 11-10.

“When you go out to Fargo, it’s a business trip,” Olson said. “You get stuff done, be in order, be awake and get to weigh-ins on time. That right there just helps my preparation for every match.

“Going out there with the best kids in the country and being able to compete with them just boosted my confidence level. Last week, I went to the Beast of the East and wrestled JoJo Argona [of Pope John, NJ) and lost by four points.

“It’s the best match I’ve probably ever wrestled. He’s No. 1 in the country, so that boosted my confidence level. No one can beat me now. It made me feel unstoppable. Seeing how they wrestle and how they compete, it eases your mind. Our schedule is brutal this year, but it helps me get those three days at state. I’m up there competing with the best. I am the best.”

North, who returns as an MIT champion, was only on the mat a total of 9:18 after pins of Bay’s Nick Larosa, Medina’s Matt Hamula and New Lexington’s Simon Allen.

It was the time in the spring that showed North what separates the very good from the elite in the sport.

“It shows you that you have to be solid on your feet,” North said. “That transitions into other moves and sets you up. A lot of the stuff I do in freestyle I’m putting together now.”