Alexander eyes return to state
Anthony Alexander of Northland works on Olentangy's Dan Burns in a match at 138 pounds during a meet earlier this season. Alexander is 34-0 as he enters the postseason with his sights set on winning a state title. Buy This Photo
Last season didn't sit well with Northland High School senior Anthony Alexander.
Sure, he became what coach Toby Hawk believed was the first wrestler from the program to advance to the state tournament since 1991.
But going 0-2 at state in Division I left Alexander hungry.
He's responded by going 34-0 this winter while splitting time between 138 and 145 pounds.
Alexander might wrestle at 145 in the City League tournament Saturday, Feb. 9, at Centennial, a year after being named the league's Outstanding Wrestler at 138.
"I kind of came into this season with a must-win, undefeated type of attitude, so I'm not too surprised," Alexander said. "I just have the attitude that I don't want to lose. I really want to win at the state tournament."
Alexander went 38-5 a year ago. He helped the Vikings finish eighth (72) in the 16-team league tournament behind champion Marion-Franklin (227).
Alexander then was second in the Marysville sectional and second at district. He lost his opening state match 8-4 to Cuyahoga Falls' Colin Taylor and was pinned by Hamilton's Gage Asher in 1 minute, 57 seconds in his second match.
During the offseason, Alexander trained with former Ohio State wrestlers Mitch Clark and Reece Humphrey and competed in tournaments.
"He's still got a lot of work to do and there are some areas he's got to get better at, especially conditioning," Hawk said. "I was mainly concerned about him wrestling the right way in big matches. Even though he was a state qualifier last year, things didn't go the way he expected at state. His main goal is to win the state title."
Of his technique, Alexander said, "(being on top) has become a lot better and I'm taking people to their back more."
The Vikings went to Dublin Coffman for a practice one day last month in preparation for the postseason, which begins at sectional Feb. 16 at Marysville. Alexander formerly attended Coffman before joining Northland's program last season.
In addition to Alexander, Hawk believes senior Saul Arias (195) could be a top finisher in his weight class at the league tournament.
"(Arias) has worked really hard all year," Hawk said. "He's a first-year guy, so potentially he could have been really good. I think every single person on our team has the ability to place (at the league tournament)."
Brookhaven girls hope for tournament run
Despite being the fourth seed for the Division II district tournament a year ago, the Brookhaven girls basketball team was blown out by 12th-seeded Big Walnut 47-28 in the second round.
The Bearcats believe this season's tournament, which begins Feb. 16, could have a much more positive outcome.
Brookhaven was 15-4 overall before playing Columbus East on Feb. 5. Its six-game winning streak was snapped with a 52-44 loss to Centennial on Feb. 1.
"It was just a matter of these girls adapting to my system and how I did adapting to them," second-year coach Darris Gattis said. "They're at about 85 percent of where I'd like them to be as far as running our system is concerned."
Freshman guard Ashley Johnson was the team's leader in scoring average at more than 12 per game before the Bearcats played Centennial, according to Gattis. Senior guard Renee Cheeks, sophomore guard Nazerae Butler and senior forwards Jade' Gattis and Myeisha Arnold all had been averaging between 10 and 12 points.
Junior guard Courtland Crego and junior forward Fredtasia Luttery also have been key players.
"I have no superstar players because of their selflessness," coach Gattis said. "And these girls can all really shoot it."
Beechcroft wrestlers staying positive
The Beechcroft wrestling team is hoping to have close to a full lineup when it competes in the City tournament.
Matt Glorioso, who coached the program two years ago but didn't last winter, is back leading the program.
"We've got one senior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores," Glorioso said. "Basically we're trying to keep the kids' heads right. When you get beat on the mat in wrestling, it can be demoralizing. We're trying to keep things positive."
Mahad Ahmed (152) is the only senior.
Sophomore Malik James (160) was 16-8 before Beechcroft lost to Bexley 36-12 on Jan. 31.
Glorioso said sophomore Yohanes Berhane (170) has been another bright spot.
Freshman Josh Jamison recently became eligible after previously being ineligible because of a transfer situation, according to Glorioso.
"Whatever we do feels like rebuilding year after year," Glorioso said. "(Two seasons ago) when I coached we had a pretty good team. Last year there was not too much participation. It's harder and harder to get kids to participate.
"This year there are a lot of wrestlers because I talked them into it and everybody is just looking to get better."