Travis Gusan has decided that it's best to simply embrace what he will be at the Division I district wrestling tournament: A heavy underdog.

Travis Gusan has decided that it's best to simply embrace what he will be at the Division I district wrestling tournament: A heavy underdog.

Not only is he a first-year varsity wrestler, but the Walnut Ridge High School sophomore weighs just 229 pounds - meaning that he likely will be undersized against most heavyweight opponents at district.

There is one thing that Gusan has going for him heading into district on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26, at Hilliard Darby: momentum.

After winning the City League championship at heavyweight Feb. 12 at Columbus South, he earned a runner-up finish Feb. 19 at the Pickerington North sectional.

Gusan, who attended Hartley as a freshman, was not eligible last winter.

"I came (into the sectional) unseeded, and I'm just a sophomore," Gusan said. "I know I'm the underdog, but anybody can be broken down."

Gusan is 37-3 heading into his district opener against Westerville North senior Mitch Cousins (24-10). Gusan was pinned for the first time in the sectional final by Pickerington North's Pat Elflein in 3 minutes, 16 seconds.

Also competing at the Division I district tournament from the City League are Briggs' Wehseh Juty (171), Marion-Franklin's Chad Jones (140), Kyle Messer (119) and Michael Patrick (160), Northland's Adam Bray (119) and Harold Mintsop (171) and Whetstone's Marcus Moore (130).

At the Division II district tournament, which will be held on the same dates as Division I at Columbus East, Beechcroft's Amos Gweh (160), Centennial's Stanley Hendricks (125), East's Bashir Ali (103), Independence's Jajuan Ross (125), Linden-McKinley's Jermaine Lathon (119), Mifflin's Ezra Kennly (189) and Alec Mills (135) and South's Jeremiah Brown (heavy) and Germaine Smith (130) will compete.

MAHARRY TO SWIM AT STATE - The Centennial boys swimming and diving team will be represented by sophomore Aaron Maharry at the Division II state meet, which began Feb. 23 and concludes Friday, Feb. 25, at C.T Branin Natatorium in Canton.

In the Feb. 18 district at Ohio State, Maharry finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 3.22 seconds. He is seeded last of the 24 competitors at state after earning one of 11 at-large berths. His performance helped the Stars finish 17th (42) at the 34-team district meet behind champion Granville (256.5).

SCOTS ARE BOWLING CHAMPS - The Walnut Ridge boys bowling team won its third consecutive City championship Feb. 15 when it edged Brookhaven 2,155-2,114.

Junior Brandon Dye was medalist with a 455.

Northland beat Briggs 1,711-1,602 for the girls City title.

"We lost three to graduation from last year, so we thought it was going to be a rebuilding program this year," said Scots coach Mendell Hibbard, whose team finished ninth at state last season. "With two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen, it worked out wonderfully."

The Scots won't be back at state as a team after they finished eighth (3,612) at the sectional at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl on Feb. 18. The top six advanced to the district tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26.

Advancing as teams to district from the City were the Brookhaven boys (fourth at Eastland Lanes sectional) and the Briggs girls (sixth at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl sectional). Netronne Backus (fourth, 662), Evan Marshall (seventh, 642) and Travis Stokes (tied for 10th, 610) led the Bearcats, and Jordyn Estep led the Bruins (10th, 481) at sectional.

Advancing individually to the boys district tournament were Northland's Trent Ranson (eighth at Eastland Lanes, 632), Independence's Lamont Venable (26th at Eastland Lanes, 582) and Walnut Ridge's Wayne Russell (third at Wayne Webb's sectional, 648) and Dye (12th at Wayne Webb's sectional, 585).

Qualifying for the girls district from the Eastland Lanes sectional were Northland's Bradishia Foster (tied for 14th, 516), Brook-haven's Madison Morris (29th, 470) and Beechcroft's Nellie Jones (30th, 464).

WALNUT RIDGE FALLS TO VIKES - The sixth-seeded Walnut Ridge boys basketball team faces Grove City or Dresden Tri-Valley in the second round of the Division I district tournament at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at Hamilton Township.

Walnut Ridge, which won eight in a row after falling to Marion-Franklin 70-65 on Jan. 18, lost to Northland 59-52 in the City championship game on Feb. 19.

Senior forward Austin Traylor, who is the Scots' leader in scoring average at more than 17 points per game, was held scoreless during the first half and finished with nine points. Fred Hardgrove and Reco Spears each scored 11 to lead Walnut Ridge, which got as close as four points during the second half.

The Vikings won their fifth consecutive City title.

"It was a tough game," said Scots coach Jason Bates, whose team fell to 16-4. "We match up very well with them physically. I thought we could present them with some matchup problems. We didn't execute as well as we have lately.

"Some of it was that Northland played great defense because it seemed like every shot was a tough shot. I think that's probably the best team in the state, and for us to be there with them, it gives us a good gauge going into the tournament."

Also preparing for its tournament opener this weekend is Columbus West, which will face Gahanna or Westland in a second-round game at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Worthington Christian Middle School.

Fifth-seeded Centennial will open the Division II district tournament against Big Walnut or Sparta Highland at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at Lakewood. Seventh-seeded Eastmoor Academy will begin its postseason against Caledonia River Valley or Whitehall at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Olentangy Liberty.