Six members of the Big Walnut High School wrestling team advanced to the Division II district tournament, including a sectional champion.
Alec Eisnnicher won the 170-pound weight class in the 13-team sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Licking Heights, as the top four finishers in each weight class qualified for district Feb. 22 and 23 at Heath.
Eisnnicher, a junior, went 4-0 at sectional to improve to 28-4 on the season. He defeated Whitehall's Bryce Hortz 10-1 in the final.
Also advancing to district were junior R.J. Martin at 138 (3-1, second, 32-11), junior Jhordan Lang at 182 (4-1, third, 20-17), sophomore Donny Didion at 113 (4-1, third, 29-11), senior C.J. Harness at 160 (3-2, fourth, 22-11) and junior Austin Carr at 152 (3-2, fourth, 24-17).
Martin was pinned by Whitehall's Ashden Gibson in 1 minute, 49 seconds in the final.
Also placing at sectional were sophomore Tyler Satterfield at 145 (2-3, sixth, 13-23) and freshman Wes Landrum at 132 (2-3, sixth, 9-28).
"It was a good day," coach Luke Moore said. "The guys wrestled really well. We won some big matches in some tough situations."
Big Walnut advanced more than half of its 10 sectional entries. It was not represented in four of the 14 weight classes: 106, 195, 220 and heavyweight.
"It's a testament to the guys," Moore said. "The guys kept plugging away knowing that if they kept working, then good things were going to happen."
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, at Ohio State.
The Golden Eagles scored 126 points at sectional to finish fifth behind champion Whitehall (265).
Leidtke advances to district in bowling
Conner Leidtke of the boys bowling team advanced to the district tournament held Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
The sophomore rolled a 573 series in the sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl to finish 14th of 166 competitors and qualify for district as an individual. At sectional, the top nine teams and top nine individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district.
The boys team finished 18th (3,227) of 30 teams as Newark (4,030) won the sectional title.
Senior Jon McClelland was the Golden Eagles' second-highest finisher, tying for 65th with a 479. Gilead Christian's Sammy Stiffler was the final individual district qualifier with a 545.
The girls team finished 16th (2,391) of 25 teams at sectional Feb. 15, as Briggs (3,757) won the title.
Senior Ciera Hite led the Golden Eagles with a 428, finishing 35th of 161 competitors.
Briggs' Jordyn Estep was the sectional champion with a 651.
At district, the top three finishers not on a qualifying team in the boys competition advance to the state tournament Saturday, March 2, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
According to coach Pat McClelland, the lanes at sectional were oiled differently from the regular season and that affected his teams' performances.
"It's like making the football field longer or the high jump higher," he said.
Girls basketball team wins tourney opener
The girls basketball team opened the Division II district tournament with a 41-27 win over 16th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in the second round Feb. 20 at home to improve to 15-9.
Junior post player Skylar Fleak and sophomore guard Makenna Hammond both scored 11 points to lead the Golden Eagles, who are seeded eighth of 26 teams and had a first-round bye. Senior guard Stephanie Adkins added eight points.
Big Walnut plays top-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 27, at New Albany, with the winner facing second-seeded Brookhaven or 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley in a district final Friday, March 1, at New Albany.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal March 5 at Springfield.
Big Walnut is meeting Eastmoor in the postseason for the third time in eight seasons. The Golden Eagles lost the previous two matchups, falling 50-45 in a district final in 2006 and 40-32 in a district semifinal in 2011.
Eastmoor defeated 20th-seeded Hamilton Township 65-31 in the second round Feb. 20 to improve to 20-4. Forward Tajanee Wells had 20 points, with guards Amani Burke (15) and Imani Hill (11) also scoring in double figures.
Brookhaven beat 14th-seeded Bexley 40-37 in the second round Feb. 20 behind 19 points from guard Renee Cheeks to improve to 18-4. River Valley improved to 12-12 with a 56-53 win over fifth-seeded Centennial on Feb. 20, as Kendall Stuckman scored 18 points.
Big Walnut did not play Eastmoor, Brookhaven or River Valley during the regular season.
Season ends for swimming teams
No members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams advanced to the state meet that concluded Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The top finisher for the boys team in the Division II district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State was the 200-yard freestyle relay, which placed ninth in 1:38.05. The relay was comprised of Jens Paglialunga, Carter Marsch, Brant Weiss and Carson Chatterton.
Big Walnut scored 35 points at district to finish 21st behind champion Granville (332) as 36 teams scored.
The top finisher for the girls team in the Division I district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State was sophomore Ashley White, who placed ninth (381.4) in diving.
Big Walnut scored nine points to finish 22nd behind champion Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored.
Boys basketball team finishes last in OCC
The boys basketball team closed the regular season Feb. 15 with a 49-48 loss to visiting Franklin Heights to finish 2-12 in the OCC-Capital Division.
Big Walnut finished eighth in the league, behind New Albany (14-0), Delaware Hayes (11-3), Olentangy (10-4), Olentangy Orange (8-6), Franklin Heights (5-9), Mount Vernon (3-11) and Watkins Memorial (3-11).
Senior forward Adam Shaheen had 21 points to lead the Golden Eagles, who led 40-34 after the third quarter. Guard Zach Laughman added 11 points.
Seeded 20th of 27 teams, Big Walnut played ninth-seeded Licking Heights in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 23. The winner plays seventh-seeded Eastmoor or 26th-seeded Licking Valley in the second round Thursday, Feb. 28, at the home of the higher seed.
The second-round winner plays second-seeded Watterson, 10th-seeded Bexley or 16th-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal March 6 at Olentangy.
The Golden Eagles lost to Licking Heights 67-49 on Feb. 12. They beat Licking Valley 67-54 on Dec. 11 but have not played Eastmoor this season.
Big Walnut entered the postseason on a five-game losing streak.
Gymnastics team competes at district
The gymnastics team competed in the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The top three teams advanced to the state team meet Friday, March 1, at Hilliard Bradley, and the top nine finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to the state individual meet Saturday, March 2, at Bradley.