The Marysville High School wrestling team started the postseason strong, defending its sectional title and advancing 10 competitors to the Division I district tournament.
Half of the Monarchs' district qualifiers captured sectional titles, as host Marysville scored 218.5 points to win its 11-team sectional Feb. 15 ahead of runner-up Olentangy Liberty (197.5).
It was Marysville's 13th sectional title.
"It was nice to have a chance to defend our sectional title. We (put) ourselves in position to compete for a district title and to move several guys on to the state tournament," coach Shawn Andrews said. "This is the time of year that our guys look forward to after an entire season's worth of preparation."
The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional advanced to district Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby, where the top four in each weight advanced to state Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Last season at state, the Monarchs finished fifth (58.5) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (117) as 89 teams scored.
Winning titles last weekend at sectional were senior Hayden Lee (113 pounds), senior David Sparks (138), junior Taleb Rahmani (145), junior Alex Sepeda (152) and senior Austin Pfarr (220).
Lee (35-3 before district) defeated Groveport's Shakur Laney 4-2 in his final, while Sparks (32-9) won by forfeit over Central Crossing's Ethan Leapley.
Also in finals, Rahmani (38-6) defeated Liberty's Matt Snyder 9-1, Sepeda (24-4) defeated Liberty's Nick Thrasher 3-1 and Pfarr (38-1) beat Hamilton Township's Alonzo Jewell 21-8.
Marysville's other district qualifiers were Derek Sharp (second at sectional) at 120, Nick Rioch (third) at 160, Noah Satterfield (third) at 170, Troy Messer (fourth) at 126 and Darius Walker (fourth) at heavyweight.
Last season at district, Pfarr won the title at 195, Sparks was second at 126 and Rahmani was fourth at 120 to advance to state.
Boys basketball team opens postseason
The boys basketball team had a double-digit, first-half lead at Olentangy on Feb. 18 before the Braves rallied for a 79-70 win in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Monarchs, seeded 17th in the Division I district tournament, were 13-9 before playing host to 32nd-seeded Watkins Memorial in the first round Feb. 22.
The winner plays at 13th-seeded Liberty in the second round Friday, Feb. 28.
The Monarchs split two games with the Patriots this season, losing 77-51 on Dec. 21 at home and winning 69-64 in overtime Jan. 29 at Liberty.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Pickerington Central, 34th-seeded Canal Winchester or 36th-seeded Columbus West in a district semifinal March 5 at Westerville Central.
Against Olentangy, Marysville led by as many as 18 points in the first half and 42-28 at halftime. Brandon Mazzeo's reverse layup gave Olentangy its first lead at 61-60 with 6 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.
Marysville's final lead was at 66-65 after Ryan Evans made two free throws with 3:30 left. With the game tied at 68, Obi Anunike's basket gave the Braves the lead for good.
Drew Mellen led the Monarchs with 18 points, followed by Evans with 12 and Logan Roston with 10.
"Olentangy plays a style where they're not going to let you play your normal game," coach Ryan Grose said. "They trap, they press, they scramble and we handled it pretty well in the first half and not so well in the second. They made a lot of shots on top of that."
Through 22 games, Roston led Marysville in scoring averaging (16.1 points), followed by Mellen (11.2), who led in rebounding at 4.8 per game.
The 13 wins are the most for the Monarchs since they finished 13-9 in 2003-04.
"We haven't won these many games in a decade, so obviously it's a good accomplishment for our kids and the program is heading in the right direction," Grose said. "We wanted to finish the right way. This is a game (against Olentangy) we felt that we should win. It's disappointing we didn't come out on that side of it."
Gymnastics team competes at district
The gymnastics team competed in the district meet Feb. 22 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The top three teams advanced to the state team meet Friday, Feb. 28, at Hilliard Bradley and the top eight individuals in each event, including the all-around, advanced to the state individual meet Saturday, March 1, at Bradley.
Swim teams close season at district
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams closed the season Feb. 15 in the Division I district meet at Ohio State.
The boys team set four program records while tying Olentangy Orange for 22nd (17) behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored.
Junior Gavin Mickelson set a program mark while finishing 14th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.28), beating his record of 1:49.3.
Mickelson also set a program mark while finishing 11th in the 100 backstroke (54.5), beating the mark held by his brother, Quinn Mickelson (54.81).
Micah Haynes set a program record in the 100 butterfly (57.52) while placing 23rd, surpassing the previous mark held by Grant Barnhorst (57.67).
The 400 free relay of Haynes, Gavin Mickelson, Christian Madsen and Connor Hall set a program record of 3:28.03, surpassing their previous mark of 3:32.02. The relay finished 16th at district.
The girls did not score at district. Upper Arlington finished first (522) as 24 teams scored.
"The kids were very happy with their district results," coach Craig Faircloth said. "Almost everyone had a best swim, be it individually or in a relay. We had some tremendous relay (time) drops from sectional."
Girls basketball team loses in first round
The girls basketball team lost at 18th-seeded New Albany 49-48 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 15.
The Monarchs, who were seeded 27th, finished 12-11 under first-year coach Andrea Hackett.
"It was extremely tough for us," Hackett said of the loss. "Like I said all year, they gave me everything that game, just like they have all year."
Last season, Marysville finished 5-18.
New Albany went on to lose to 19th-seeded Westland 40-39 in the second round Feb. 19.
Marysville led 12-2 before New Albany rallied to cut its deficit to 21-20 at halftime.
The Eagles outscored Marysville 17-10 in the third quarter. Marysville trailed by as many as eight points in the final three minutes.
Mikayla Hughes led the Monarchs with 12 points.