Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestler James Gundling did not take the easiest path to the Division I district tournament.

Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestler James Gundling did not take the easiest path to the Division I district tournament.

The sophomore lost his opening match at 130 pounds during the sectional on Feb. 19 at Westland, but he came back to win three times while facing elimination and posted four victories overall in the consolation bracket to qualify.

Gundling had one pin and won three decisions by a combined 29 points, which included an 11-0 victory over Dublin Scioto's Anthony Tracchio in the third-place match. A 16-7 victory over Lancaster's Ben Barnhart-Sullivan in a consolation semifinal put him in the district meet.

"I went back into the locker room and thought about my season ending. That was my motivation," Gundling said, referring to his 12-6 first-round loss to Groveport's Jeff Mullins. "I just couldn't let that happen."

Gundling improved to 21-6 and will face Beavercreek's Sam Schaeffer in his opening match at the district tournament, which will be held Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, at Hilliard Darby.

"James really had his heart set on qualifying for district," coach Ed Chism said. "He was in one of the tougher weight classes. He had to come a long way back, but he wrestled very well and made it through the entire day."

Six Wolves advanced to compete at district. They included sectional runners-up Mike Mayberry (171) and Jedidiah Bressman (189), who lost 6-2 against Westland's Exodus King in the final. Mayberry, who lost 16-5 against Dublin Jerome's Brad Myers in his final, is 28-9 entering his first-round district match against Sidney's Steven Jones.

Chism said that Bressman will be unable to compete because of a shoulder injury. The senior finished 31-8.

"It's one of those fluke things," Chism said. "He was fine (after the sectional), but he woke up (the next morning) hurting. He went to the doctor and found out he had torn ligaments."

The other district qualifiers are third-place finishers Nick Varazashvili (125) and Connor Wolfe (140), both of whom advanced to a championship semifinal, in addition to Lucky Shaut (103), who placed fourth.

Shaut is 21-12 entering his district match against Marysville's David Sparks. Varazashvili is 38-5 while Wolfe is 27-8 heading into their respective district matches against Pickerington Central's Isaiah Brunner and Marysville's Chase Boyd.

Kyle Wahl (135, fifth) is a district alternate.

The Wolves were missing a returning district qualifier when Nico Shaut was unable to compete at 112 because of the lingering effects of a concussion. Freshman Austin Oberly, who had competed at 103 for much of the season, took Nico Shaut spot and finished 0-2. Lucky Shaut's emergence at 103 had pushed Oberly out of that weight class.

"Austin came to me and said he wanted to give 112 a try at the sectional," Chism said. "He's maybe 95 pounds soaking wet, so he was really at a disadvantage. He wasn't happy just being there, though. He wanted to win, and that's the attitude we're trying to cultivate."

The top four in each weight class at district advance to state March 3-5 at Ohio State.

Thomas advanced sectional runners-up Make Coleman (135) and Andrew Shackelford (171) to district.

Coleman, who was not seeded after he missed much of the season with a shoulder injury, got pinned by Mount Vernon's Collin Riley in the final. He is 14-9 entering a first-round district match against Central Crossing's Dez Hauber. To qualify, he defeated third-seeded Patrick O'Neill of Upper Arlington 8-6 and fourth-seeded Chris Suozzi of St. Charles 14-7.

Shackelford, who got pinned in a final by Mount Vernon's Jordan Montgomery, is 25-12 heading into his opening district match against Olentangy Liberty's Ken Hamre. Shackelford reached a sectional final by winning his first two matches by a combined three points. He battled Montgomery to a 5-all tie with 30 seconds remaining before getting caught trying an upper-body throw.

"We had an awfully tough sectional with (Hilliard) Davidson and Mount Vernon and Marysville in the field," coach Mark Gundling said. "For being such a young team, we hung in there and did a good job. Both our finalists lost, but it was nice getting there."

Three other Cardinals, including district alternates Alex Good (130, fifth) and Max King (189, fifth), also placed. Noah Messerall finished sixth at 119.

"We're going to practice some (this) week with Kilbourne's kids," coach Gundling said. "Hopefully, we'll get a few good workouts in and then go to Darby and see where things fall."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne wrestling teams:

THOMAS

Feb. 19 - Finished eighth (67.5) at 13-team Division I sectional at Marysville behind champion Hilliard Davidson (239.5).

District qualifiers were Mark Coleman (135, 2-1, second) and Andrew Shackelford (171, 2-1, second).

Also competing were Kasey Ackley (112, 0-2), Robert Campbell (152, 0-2), Will Coleman (103, 1-2), Brooks Gilmore (215, 0-2), Alex Good (130, 3-2), Ben Hoyt (125, 0-2), Max King (189, 2-2, fifth), Noah Messerall (119, 2-3), Alex Randolph (285, 0-2), Ethan Shillington (160, 0-2) and Austin Washburn (145, 0-2).

Feb. 25-26 - District tournament at Hilliard Darby. The top four in each weight class advance to state March 3-5 at Ohio State.

KILBOURNE

*Feb. 19 - Finished fifth (125.5) at 13-team Division I sectional at Westland behind champion Lancaster (180).

District qualifiers were Jedidiah Bressman (189, 2-1, second), James Gundling (130, 4-1, third), Mike Mayberry (171, 3-1, second), Lucky Shaut (103, 2-2, fourth), Nick Varazashvili (125, 3-1, third) and Connor Wolfe (140, 3-1, third). Bressman will not compete because of a shoulder injury.

Also competing were Austin Oberly (112, 0-2), Zach Badowi (119, 2-2), Kyle Wahl (135, 2-1) and Josh Jenkins (160, 0-2).

Feb. 25-26 - District tournament at Darby. The top four in each weight class advance to state March 3-5 at Ohio State.