Despite qualifying for the Division I state wrestling tournament for the second year in a row, Shakur Laney wasn't happy with the outcome of his final match at district.
A year after winning a district title at 106 pounds, the Groveport Madison High School junior had to settle for second place at 113, as he lost to Marysville's Hayden Lee 8-3 in the final. He went 3-1 at district, which was held Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby, to raise his season record to 43-4.
"I don't want to talk right now," Laney said after the loss to Lee.
Laney had lost to Lee 4-2 in a sectional final Feb. 15 at Marysville. Lee, who was a three-time state placer in Indiana before moving to central Ohio, is 39-3.
"(Laney is) very upset right now because we had a game plan coming in and things didn't go as well as we planned," coach Pat Niemann said. "He gave up the first takedown in the first period and that kind of got into his head and then a bad second period finished him off mentally.
"He's got to get through those things and keep competing for six minutes, but we'll get back to work this week and maybe we'll see (Lee) again and have a better game plan and maybe we'll win the one that counts."
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to state, which runs Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Laney, who placed fourth at state last season at 106, will open against Centerville's Troy Barklay (39-8), a senior making his first state appearance.
Laney opened district by pinning Hilliard Bradley's Riley Amador in 3 minutes, 4 seconds in the first round. He then beat Teays Valley's Luke Nace 13-3 in a quarterfinal and Central Crossing's James Wimer 10-4 in a semifinal before falling to Lee.
Also competing at district was senior Dayrel Billingsley, who went 0-2 at 145 to finish 21-12 on the season. He lost to Pickerington Central's Jordan Pieczynski 5-1 in the first round and lost to Thomas Worthington's Ben Hooff 10-0 in the second round.
"Dayrel actually wrestled well," Niemann said. "His first match was close until the very end and he just came up short. The next one was against a very solid kid and (Hooff) went on and qualified for state.
"But I was happy Dayrel got the opportunity because he's such a class kid. He's a phenomenal individual and I'm proud to have been his coach."
Groveport scored 21 points at district to finish 26th behind champion Marysville (147.5) as 37 teams scored.
Four bowlers advance to district tournament
Neither the boys nor the girls bowling teams qualified for the Division I district tournament Saturday, March 1, at Eastland Lanes.
However, both teams have two individual district qualifiers, as freshman Jordan Bennett and junior Brandon Klentz of the boys team and juniors Elizabeth Moore and Bonnie Kyle of the girls team advanced out of the sectional tournament Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes.
The top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced from both the boys and girls sectionals.
Bennett placed 23rd with a 541 three-game series to lead the boys team, which finished 23rd (3,246) behind champion Walnut Ridge (3,805) as 40 teams scored. Klentz tied for 47th with a 511, followed by James Jervis (435, tied for 109th), Dakota Harmon (411, 123rd) and Devon Stepney (375, tied for 132nd).
Moore placed 45th (431) to lead the girls team, which finished 25th (2,346) behind champion Briggs (3,345) as 37 teams scored.
Kyle (361, tied for 83rd) was next, followed by Kahlia Killen (318, 119th), Tewana Smiley (303, 124th) and Loren Jackson (260, 135th).
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team in the boys and girls districts advance to the state tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The boys competition will be held March 7 and the girls will compete March 8.
Boys basketball team set to open tourney
It will be a battle of wills when the boys basketball team plays host to 27th-seeded St. Charles in the second round of the Division I district tournament at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.
Groveport, which is seeded 19th of 45 teams and had a first-round bye, enters the game 11-11. St. Charles, which defeated 14th-seeded Thomas Worthington 37-35 in the opening round Feb. 22, is 12-9.
"St. Charles typically likes to play an ugly, slow, defensive brand of basketball, but it's very successful," coach Ryan Grashel said. "They will be patient on offense and they play great defense. They will try to make you work so hard on offense that it tires you out or you become impatient and force up bad shots or make turnovers.
"We're pretty much on opposite ends. We want to force them to play at our pace. We want to make them get up and down the floor, speed up the game and make them take rushed shots or turn the ball over."
Sean Hennessey had 19 points to lead St. Charles against Thomas.
The second-round winner will play second-seeded Gahanna, 39th-seeded Logan or 42nd-seeded Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Marysville. The district final will be played at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Cruisers have not played St. Charles, Logan or Scioto this season, but they did lose twice to Gahanna in OCC-Ohio play, falling 80-53 on Dec. 9 and 84-63 on Jan 17.
Girls basketball team finishes with one win
The girls basketball team lost to top-seeded Reynoldsburg 93-13 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17 to finish 1-22 overall.
Groveport, which was seeded last of 47 teams, had lost twice to the Raiders during the regular season in OCC-Ohio play, falling 78-16 on Nov. 29 and 90-18 on Jan. 10.
The Cruisers went 0-14 in the OCC-Ohio to finish eighth, behind Reynoldsburg (12-2), Gahanna and Newark (10-4), Pickerington Central (9-5), Pickerington North (8-6), Grove City (4-10) and Lancaster (3-11).
Groveport's lone win came against Franklin Heights, 63-59 on Feb. 8.
The Cruisers lose three seniors in Zaria Brinkley, Dominy Hodge and Hayley McKinley. Among their expected returnees is freshman guard Diaba Diane, who was named honorable mention all-league.