Brendan Fitzgerald got a burst of confidence at the perfect time of the season.
The 120-pound sophomore for the Grandview Heights High School wrestling team pinned his way through the MSL-Ohio Division tournament Feb. 1 at Bexley to earn the event's Most Valuable Wrestler award.
Fitzgerald and heavyweight A.J. Pinyerd won titles for the Bobcats, who finished sixth of eight teams with 101 points. West Jefferson (214.5) won and London (173.5) was runner-up.
"This is definitely a boost of confidence going into the postseason," said Fitzgerald, whose team competes Saturday, Feb. 8, in the St. Charles Nye Cardinal Classic before going to the Division III sectional Feb. 14 and 15 at Cardington. "I have been using better techniques (than last year), I guess, and I have been working hard."
Fitzgerald went 5-0 with five pins, all coming in the first period, to improve to 24-1 overall. His total mat time was 5 minutes, 7 seconds, including pins of 25 and 31 seconds. His longest match lasted 1:42.
Pinyerd also went 5-0 with five pins. On Jan. 25, he finished second in the Sally George Invitational at Marion Pleasant, losing to Dublin Scioto's Brennan Sawicki 2-0 in the heavyweight final.
"I had a tough loss in the finals at the Sally George and it definitely made me realize how hard I needed to work," said Pinyerd, who won his third consecutive league heavyweight title and is 24-2 overall. "It's getting late in the season so any match could be my last. I have to give it my all each time I go out."
Sam Callison (170) was second in the league tournament, going 2-1 with two pins. Ben Jump (132) was 1-2 with one pin while finishing third and Benton Bair (138) went 1-2 and placed fifth.
Girls basketball team earns sixth seed
The girls basketball team is seeded sixth in the Division III district tournament and opens Feb. 20 in the second round at home against 10th-seeded West Jefferson. Both teams have a first-round bye.
Africentric is the top seed, followed by North Union, Pleasant, Ready and Centerburg.
"I figured one of the higher seeds would jump on us, but when it came to West Jefferson, I knew they would come after us," said coach Michelle Chavanne, whose team was 16-5 overall and 9-4 in the MSL-Ohio after defeating Bexley 45-44 in double overtime Feb. 3. "(Grandview has) a good rivalry with West Jefferson in most sports, so I know the girls will look forward to playing team."
The teams split in MSL-Ohio play, with West Jefferson winning 54-44 on Dec. 10 and the Bobcats winning 42-34 on Jan. 24.
The Bobcats had an 11-game winning streak snapped in a 33-27 league loss to Worthington Christian on Feb. 1. They trailed 15-9 at halftime and tied the game at 21 entering the fourth quarter.
Dareth Douglass led the Bobcats with nine points and Grace Palmer added seven.
"We had turnovers early and then we didn't make free throws, which are two things you can't do against a good team like Worthington Christian," Chavanne said. "We held them to 30 points the first time we played them (30-25 loss Dec. 20) and 33 this time, which is about half of what they normally score. We really played well defensively both times."
Morgan Taylor scored seven points to lead Grandview in a 26-23 league win Jan. 29 over Columbus Academy.
On Jan. 30, the Bobcats defeated Grove City Christian 45-32 as Allison Voelker scored 14 points, Douglass had eight and Megan McCauley added seven.
Against Bexley, McCauley scored 15 points with four 3-pointers and Taylor had 12 points.
Swimming teams prep for sectional
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams got a chance to compete in the same pool as their Division II sectional by participating in the Upper Arlington Invitational on Feb. 1.
The Bobcats compete in the UA sectional Saturday, Feb. 8. There are no automatic berths to district Feb. 14 at Ohio State. Twenty-seven at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites. Divers do not compete until district. In the UA Invitational, the Bobcats finished second (240) in the seven-team girls meet behind UA (520) and third (203) of six teams in the boys meet behind St. Charles (442) and UA (227).
For the boys, Glenn Cheney won the 50-yard freestyle (25.26 seconds) and was third in the 100 free (55.85). Willy Kramer won the 100 butterfly (1:00.77) and was a member of the runner-up 200 medley relay (1:51.37) with Tucker Rinehart, Peter Bonn and Josh Smith.
The 200 free relay of Justin Warnement, Ross Carter, Christian Meyer and Cheney was third (1:45.7) and the 400 free relay of Cheney, Carter, Meyer and Warnement was fourth (3:58.76).
Smith was second in the 200 free (2:02.28) and fifth in the 500 free (5:38.29), and Bonn was fifth in the 50 free (25.82). Warnement was fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:08.72) and 200 individual medley (2:29.71).
The girls were led by the second-place 200 free relay (1:55.51) of Brooke Berning, Courtney Wilson, Claire Bills and Calley Schmalz. The 400 free relay of Maddie Bills, Berning, Claire Bills and Courtney Swihart placed fourth (4:29.46).
Schmalz was third in the 50 free (27.34) and Mary MacLeod was fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:24.27). Adrienne Bechtel placed fifth in the 200 IM (2:30.54) and sixth in the 500 free (6:03.85). Also finishing sixth were Halli Bair (200 free, 2:18.35), Allie Kramer (100 breast, 1:27.61), Ellie MacLeod (100 fly, 1:17.69) and Swihart (50 free, 28.83).
Rose earns another MSL bowling honor
Tristen Rose was first-team all-MSL for the boys bowling team, earning all-league honors for the third consecutive season with his performance in the MSL tournament Feb. 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The boys finished fifth in the tournament, rolling a 3,540 while Teays Valley won with a 4,381. Rose led the Bobcats with a 627 series and a high game of 257. Max Pierson (second-team all-league) had a 590 series, followed by Jacob Bottorf (514) and Austin Lewis (454).
Sarah Kaltenecker was second-team all-league with a 395 series to lead the girls team to a seventh-place finish (2,232) behind champion Whitehall (3,053). Josie Pommering had a 356 series and Hannah Jones rolled a 335 series.
The girls team improved to 7-6 overall and 7-5 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division by defeating Walnut Ridge 1,475-1,310 on Jan. 31 as Pommering was medalist with a 297 series. Jones had a 265 series and Hanley Baird had a 261 series.
The boys team dropped to 7-8 overall and 7-7 in the COHSBC-South by losing to Walnut Ridge 2,239-1,903. Rose had a 366 series, followed by Pierson (335) and Lewis (334).
Boys basketball team extends winning streak
The boys basketball team had won seven consecutive games and was 12-2 overall and 7-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Academy on Feb. 4.
Hunter Schmalz scored 20 points, going 4-for-6 on 3-point attempts, to lead the Bobcats past West Jefferson 69-50 in league play Jan. 31. Nick Schopis had 11 points, Ike Dunaway scored 10 and Ben McCullough, Luke Miller and Tim Murphy all added six.
The Bobcats outlasted host North Lewisburg Triad 80-78 on Feb. 1. Schmalz scored 26 points, Dunaway had 18, Miller had 12 and Marky Moore added seven.