The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team opened the inaugural Division I state team tournament with a win.
Seeded second in Region 5-A of the dual-format tournament, the Pacers defeated seventh-seeded Westerville Central 59-10 in the first round Jan. 23. They face third-seeded Olentangy Orange in the second round Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Marysville.
Delaware beat the Pioneers 33-29 in an OCC-Capital Division match Jan. 10.
"Olentangy Orange is a good team, but I believe we're a great dual team," coach Josh Heffernan said.
"We were able to get past them in a close one in our league dual and now we're hoping to repeat that."
The regional semifinal also will be held Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Marysville. The Delaware-Orange winner will face top-seeded Marysville or fifth-seeded Olentangy in the semifinal, with the winner advancing to the regional final Feb. 6 at a site to be announced.
The Pacers defeated Olentangy 63-12 in an OCC-Capital match Jan. 7.
"We beat a pretty good Olentangy team, but we haven't seen Marysville," Heffernan said.
"(Marysville) obviously (has) a great program and they're the top-ranked team in the Central District and we're third.
"We may not have returned state placers or state qualifiers, but I like this team. I think we have a chance to beat anyone in duals. We have some hard-nosed kids and they have trained to win."
Delaware won 12 of 14 weight classes against Westerville Central.
Winning by pin were Tommy Detunno (106 pounds), Greg Brusco (113), Raymond Simpson (160), Andrew Sierawski (182) and Colton Richard (220).
The other winners were Danny Shaver (120), Wyatt Davis (126), Raezel Garrett (132), Brandyn Dydek (138), Troy Shaw (145), Chris Martinez (170) and Shawn Johnson (195). Davis and Johnson won by forfeit.
"What makes us a good dual team is the bonus points," Heffernan said. "We get quite a few pins and don't get pinned much. Even our kids who are near .500 or below have made their opponents work and saved us points. We've stressed all year that it matters how you lose. We want a decision, not a major or a pin."
Sierawski has the team's best record. He was 30-4 before competing in the home Tony Rieman Invitational on Jan. 26.
"We've got four guys with 25-plus wins, including Shawn Johnson, Raymond Simpson, Greg Brusco and Andrew Sierawski," Heffernan said. "Andrew is on the cusp of being an elite wrestler. He's learning that he needs to have more weapons, but he has sound technique in all positions and he's a real gamer.
"Simpson is a real success story. As a freshman, he had a skin situation keep him from the postseason. Last year, he became ineligible due to grades. Now his grades are very good, his attitude has changed and he's become a leader. He had to pay up on his past bills and he did everything we've asked. He's explosive on the mats and his entire lifestyle change has been remarkable."
Boys basketball team facing key OCC games
The boys basketball team has two key OCC-Capital games this week.
The Pacers travel to New Albany on Tuesday, Jan. 29, before playing host to Orange on Friday, Feb. 1. They lost to the Eagles 77-59 on Dec. 11 in the first round of league play but have yet to face the Pioneers.
Guard Mike Wells had a team-high 21 points against New Albany and guard Noble Moore scored 11.
Entering play Jan. 25, Delaware was tied with Orange for third in the league standings at 5-2, behind New Albany (8-0) and Olentangy (6-2).
The Pacers, who were 9-4 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 25, endured a lopsided loss to Westland 79-47 on Jan. 22.
"Westland pushed us around," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "Their quality of athletes and physical strength mandates an opponent to be physically and mentally tough for 32 minutes if you want a chance to win. We didn't do that. We got bullied."
Westland, which improved to 12-2, led 21-8 after the first quarter and 39-17 at halftime. Guard Kersey Long scored 23 points and guard/forward J.J. Smith had 18 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Cougars.
"Our defense, rebounding and toughness will continue to improve as the season goes on, but (against Westland) it was unacceptable," Blackburn said. "We made up for our disadvantage in athleticism by getting out-toughed. Give Westland credit, they are the most skilled team we have played and they did a nice job. We have no excuses. We need to get better. They embarrassed us."
Guard Khalil Iverson had a team-high 13 points against Westland. Moore had nine points and Wells and guard Thoeun Sorn both scored eight.
The Pacers beat Watkins Memorial 83-51 on Jan. 18, making nine 3-pointers. Wells had 19 points and eight assists and Iverson scored 18. Sorn had 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and guard Tyler Treese scored nine.
Swim teams getting set for postseason
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams competed in the OCC-Capital meet Jan. 25 and 26 and will close the regular season with a dual meet against Westerville North on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The girls team is 6-3 in duals and the boys team is 3-6. Both teams will compete in the Division I sectional Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington.
The girls 200-yard medley relay had the fastest time in the area honor roll last week (1 minute, 50.47 seconds) and fifth-fastest time in the state.
Also ranked in the area honor roll for the girls team were the 200 freestyle relay (third, 1:42.97), the 400 free relay (sixth, 3:46.25), Brittany Puthoff in the 100 breaststroke (third, 1:08.24) and Regan DeWitt in the 500 free (fifth, 5:14.9) and 200 free (eighth, 1:58.42).
Ranked in the honor roll for the boys team were Cameron Hackett in the 500 free (fifth, 4:53.08) and 200 free (eighth, 1:49) and Anthony Hinton in the 100 free (tied for 10th, 49.55).