The Big Walnut High School wrestling team was represented in the Division II state tournament by seniors Alec Eisnnicher and R.J. Martin.
Eisnnicher went 4-0 in the district tournament Feb. 21 and 22 at Uhrichsville Claymont to win the 170-pound weight class and reach state for the second consecutive season. He went 0-2 at state last year in the same weight class.
Martin, who also was a district qualifier last season, went 3-2 and finished fourth at 138 to reach state for the first time.
The top four finishers in each weight class at district qualified for state, which was held Feb. 27 through March 1 at Ohio State.
The Golden Eagles scored 41 points at district to tie Millersburg West Holmes for 15th behind champion Claymont (279.5) as 39 teams scored.
"It was a pretty good weekend," said coach Luke Moore, whose team had nine district qualifiers. "I was really proud of how they all wrestled."
Eisnnicher, who was 27-1 on the season entering state, opened district by pinning Lisbon Beaver's Tyler Kelly in 38 seconds. He then pinned Buckeye Valley's Jim Brittsan in 5:41 and defeated Duncan Falls Philo's Steven Frazier 5-3 in a semifinal before beating Bloom-Carroll's Zach Gibson 11-3 in the championship match. Brittsan placed third and Frazier was fourth.
"He dominated the whole tournament," Moore said of Eisnnicher. "To say it was an easy draw does not do it justice. He had to wrestle the best competition in his weight class, beating three state-qualifiers on the way."
Martin was 31-18 entering state. He opened district with an 8-2 win over Dover's Charley Bartz and defeated Caledonia River Valley's Devin Hessler 8-7 before being pinned by Claymont's Cody Burcher in 59 seconds in a semifinal. He then defeated Cambridge's Logan Hickenbottom 7-6 before losing to Granville's Christian Price 9-2 in the third-place match.
Also at district, Austin Carr went 2-2 at 160 and Austin Crow (220), Nico Grier (113), Matt Halbakken (126), Nate Helsley (106), Wes Landrum (120) and Evan Watkins (182) all went 0-2.
"They wrestled hard and it was a good experience for them," Moore said. "It was good for them to see the intensity of the tournament and the quality of wrestling. Just being in that atmosphere was good for them."
Two girls bowlers advance to district
Two members of the girls bowling team advanced to the Division I district tournament held March 1 at Eastland Lanes.
Senior Alexis Beiwinkler and junior Hannah Gollihugh each qualified as individuals by being among the top 20 finishers not on a qualifying team in the 37-team sectional Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes.
Beiwinkler rolled a three-game series of 390 to tie for 63rd and Gollihugh rolled a 361 to tie for 83rd. Gollihugh and Groveport's Bonnie Kyle tied for the final individual district-qualifying spot.
"It was a good experience for them," coach Katrina Hartings said of Beiwinkler and Gollihugh's sectional performance. "They were consistent. That's what was needed that day, to be consistent."
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced to state Saturday, March 8, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The girls team finished 28th (2,302) at sectional behind champion Briggs (3,345), as the top 20 teams advanced to district.
The boys team concluded its season at sectional, finishing 33rd (2,928) behind champion Walnut Ridge (3,805) as 40 teams scored. Senior Luke Hartings led the Golden Eagles with a 474, tying for 83rd and finishing 10 pins behind the final two individual district qualifiers.
Senior Joey Steller was the team's second-highest finisher, tying for 114th with a 425.
Gymnasts conclude season at district
The gymnastics team ended its season in the district meet Feb. 22 at Worthington Kilbourne.
Big Walnut scored 124.4 points to finish 14th behind champion Dublin Coffman (143.85) as 26 teams scored. Coffman, Kilbourne (141.025) and Upper Arlington (137.7) qualified for the state team meet Feb. 28 at Hilliard Bradley.
The top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to the individual state meet March 1 at Bradley, but the Golden Eagles had no state qualifiers.
Freshman Grace DiTomassi led the Golden Eagles in every event, tying for 17th on balance beam (8.725), tying for 24th on floor exercise (8.8), tying for 25th on uneven bars (8.0) and tying for 32nd on vault (8.4) and was their top finisher in the all-around, placing 24th (33.925).
Big Walnut scored 125.325 points in the eight-team OCC-Capital meet Feb. 8 at Hilliard Darby to finish fifth behind Bradley (133.85), Dublin Jerome (131.65), Westerville Central (131.025) and Olentangy Orange (125.325) and ahead of Marysville (121.4), Central Crossing (117.125) and Franklin Heights (99.025).
The Golden Eagles went 3-4 in OCC-Capital duals and finished fifth in the overall league standings with 16 points, behind Bradley (30, 6-1), Jerome (28, 6-1), Central (26, 6-1) and Orange (20, 4-3) and ahead of Central Crossing (10, 2-5), Marysville (10, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (4, 0-7).
DiTomassi led Big Walnut in the every event, including the all-around, in the league meet. She placed fourth in the all-around (33.85) and third on bars (8.35), tied for third on beam (8.7), tied for fifth on vault (8.15) and finished eighth on floor (8.65).
The Golden Eagles had no seniors or juniors on their roster this season. In addition to DiTomassi, expected to return are sophomores Carlee Ambrose, Jordan Apple, Katelyn Connor and Brianna Glidden and freshmen Mariah Chattos, Taylor Grieser, Andrea Robinson and Kristina Saraceno.
In the league meet, Grieser was second on the team in the all-around (13th, 32.425), bars (eighth, 8.0), beam (tied for ninth, 8.1) and floor (14th, 8.475) and Chattos was the team's second-highest finisher on vault (tied for 16th, 7.9).
Boys basketball team falls in tourney opener
The boys basketball team lost to 12th-seeded Centennial 78-71 in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 22 to finish 9-14.
Big Walnut, which was seeded 18th of 28 teams in the district, trailed 26-11 after the first quarter. It cut its deficit to 39-29 by halftime and 54-50 by the end of the third quarter, but could not complete the comeback.
Zac Asher, Logan Boyd and Nick Herbert each had 14 points and Josh Seabrook scored 11 for the Golden Eagles, who closed the season on a four-game losing streak.