Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Kasee McDougle got a reminder in his opening Division I state wrestling match Feb. 28 at Ohio State of what he endured a year ago.
Despite entering as a No. 1 seed, McDougle followed a 0-2 finish last season at 138 pounds by losing 4-3 to Uniontown Lake sophomore Zac Carson at 132 to begin his second state tournament.
His results March 1 and 2, however, were much different from how he fared in his first three state matches.
McDougle made it through four rounds of consolation to reach the third-place match, where he pinned Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Sonny Lucas in 21 seconds.
"I think I was kind of stunned at first," McDougle said. "I was a little amazed at how big it was last year and I had to get it right in my head and zone everything out. I just tried to picture it as a normal tournament (after facing Carson)."
Despite entering state as the No. 4 seed, Carson reached the final, where he lost 5-2 to Lakewood St. Edward's Dean Heil, who won his fourth title.
Lucas suffered a hip pointer against McDougle.
"I heard a grunt, but I'm going to wrestle until they stop me," McDougle said. "I feel relieved that I won my last match in high school."
"Where he was last year to this year has been a complete 180-degree turn," coach Kyle Bentley said. "Last year he went 0-2 and to see him be that disheveled ... I kind of knew after talking to him that he'd be all right. His first match he was a little nervous."
After going 35-13 a year ago, McDougle went 53-3 to set the program record for wins in a season.
The previous record holder was McDougle's twin, senior Drew McDougle, who won what had been a program-best 47 matches last season and made his third state appearance last weekend.
Drew went 1-2 at state at 112 as a freshman and last season became the first Gahanna wrestler since Antoine Love was fourth at 160 in 2003 to place at state when he took fourth at 132.
Drew missed time this season after getting hurt against Macedonia Nordonia's Mike DeCesare in January. He pinned DeCesare in 3:32 in his opening state match.
According to Bentley, Drew tweaked a knee ligament while wrestling his next match while getting pinned by Fairfield's Adam Sams in 3:03.
He attempted to wrestle through the injury but lost to Wadsworth's Mathias Zollinger 9-2 to finish 1-2 at state and 35-7 on the season.
The McDougles scored 23 points at state to help Gahanna tie Ashtabula Lakeside for 20th behind champion St. Edward (117) as 89 teams scored.
"We taped (Drew's knee) up and he said it felt better but that it didn't feel great," Bentley said. "He just wasn't 100 percent, and at state it's tough to win if you're not 100 percent."
Boys basketball team advances to semi
With a spot in a Division I district final on the line, the boys basketball team played Reynoldsburg for the third time this season March 6.
The winner advanced to play second-seeded Westerville North or 13th-seeded Newark for a district title at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Reynoldsburg was the eighth seed and the Lions were seeded ninth. During the regular season, the Raiders beat Gahanna 40-38 on Dec. 18 but the Lions won the rematch 65-43 on Jan. 30.
Gahanna was 19-5 before playing Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal after opening the postseason with wins over Teays Valley (66-49 on Feb. 23) and Olentangy (79-68 on Feb. 28 in overtime).
Junior forward Javon Bess had 36 points and 14 rebounds against the Braves, who were outscored 11-0 in overtime.
"Olentangy was (15-9), so they're no joke," coach Tony Staib said. "Basically they have some very good guys who just shot the lights out. They made (10) 3s. That 3-point line can win you games. Once they started making 3s, their confidence went through the roof. The way we made up the difference was we outrebounded them 38-20."
If Gahanna wins a district title, it would play New Albany, Dublin Coffman, Pickerington Central or Olentangy Orange in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. March 14 at the Fairgrounds. The regional final is 7 p.m. March 16 at the same site. The Lions lost to Olentangy Liberty 53-50 in a district semifinal last season.
During the regular season, the Lions beat Newark 68-57 on Dec. 14 and 68-51 on Feb. 12.
Although Gahanna didn't play Westerville North this season, the Lions beat the Warriors 65-63 in overtime in a district semifinal in 2011 and 60-54 in a district final in 2010.
In 2009, Westerville North defeated Gahanna 55-53 in a district semifinal.
Swimming program losing four seniors
The swimming and diving program is eligible to return all but four of its competitors, including three-time state qualifying junior Morgan Belli.
Others expected back for the girls include juniors Kirstyn Thomas and Annie Devaney, sophomore Ashley Twigg and freshmen Regan Nolan and Victoria Nye.
For the boys team, juniors Jon Chang, Kyle Clark and Josh Vandervort, sophomores Andrew Lewis and Owen Mair and freshman Peter Reventlow should be key returnees.
"Every year the girls team gets better and better," coach Erin Darrah said. "Having Morgan makes the other girls try harder. We want to get a relay (to state) and I think it's going to get our younger girls working in the offseason.
"(We're excited about) our junior boys. Kyle Clark was a first-time district qualifier, we'll have Jon Chang and Josh Vandervort back and Peter Reventlow competed well as a freshman."
In the Division I state meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, Belli finished 16th in the 100-yard backstroke (58.5 seconds) and 12th in the 200 individual medley (2:07.91). She scored six points as Gahanna tied Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and Massillon Perry for 45th behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline (234) as 55 teams scored.
In the seven-team OCC-Ohio Division meet Jan. 26 at New Albany, the girls placed second (297.5) behind Pickerington North (306) and the boys were fourth (186) behind champion North (349).
In a sectional Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington, the boys were seventh (88) behind champion Westerville South (216). Chang placed third in the 100 back (58.75)
The girls were fourth (163) at sectional behind champion and host Thomas (311). Belli won the 200 IM (2:11.53) and was second in the 100 back (1:00.02). The 200 medley relay of Belli, Nolan, Thomas and senior Allison Mason placed third (1:58.15) and the 400 free relay of Belli, Nolan, Thomas and Devaney also was third (3:50.01).
Belli settled for district runner-up finishes in both the 100 back (56.63) and 200 IM (2:04.79) on Feb. 16 at Ohio State as she helped the Lions place 12th (70) behind champion Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored.
The boys did not score at district as UA (380) was first.