Big Walnut High School wrestling coach Luke Moore is looking forward to seeing how his four seniors fare during the postseason.
Alec Eisnnicher qualified for the Division II state tournament last season at 170 pounds, going 0-2, and Austin Carr and R.J. Martin were district qualifiers a year ago at 152 and 138, respectively.
This season, Eisnnicher, who missed the early part of the season because of an injury sustained during football season, has competed at 170 and 182, while Carr and Martin have competed primarily at 160 and 145, respectively.
Austin Crow is competing at 220, just as he did last season.
"All four of our seniors are really wrestling lights out," Moore said. "They're firing on all cylinders right now. They get to that time in the senior year where they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and they're kicking it into another gear. It's fun to watch."
Big Walnut competed in the Division II state team tournament Jan. 22 at Licking Valley, losing to fourth-seeded Whitehall 37-32 in the first round. The Golden Eagles were seeded fifth of the seven teams in Region 14-A.
"We had three starters out of the lineup," Moore said. "We won more matches than Whitehall. We really outwrestled them, but having the starters out really hurt us."
Big Walnut and Whitehall both won seven matches in the contest, but one of the Rams' victories was by forfeit, as the Golden Eagles did not have anyone to compete at heavyweight.
Posting wins for the Golden Eagles were Carr (160), Crow (220), Eisnnicher (170), Martin (145), Drew Cochran (132), Matt Halbakken (126) and Anthony Pisano (152). Crow and Pisano both won by pin.
Big Walnut went 3-2 in the Lion Duals on Jan. 18 at Gahanna to finish third of six teams, behind champion Hilliard Bradley and Gahanna.
The Golden Eagles defeated Licking Valley (40-36), Watkins Memorial (46-27) and Granville (36-34) in the event but lost to Bradley (67-3) and Gahanna (45-25).
"In the past month, I've seen more improvement from our guys than I expected," Moore said. "The kids are improving on a daily basis. They're in good shape. They're technique is getting better. We're starting to see the fruits of our labor. We had a rough start to the season, but right now they need to understand they could wrestle with anyone we put against them. I think they're starting to believe that. Moving forward, I'm excited to see where they go."
The Golden Eagles' confidence is showing when they're on the mat.
"Right now, we're wrestling better than we have all year," Moore said. "We're starting to get healthy. We've got most of the guys back in the lineup at the weights they want to be. We're coming along."
Boys basketball team focused on OCC play
The boys basketball team is hoping to pick up more wins in OCC-Capital Division play.
Big Walnut began a stretch in which it plays six consecutive league games Jan. 24 against Delaware Hayes. The Golden Eagles were 7-8 overall and 2-6 in the league before facing the Pacers.
This week, Big Walnut travels to Worthington Kilbourne on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and plays host to Mount Vernon on Friday, Jan. 31.
In the first round of league play, the Golden Eagles lost to the Wolves 56-38 on Dec. 17 and lost to the Yellow Jackets 60-49 on Dec. 20.
Big Walnut began the second round of league play Jan. 17 with a 69-56 loss to visiting Olentangy.
The Golden Eagles led 15-12 after the first quarter but scored only three points in the second quarter and trailed the Braves 21-18. Olentangy seized control in the third quarter, outscoring Big Walnut 20-7.
Logan Boyd led the Golden Eagles with 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Nick Herbert had 11 points and Kyle Gose scored nine.
Big Walnut then lost to Marion Harding 63-61 in overtime Jan. 21 at home.
The Presidents earned their first win of the season, hitting a 3-pointer as time expired.
Boyd led the Golden Eagles with 21 points, with Zac Asher and Herbert added 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Through 15 games, Herbert was averaging a team-high 11.4 points, followed by Boyd (10.7).
Swimming teams fare well in Viking Classic
The swimming and diving teams made a good showing in the Northridge Viking Classic on Jan. 18 at New Albany.
The boys team scored 275 points to finish third of 10 teams, behind champion Granville (357), and the girls team finished fourth (262) of nine teams, behind champion Granville (374).
Top finishers for the boys team included Jens Paglialunga, who placed second in the 50-yard freestyle (25.35 seconds), the 200 medley relay (second, 1:57.81) and the 200 free relay (second, 1:43.24).
Paglialunga finished third in the 100 free (56.06) and placing fourth were Joel Windle in the 50 free (25.9) and Wesley Hammond in the 500 free (5:52.05).
Michelle Stefaniak had the top finish for the girls team, winning the 500 free (5:49.59).
She also placed second in the 50 free (26.77).
Other top finishes for the girls team were turned in by the 200 free relay (second, 1:32.7), Jessica Osburn in the 100 free (third, 1:01.02) and 100 breaststroke (third, 1:18.93) and Katie Von Hollen in the 200 free (fourth, 2:29.43) and 100 butterfly (fourth, 1:14.9).
Big Walnut competed in the OCC-Capital meet Jan. 24 and 25 at New Albany.