Gahanna's McDougle brothers primed for state tourney
The philosophy for how Gahanna Lincoln High School wrestlers Drew McDougle and Kasee McDougle figure to approach their final Division I state tournament could best be summed up by the saying about not fixing something that's not broken.
Coach Kyle Bentley expects more of the same focus and technique that he's seen from the senior twins when they make their second consecutive state appearance this week.
Kasee captured the 132-pound title in the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby and Drew was runner-up at 138 as both advanced to state, which will be held Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, at Ohio State.
"They just have to keep doing what they've been doing," Bentley said. "I don't think either of them is bashful in scoring and I don't expect them to do anything but leave it all on the mat."
Kasee went 4-0 and beat Hilliard Davidson senior Lee Wilson by default to win a district championship. He also recorded two pins, giving him 100 for his career.
Kasee is 48-2 and will open state against Uniontown Lake sophomore Zac Carson (42-6). Last season, he made his first state appearance but went 0-2 at 138.
Also competing at state at 132 will be Lakewood St. Edward senior Dean Heil, who previously won state titles at 103 as a freshman, 119 as a sophomore and 126 last season.
"(Winning the district title) is going to help me with my bracket, but I can't take anyone lightly," Kasee said. "I felt solid throughout the whole weekend (at district).
"(Going 0-2 at state last year) has driven me, mostly since it's my senior year. I know what it's going to be like."
Drew opened district with three victories before facing Marysville senior Noah Forrider for the championship. Forrider, who beat Drew 20-9 to win a sectional title Feb. 16 at Marysville, was leading the district final 9-4 when Drew elected to withdraw.
Drew went 1-2 at state at 112 as a freshman and then went 3-2 and placed fourth at state last year at 132. A season ago, he became the first Gahanna wrestler to place at state since Antoine Love was fourth at 160 in 2003.
Drew enters the state tournament with 101 career pins.
Also competing at 138 along with Drew and Forrider will be four others who have placed at state at least once. Forrider, who was fourth at 138 last year, is a three-time state placer and 45-0 this season.
Drew is 34-5 entering his state opener against Macedonia Nordonia junior Mike DeCesare (43-9). He withdrew from the district final because of a left knee problem.
"I tweaked (my left knee) against Forrider (at sectional) and I felt it again in one of our scrambles (at district). So I figured, why wrestle and put pressure on it," Drew said. "I wanted to get a couple pins (at district) but I got two (technical falls) and a major (decision), so that's just as good.
"I'd say it's going to be a pretty solid weight class. I've kind of been battling with myself all year on how I wanted to do at state, but I've kind of switched my goal to just wrestle as hard as I can and just try to do my best."
The performances of the McDougles helped Gahanna place ninth (67) at district behind champion Marysville (163) as 35 teams scored.
Also placing was senior Granyl Smith, who went 3-2 and finished sixth at 220. He went 20-11 on the season. Smith competed as a freshman but didn't wrestle as a sophomore or junior.
Senior Zach Holloway was 2-2 at 152 and finished 32-16. Going 0-2 at district were senior David Dembroski (160), juniors Allen Bruce (182), Nick Nader (heavyweight) and Jordan Sprunger (145) and freshman Doland Martin (170).
"We had a couple other kids who should have gotten out," Bentley said. "Zach Holloway is what I'd call a program kid. He's done what we've asked him to do and he lost a really tight match (4-3 to Westerville North's Jacob Hinz in his state-qualifying match). Granyl Smith didn't wrestle as a sophomore or junior, and now as a senior he's here and almost makes the state tournament. It's good to see things like that."