The Division I sectional tournament Feb. 19 at Pickerington North was simply about advancing for the Gahanna Lincoln High School wrestling team's most experienced competitors.

The Division I sectional tournament Feb. 19 at Pickerington North was simply about advancing for the Gahanna Lincoln High School wrestling team's most experienced competitors.

For others such as seniors Doryan Arnold (119 pounds) and Evan Bergenstein (215), it was about taking advantage of a final opportunity.

The Lions had three returning 2010 district qualifiers competing at the sectional in senior Justin Strohschein (152) and sophomores Drew McDougle (130) and Kasee McDougle (135). All three moved on again.

Arnold, who didn't begin competing in the sport until his sophomore year, is one of three others, along with Bergenstein and junior Connor Noel, who will compete at district for the first time.

The top four in each weight class at sectional advanced to the district tournament, which will be held Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, at Hilliard Darby.

"I guess I'm not going to say that I'm satisfied, but I feel good about the way I wrestled," Arnold said. "I've never made it out of the sectional before and I didn't really even think about wrestling until my dad said he thought it would be a good sport for me. He was right, because I love it."

Drew McDougle (39-6) captured a sectional title and will open district against Hilliard Davidson's Nick Lawler (18-23). Kasee McDougle (31-8) will open district against Beavercreek's Kyle Kramer (26-12) after earning a sectional runner-up finish, and Strohschein (29-12) will face Grove City's Nick Kowaleski (33-4) in his opening district match after finishing third at sectional.

Last season at district, Drew McDougle went 4-1 and finished third to qualify for state. Kasee McDougle went 2-2 and Strohschein was 1-2.

"Doryan didn't start wrestling until his sophomore year, and for him to make it to district, I'm really proud of him," coach Kyle Bentley said. "Drew looked absolutely great out there. He beat (Teays Valley's Cole Nace) 12-2 (in the final). He just picked him apart and wrestled probably the best he has all year. Kasee wrestled very well. He got caught out of position a couple times, but wrestled tough."

Last season, Noel finished fifth and Arnold sixth at sectional. Bergenstein didn't compete in the postseason a year ago.

Arnold (25-15) will open district against Hilliard Darby's Cameron Longwell (29-6) after placing third at sectional, and Bergenstein (24-12) will compete against Springboro's Ryan Jackson (31-6) after taking third at sectional.

Noel (17-15) will face Trenton Edgewood's Adam Moore (31-8) in his opening district match after finishing fourth at sectional.

"I got fifth (at sectional) last year, so my main goal was to make it to district," Noel said. "I think I wanted it more. At the beginning of the year, I ran a lot outside the room and worked hard. Justin Strohschein is my (drilling) partner and he helped push me more this year."

Although Bentley is pleased the Lions had the same number of district qualifiers as a year ago, he was hoping for more. Of the seven Gahanna wrestlers who didn't advance from sectional, five went 0-2 and the other two won one match apiece.

The lack of points from that group kept the Lions from contending for a spot among the top three in the team standings as they finished sixth (114.5), behind champion Olentangy Liberty (239.5).

"I'm happy with six (district qualifiers), which is what we got last year," Bentley said. "But am I satisfied with that? Absolutely not. When you go 0-2 in one of the weakest tournaments we were in all year long, going 0-2 is uncalled for. So that was the disappointing part. At the end of the day, we're looking OK overall."

AT A GLANCE

Below are sectional results for the Gahanna Lincoln wrestling team:

Feb. 19 - Finished sixth (114.5) in 13-team Division I sectional tournament at Pickerington North, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (239.5). District qualifiers were Doryan Arnold (119, 3-1, third), Evan Bergenstein (215, 3-1, third), Drew McDougle (130, 3-0, first), Kasee McDougle (135, 2-1, second), Connor Noel (160, 2-2, fourth) and Justin Strohschein (152, 3-1, third). Others competing were Kyle Baker (171, 1-2), Zach Holloway (145, 0-2), Will Hunsucker (140, 0-2), Timmy Miller (125, 0-2), Donald Payne (189, 0-2), Ethan Peters (112, 0-2) and Jack Prior (103, 1-2).

Feb. 25-26 - District tournament at Hilliard Darby. The top four in each weight class advance to state tournament March 3-5 at Ohio State.