Hartley High School wrestling coach Kevin Petrella is a fan of the state team tournament.
"When we were wrestling West Jefferson (Jan. 30), I've never had parents get into it like that," Petrella said. "Every point is important in one of these matches."
The Hawks, who were seeded second in Division III, Region 22-B of the inaugural dual-format tournament, upset top-seeded and host West Jefferson 39-33 to advance to a regional final.
Hartley faced Northridge on Feb. 6 in the Region 22 final, with the winner advancing to the eight-team state tournament Saturday, Feb. 9, at Ohio State's St. John Arena.
The Hawks opened the tournament with wins over Bainbridge Paint Valley (53-28 on Jan. 23) and Chillicothe Southeastern (63-9 on Jan. 30).
Northridge was the second seed in Region 22-A and upset top-seeded Galion Northmor 43-27 on Jan. 30 to set up the regional final.
Against West Jefferson, Luke Wulf (106 pounds), Grant Rathburn (138), Jacob Croswell (152) and Nate Jula (160) won their matches and Anthony Poliseno (113), Kristopher Hill (120) and Josh Heinmiller (126) all won by forfeit.
Against Southeastern, Hill, Rathburn, Jack Zang (145), Jula (152), Croswell (160), Aaron Hannah (182), Jared Croswell (220) and Tyler Sweeney (heavyweight) won matches and Poliseno, Patrick Moran (126), Patrick Keefe (132) and Trey Hampton (195) won by forfeit.
Hartley fell short in its bid to defend its CCL championship. The Hawks scored 238 points in the league tournament Feb. 2 to finish second, behind St. Charles (263) and ahead of Ready (149), host DeSales (137) and Watterson (79).
The individual postseason begins with the Division III sectional Feb. 16.
"It's a big step to beat a team as good as (West Jefferson)," Petrella said. "Grant Rathburn is probably wrestling as good as I've seen him wrestle. He's spent a lot of time in practice and you can see how much it's worked out. Jacob Croswell has been wrestling excellently and Kristopher Hill has been solid, too.
"We fill 13 out of (the) 14 weight (classes), so that's why we've done pretty well for a Division III team in the state duals."
Boys basketball team back at full strength
In his second game back from a meniscus tear that kept him sidelined for 10 games, junior guard Drew Onega made five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points as the boys basketball team beat Bloom-Carroll 75-70 in overtime Jan. 30.
The contest snapped a 40-game regular-season winning streak for Bloom-Carroll and marked the first time this season that Hartley had all of its key players available for an entire game.
Onega played the first two games but senior forward Kris Little was not in uniform for the first five games. Onega returned to action but played sparingly in a 40-39 loss to Watterson on Jan. 25.
"(Bloom-Carroll) was a good win for us, especially with us coming off a tough loss to Watterson," coach Randy Kortokrax said. "I think the big thing is that we finally had everybody there. Drew Onega was out since the second game of the year and he came back and made five 3-pointers. He made five 3-pointers and all of a sudden we're a different team.
"He came back for about seven minutes against Watterson and we've been trying to get him in a little bit in practice. He felt pretty good (after the Watterson game). He didn't play real well, but we had to get him going again. There's no good time in our schedule to get a guy back. We started him (against Bloom-Carroll) and he started out well."
Bloom-Carroll was fourth in the state poll and first in the area coaches poll in Division III last week. Hartley was tied with Granville for fourth in the Division II area coaches poll behind Brookhaven, Watterson and Buckeye Valley.
Entering the week, the Hawks were second in the CCL at 5-1, behind Watterson (5-0) and ahead of St. Charles (4-2), Ready (1-6) and DeSales (0-6). Hartley played Watterson on Feb. 5.
"At this time of the year, your team is going one of two ways: Either they're getting stronger or they're packing it in," Kortokrax said.
"You always want to be playing your best at the end of the year. The biggest challenge has been keeping (the players) fresh."
Girls team looking for share of CCL title
The girls basketball team gets its final tune-up for the Division II district tournament when it travels to DeSales on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Hartley , which defeated Whitehall 45-21 in a non-league game Feb. 4, will earn a share of the CCL championship with a win over the Stallions. The Hawks beat DeSales 41-33 on Jan. 12.
Hartley and Watterson are tied for second in the CCL at 5-2 behind DeSales (6-1). The Hawks defeated Ready 43-30 on Feb. 2.
Hartley gained experience against one of the district's top teams in Division II when it lost to Eastmoor Academy 53-47 on Jan. 26. The Hawks converted just 16 of 34 free throws in the contest.
Through 18 games, sophomore post player Marissa Brown was averaging a team-best 10 points and Jaana Motton was averaging 9.5 points and eight rebounds.
"At this point, we just want to continue to clean things up and increase the focus of our team," coach Mike Lanza said.
"I think the district is as balanced this year as it has been in any year since I've been coaching. In Division II, there are usually two teams that are really up there, but I don't think it's that way this year. There are eight to 10 teams in Division II that if they get hot are capable of winning a district title."