With half of the season over, Big Walnut High School wrestling coach Luke Moore is pleased with the improvements he's seen from his team.
"We're progressing pretty well," he said. "We're getting better and that's the main point right now.
"The young guys are coming along real well. They work really hard. The older guys have really been getting after it all year. I think we're setting it up for a nice second half of the season."
The Golden Eagles scored 79.5 points to finish 11th in the 17-team Pioneer Invitational on Jan. 4 at Olentangy Orange behind champion Pickerington North (231).
"That was a tough tournament," Moore said. "We wrestled well. Everyone won at least one match. It's a good, solid, mostly Division I tournament and was a good opportunity for us to see some good competition."
Big Walnut's top finish in the event was turned in by Alec Eisnnicher, who placed second at 182 pounds in his first competition of the season. The senior had been out with injuries sustained during football season.
Eisnnicher was a Division II state qualifier a year ago at 170, going 0-2 to finish the season with a 31-9 record.
"(Being) a returning state qualifier, it's nice to have him back in the lineup," Moore said.
Also placing in the Pioneer Invitational were R.J. Martin, who finished third at 138, and Nico Grier, who was fourth at 113.
"He's been a surprise for us this year," Moore said of Grier, a freshman. "He's had to miss a couple meets. But when he's (been) in the lineup, he's been a real big bonus for us."
Big Walnut opened its OCC-Capital Division schedule Jan. 9 with duals against New Albany and Delaware Hayes. The Golden Eagles have two league duals Thursday, Jan. 16, against host Worthington Kilbourne and Franklin Heights before competing in the Gahanna Duals on Saturday, Jan. 18.
"We're going to be wrestling some good teams," Moore said. "But I like where we're at. I feel we can compete with anybody right now."
Bowlers continue to gain experience
Though their records might not reflect it, the bowling teams continue to improve as they gain experience.
"They're learning," coach Katrina Hartings said. "A lot of them are new bowlers, so they're learning and getting better and having fun."
The boys team defeated Westerville North 1,757-1,708 on Jan. 8 at Capri Lanes to improve to 2-5 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North and 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal. Joey Steller led the Golden Eagles in the match with a two-game average of 176.
The girls team lost to North 1,607-1,369 to fall to 1-6 overall and in the COHSBC-North and 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal. Alexis Beiwinkler had a team-high, two-game average of 144.5.
"She's pretty much my top bowler all the time," Hartings said of Beiwinkler.
The Golden Eagles competed in the Buckeye High School Classic on Jan. 4 at HP Lanes.
The boys team finished last (2,619) of 26 teams, behind top-scorer Springfield Kenton Ridge (3,998). The top eight teams qualified for a single-elimination tournament, which was won by Struthers.
Luke Hartings led Big Walnut in the event with a 165.7 game average, followed by Steller (136.3).
The girls team finished 21st (1,742) of 22 teams, behind top-scorer Centerville (3,528), which also won the event's eight-team tournament. Holly Pinnix led the Golden Eagles in the event with a 123.7 average, followed by Beiwinkler (119).
"There were a lot of really good bowling teams there," Hartings said.
Herbert, Boyd leading boys basketball team
The boys basketball team begins the second round of OCC-Capital play this week when it plays host to Olentangy on Friday, Jan. 17.
Big Walnut was 5-6 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 10. Its lone league win came against the Braves, 69-65 on Dec. 23 as Logan Boyd (15), Nick Herbert (15), Zac Asher (14), Michael Buckles (12) and Matt Tarney (11) all scored in double figures.
The Golden Eagles lost to Orange 52-43 in overtime in a league game Jan. 8.
Boyd had a team-high 11 points and Asher scored seven.
Big Walnut defeated host Delaware Christian 76-33 on Jan. 4, scoring the game's first seven points and building a 21-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Herbert made seven of nine shots and finished with 15 points and four steals.
Through 11 games, Herbert was averaging a team-high 10.5 points, followed by Boyd (9.7).