Upper Arlington High School wrestling coach Matt Stout couldn't help feeling somewhat disappointed at the conclusion of the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 18 at Central Crossing even though his team finished second.

Upper Arlington High School wrestling coach Matt Stout couldn't help feeling somewhat disappointed at the conclusion of the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 18 at Central Crossing even though his team finished second.

The Golden Bears scored 174.5 points in the 10-team tournament to finish behind Dublin Coffman (196.5).

"We wanted to win the tournament and we went 0-4 in the championship matches, so I'm not too thrilled about that," Stout said. "But I'm never happy. We also finished second at sectional my senior year at Upper Arlington in 1990 and I'm still bitter about it."

However, Stout was pleased that nine of his athletes placed in the top four of their weight classes to qualify for the district tournament Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at Hilliard Darby.

The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament March 1-3 at Ohio State.

Last year, UA finished sixth (48.5) in the 13-team sectional at Marysville behind the champion Monarchs (105.5), as only two Bears advanced to district.

The Bears then finished 39th (10) of the 44 teams that scored at district behind champion Olentangy Liberty (128.5) and had no state qualifiers.

"Obviously, this was a good showing because I thought we had the potential to get anywhere from one to 10 guys to district and we got nine through," Stout said. "We finished ahead of Olentangy Orange (fourth, 168.5) and Hilliard Darby (fifth, 161), who both beat us pretty soundly in dual matches this season, so a lot of people will open the newspaper and wonder how we finished this high in this tournament. We're definitely wrestling the best we have all season."

Four Bears went 2-1 and placed second - Thomas Cooper (106 pounds), Vito DiBenedetto (138), Jared Drake (182) and Blake Reid (152).

DiBenedetto beat St. Charles' Dustin Obergfell 9-3 in a semifinal and lost to Worthington Kilbourne's James Gundling 4-3 in the final.

Last year, DiBenedetto went 3-1 and placed third at 130 at sectional before going 0-2 at district.

"We have a new coaching staff this year and our team has responded well to what they're teaching us," DiBenedetto said. "I've learned a lot of new stuff and I'm happy that I'm going back to district. Last year, I learned that I need to be ready for a higher level of wrestling at district, so I hope that I'm better prepared to win matches at district to make it to state."

Drake was pleased to qualify for district in his first wrestling season since third grade.

"I drilled hard in practice to cut from 197 pounds down to 180 pounds the past few weeks, and I definitely felt bigger wrestling at 182," he said.

"I worked a lot on improving my technique with my coaches this past week and I did my best to win (at sectional).

"For district, I'm just going to focus on the skills I have and try to avoid making any mental mistakes. Hopefully, that will be enough to get me through."

Four Bears went 3-1 and placed third at sectional in James Lowrey (195), Keith Neely (132), Skyler Sowry (170) and Danny Watson (135).

Sowry is competing in the postseason for the first time after a back injury brought his junior season to a premature end.

"I've been working on my stance, staying in position and doing my best to ride kids out," he said. "I'm glad I made it to district, and my next goal is to wrestle even better to make it to state."