Westerville North advances four to state tournament
After watching last season's state wrestling tournament in the stands, Westerville North High School coach David Grant will return to the floor this season at Ohio State.
The Warriors qualified four wrestlers for the Division I state tournament, which begins Thursday, Feb. 28, and concludes Saturday, March 2.
North was third (89.5 points) in the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby behind Marysville (163) and Hilliard Davidson (107) as 35 teams scored.
North had at least one qualifier for state in Grant's first eight seasons before not advancing a wrestler to state last year.
"We've been talking about getting back to the top," Grant said. "We've had great success. (The) effort (at district) was a team effort. Everybody contributed."
The top four in each weight class at district advanced to state. Juniors Santino DiSabato and Andy Struttmann finished third, while junior Nick Durieux and sophomore Jacob Hinz placed fourth.
DiSabato (36-7 overall) pinned Teays Valley's Kyle Dooley in 1 minute, 48 seconds in the third-place match at 113 pounds. He will wrestle Cincinnati LaSalle's Anthony Milano (39-6) in the first round at state.
"Every second, every minute, every waking hour when I think about wrestling I know it's all going to pay off, the hard work that I do, and I love it," DiSabato said. "I love the sport, I love what it stands for, I love the rewards you get from winning. It's just a great individual sport and it's all on you."
Struttmann (35-11) finished third at 220 after pinning Canal Winchester's Max Lacey in 28 seconds. He will wrestle Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Austin Linden (29-11) in the first round at state.
"This is an unbelievable feeling after going 0-10 in football for the last three seasons," Struttmann said. "This is something I've worked so hard and never seen any payoff until now. This is a great feeling, I love it and I have three other teammates that are going on a journey with me. It's awesome and we're all returning next year."
Durieux (36-8) lost the third-place match at 132 to Mount Vernon's Lane Hinkle 2-1. He will wrestle Painesville Riverside's Nick Boggs (43-5) in the first round at state.
Hinz (37-8) dropped the third-place match at 152 to Watkins Memorial's Nick Lancia 7-1. He will face Solon's Anthony Collica (45-1) in the first round at state.
"The goal is always to have a state placer every year and we're right back in the hunt," Grant said. "I don't care if they got fourth place or if you're the alternate trying to get in, the goal is for you to place."
Also competing at district but not advancing were Todd Cumer (120, 0-2), Mike Kline (126, 1-2), Jeremiah Ferguson (145, 2-2), Nick Perrotti (170, 0-2), Shane Coulter (182, sixth, 2-3), Nic Kramer (195, 2-2) and Gage Archer (heavyweight, 0-2).
South concludes year at district
South had four wrestlers at district, and juniors Caleb Llaneza, Evan Trainer and Adam Thesing all won a match.
Llaneza was 1-2 at 145 to finish 41-8, Trainer was 1-2 at 160 to finish 33-14 and Thesing was 1-2 at 220 to finish 26-18.
Evan Pivetz also competed and was 0-2 at 126.
The Wildcats placed 31st (7).
"I was happy to get four kids in the district tournament," coach Kerry Burton said. "Unfortunately, I think some of them wrestled like they were just happy to be there. I would like to see our kids be more consistent and believe that they can win every match. Hopefully they will use this experience to work harder in the offseason."
Central wraps up season at district
Central was 33rd (3) at district as senior Alex Krasovec accounted for the Warhawks' points by going 1-2 at 152 to finish 33-13.
Junior Isayah Walker was 0-2 at heavyweight and finished 25-17.