After losing to Lexington in the Region 14 final of the Division II state team tournament Feb. 6, the Whitehall-Yearling High School wrestling team focused its attention on the MSL-Ohio Division tournament Feb. 9 at Heath.
The Rams responded by winning their first league title since 1968. They scored 396 points to finish ahead of Licking Valley (275), Granville (269), Newark Catholic (163), Heath (135), Columbus Academy (109), Lakewood (104) and Bexley (96).
Licking Valley had won the four previous league titles.
Whitehall had eight champions and one runner-up finisher.
"We weren't able to qualify for state duals, but we knew we had a shot at doing well at the league tournament," coach Steve Pennington said. "We just didn't win it, we pretty much dominated. We won by over 120 points and had eight league champs."
Champions for Whitehall included senior Noah Young (160 pounds), who avenged two earlier losses on his way to a title.
Competing in pool play, Young (37-7 overall) defeated Licking Valley's Tommy Wogan 3-2, avenging a 6-5 loss in the Cruiser Invitational on Jan. 26 at Groveport. Young also defeated Granville's Will Navin 7-1, avenging a 7-3 loss at district last season.
"Personally, for me, the league meet meant I had rematches with people who had beaten me before," Young said. "For the whole team, it's been a long time since we've won the MSL, so we were really looking forward to being able to win it this year."
Other champions for Whitehall were Noah Jay at 106, Ana Abduljelil at 113, Josh Delgadillo at 132, Ashden Gibson at 138, Ifa Abduljelil at 152, Isaiah Turner at 220 and Alex Farrow at heavyweight.
Bryce Hortz was second at 170.
The Rams lost to Lexington 37-25 in the regional title match at New Rosemore Middle School, ending their hopes of competing it state dual matches Feb. 9 at Ohio State's St. John Arena.
Farrow won by pin in 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Other winners were Jay (8-5), Ana Abduljelil (23-8), Delgadillo (11-4), Gibson (10-0) and Ifa Abduljelil (11-2).
Lexington lost to Toledo Central Catholic 37-30 in a state quarterfinal, and St. Paris Graham defeated Uhrichsville Claymont 36-34 in the title match.
Whitehall will compete in a 13-team Division II sectional Saturday, Feb. 16, at Licking Heights. Other teams will be Bexley, Big Walnut, Caledonia River Valley, Centennial, Columbus East, Jonathan Alder, Licking Heights, London, Mifflin, Columbus South, Utica and Watterson.
The top four individuals in each weight class will advance to district Feb. 22 and 23 at Heath.
Whitehall, which is seeking its first sectional title since 1961, is seeded first in the district and River Valley is second.
"We shift our attention to sectionals because we haven't won a sectional title since 1961," Pennington said. "This has been an amazing year for us. We're breaking records. We're setting real high standards and meeting almost every one of those."
Last season in a 13-team sectional at Big Walnut, the Rams were second (163) behind Sparta Highland (172.5).
Young is looking forward to continued postseason success.
"A perfect ending would be placing at state," said Young, who was 0-2 at district last season."
Boys basketball team to visit Granville
The boys basketball team closes the regular season Friday, Feb. 15, at Granville.
The Rams lost to Columbus Academy 68-46 on Feb. 5 and Bexley 71-55 on Feb. 9.
Against Academy, forward Marcus Pearce scored 15 points and guard R.J. Mims chipped in 11.
Against Bexley, guard D.A. Sanders scored 16 points, Mims scored 14 and guard Demetrius Carr scored 10.
Girls basketball team to open tourney play
The girls basketball team is seeded 26th in the Division II district tournament and has a first-round bye.
The Rams play at seventh-seeded Granville or 19th-seeded Jonathan Alder in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 20. The winner faces third-seeded Hartley, ninth-seeded Licking Valley, 12th-seeded Beechcroft or 22nd-seeded London in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Gahanna.
Whitehall lost to Granville 52-29 on Jan. 5 and 61-35 on Feb. 8 in MSL-Ohio action.
In the second meeting, guard Mamie Russell scored 17 points and guard Gayle Poindexter scored 12.
Girls bowling team wins MSL tourney
The girls bowling team defeated Granville 3-1 in a best-of-five match to win the MSL tournament Feb. 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The Rams finished first in pool play with 3,560 pins and then defeated Columbus Academy 3-0 in a semifinal.
Taylor Morton (611 series), Melanie Gilmer (515), Tabetha Baumann (473), Ashley Ford (467) and Taylor Deskins (456) were named first-team all-league.
Morton also was named the tournament's most valuable bowler.
The boys team lost to Granville 3-2 in the final after defeating Logan Elm 3-0 in a semifinal.
The Rams finished second (4,001) in pool play behind Teays Valley (4,208).
Noah Wiley (623) was first-team all-league, Maddux Russell (593), Schuyler Wright (586) and Andrew Sturgill (567) were second-team all-league and Chad Clites (529) was honorable mention all-league.