Four members of the Watkins Memorial High School wrestling team advanced out of the Division I home sectional Feb. 15.
"We're a very young team and we had nine of our 13 guys place, which is great," coach Mark Kurth said. "We had 11 guys who won at least one match. We didn't have anyone (compete) at 220 (pounds), so overall it was a really good showing and our young guys got to experience a sectional and most won at least a match and have something to build on."
Senior Dylan Scott (138), junior Andrew Lieb (132), sophomore Dean Marek (120) and freshman Alex Lieb (106) qualified for the district tournament held Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby.
All but Alex Lieb also were district qualifiers a year ago.
The Lieb brothers both placed second at sectional. Andrew lost to Pickerington North's Jared Ferguson 8-3 in his final and was 34-3 before competing at district. Alex lost to Lancaster's Coleton Chase 9-0 in his final and was 37-9 entering district.
"Neither wrestled their best match in the finals, but we preach all during the postseason that making the top four is what it takes to get to the next level, and that's what they did," Kurth said. "Alex lost to (Chase) 4-1 earlier this year and Andrew didn't wrestle his best, either, but they did what they had to do and maybe they learned something along the way that they can use in the future."
Scott and Marek both placed third at sectional. to advance. After losing to Delaware's Brandyn Dydek 3-2 in a semifinal, Scott bounced back to pin Zanesville's Aaron Clark in 2 minutes, 56 seconds in a district-qualifying match before pinning Licking Heights' L.A. Kelly in 2:50 in the third-place match.
"I definitely should've won that semifinal," Scott said. "I shouldn't have given up back points, and that upsets me."
Scott, who was 8-5 entering district, recently returned to the lineup after missing much of the season with a left knee injury.
"I've only been back for a few weeks, so I don't have the mat time or the strength of some of my opponents," Scott said. "But I'm mentally fresh and not drained like some of the guys out there."
Marek lost to the eventual champion, Slade Tyson of Dresden Tri-Valley, 6-0 in a semifinal but defeated Delaware's Ryan Craun 15-0 in the district-qualifying match before edging Licking Height's Brandon Haist 3-2 in the third-place match.
"(Tyson) was more physical and better than I was at sectional," Marek said, "but I'm excited to go back to district and (losing) gave me some motivation to continue working hard to better my technique."
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Senior Adam Tomkins (160), sophomore Robert Speaks (145) and freshman Brad Swearingen (113) were district alternates after placing fifth at sectional. Placing sixth were freshmen Andrew Cornelius (126) and Kyle Clark (182).
Tomkins lost to Tri-Valley's Matt Fellows 6-4 in his district-qualifying match and Speaks lost to Delaware's Nick Beyer 8-7 in his qualifying match. Tomkins and Speaks both finished 26-16 on the season.
"They both had good seasons and I really feel for Adam Tomkins because he is a senior who was so close in his last chance," Kurth said. "I would've liked to see him get out."
Watkins Memorial scored 118.5 points in the 11-team sectional to place fifth behind champion Delaware (248.5).
Season ends at district for swimming teams
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams saw their seasons come to an end in the Division I district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
Neither team had any qualifiers for the state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"Everybody performed very well, so there's no disappointment here," coach Heidi Williams said. "We took 13 kids to district, which is the most in at least 10 years, I've been told.
"Plus, we have four or five club swimmers, which means the majority of what we took to district are program swimmers who are developing and improving. That says a lot about the depth we're beginning to build. I am very tickled about what we did this season and very encouraged about where the program is headed."
The girls team was represented in six events at district, including all three relays.
The 200-yard medley relay of Kayla Fenimore, Shelby Seas, Rachel Baugh and Monica Tumblin had the team's top finish, placing 18th in a program-record 1:58.5. The same four finished 22nd (1:48.83) in the 200 freestyle relay.
The 400 free relay of Abby Jarvis, Chelsea List, Gracie Gessner and Jayna Hulse finished 29th (4:27.28).
Individually, Seas finished 21st in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.69) and 23rd in the 100 free (55.87), and Fenimore finished 26th in the 100 breast (1:12.65) and 27th in the 100 butterfly (1:03.59).
Seas narrowly missed breaking her record in the 100 free (55.8), which she had set in the sectional meet Feb. 8 at Thomas Worthington.
Alan Chapman competed in all three events at district in which the boys team was represented.
The junior finished 26th in the 100 fly (57.7), teamed with Jacob Sloan, Skylar Chapman and Anthony Juarez to finish 27th in the 200 medley relay (1:59.54) and teamed with Skylar Chapman, Juarez and Grady Marshall to finish 30th in the 200 free relay (program-record 1:49.36).
Alan Chapman's time in the 100 fly fell just short of his program record (57.57), which he had set at sectional.
Neither the boys team nor the girls team scored at district. Upper Arlington won the girls title with 522 points as 24 teams scored and St. Charles (304) won the boys championship as 25 teams scored.
The boys team does not have any seniors and Baughn is the lone senior on the girls squad.
"I'm definitely excited with the group we have coming back and am looking forward to seeing new kids come into the program and join them," Williams said. "We're going to keep pushing forward."
Boys basketball team opens postseason
Jared Clark's 3-pointer with 45 seconds left helped the boys basketball team rally to beat host Heath 46-45 in its regular-season finale Feb. 14.
Watkins Memorial, which outscored Heath 18-11 in the fourth quarter, was 10-11 overall before playing 17th-seeded Marysville in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 22. The Warriors were seeded 32nd of 45 teams.
Ben Shroyer and Clay Gray both had 11 points and Hunter Holton scored 10 for the Warriors, who finished 8-10 in the LCL to place seventh behind Granville (16-2), Johnstown (15-3), Newark Catholic (14-4), Licking Valley (11-7), Lakewood (9-9) and Licking Heights (9-9) and ahead of Northridge (5-13), Heath (3-15) and Utica (0-18).
The first-round winner will play at 13th-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round Friday, Feb. 28, with the winner of that contest advancing to a district semifinal March 5 at Westerville Central.
Watkins Memorial did not play Liberty during the regular season.
Girls basketball team falls to Shamrocks
The girls basketball team lost to ninth-seeded host Dublin Coffman 53-25 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 15 to finish 5-18.
Watkins Memorial, which was seeded 41st of 47 teams, trailed 36-8 at halftime. Emma Hock led the Warriors with five points and Vicki Smith and Caitlyn Conley both scored four.