Usually by the first weekend in March, Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestler Mike Mayberry is preparing to change sports.

Usually by the first weekend in March, Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestler Mike Mayberry is preparing to change sports.

That's not the case this year, however.

The senior instead will be competing for the first time in the Division I state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, at Ohio State. His first-round opponent at 195 pounds will be Brecksville-Broadview Heights sophomore Josh Murphy, another first-timer who would seem to be the underdog with a 25-12 record.

"Lacrosse can wait," Mayberry said after earning his spot with a 7-4 victory over Marysville's Thomas Taylor in a championship semifinal during the district tournament Feb. 24 and 25 at Hilliard Darby. "I've never even gone down and watched the state meet before, because that's the week when lacrosse starts up."

Mayberry captured the district title with a convincing 8-1 victory over Pickerington Central's J.J. Chowie in the final, raising his record to 39-1. He also defeated Delaware's Shawn Johnson 10-4 in the opening round and Reynoldsburg's Jordan Reed 13-4 in a quarterfinal.

"This feels awesome," Mayberry said. "But there's still work to do."

Eight other Wolves also competed at district, and four of them won at least one match. The group included Alex Meehan, who won twice at 220. Meehan and James Gundling (138) won first-round matches before dropping into the consolation brackets.

Gundling, a junior who had won a sectional title Feb. 18 at Central Crossing, was suffering from flu-like symptoms after the first night of matches and forfeited his second consolation match the following morning because of dehydration.

"That's a rough way to end it," his father, Thomas coach Mark Gundling, said. "Fortunately, he's still got one more year."

Wasim Soomro (126, 1-2), Kyle Wahl (132, 1-2) and Jake McCullough (heavyweight, 1-2) also competed along with Austin Oberly (106, 0-2), Lucky Shaut (113, 0-2) and Zach Badowi (120, 0-2).

The Wolves scored 35 points to finish 16th behind champion Marysville (174) as 37 teams scored.

Mayberry's half of the state bracket also features Lakewood St. Edward's James Suvak, who has a 27-3 record and is the projected state runner-up according to Brian Brakeman's High School Wrestling Forecast. Massillon Perry's JoJo Tayse, who is 38-2 and will be competing in the opposite half of the bracket, is the projected champion.

Suvak placed third and Tayse was fifth at 189 in last year's state tournament.

Mayberry is not mentioned in Brakeman's report, and none of the 16 wrestlers is undefeated in what appears to be a wide-open weight class.

•Andrew Shackelford (182) had the best shot at advancing to state for Thomas, which had five district qualifiers.

The junior won his first-round match and later posted two more victories in the consolation bracket before losing 3-2 to Hilliard Bradley's Ricky McGrath in the state-qualifying round when McGrath scored the decisive point on an escape early in the third period.

Shackelford came back to defeat Westerville North's Emmanual Adu 9-5 to place fifth and become a state alternate, improving his record to 32-7.

Shackelford also defeated New Albany's Mac Ferguson 2-1 on a penalty point and Upper Arlington's Jared Drake 6-4 in overtime in the consolation bracket.

"He's kind of a defensive wrestler," coach Gundling said after the match with Ferguson, who was penalized for fleeing the mat as Shackelford was about to score a takedown with six seconds remaining. "He can counter any move."

Will Coleman (113, 1-2), Kasey Ackley (120, 0-2), Noah Messerall (126, 0-2) and Brooks Gilmore (heavyweight, 0-2) also competed for the Cardinals. Thomas scored 12 points to finish 29th.