The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team came out of the holiday break feeling good about the prospects for the remainder of the season.
The Pacers will try to maintain some of the momentum they gained in the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament held Dec. 27 and 28 at Vandalia Butler. Delaware had two wrestlers place in the top eight and totaled 70 points to finish 11th of the 27 teams that competed in Division I, as Buford (Georgia) won with 192.
"We may not have had as many placers as we have in years past, but we qualified nine guys to the second day, which is the most we've ever done before," coach Josh Heffernan said. "We only took 10 guys. We have some nice, scrappy young kids who wrestle hard. They're dangerous wrestlers and they're developing well. We're going to surprise people as the year goes on."
Sophomore Corbin May placed fifth at 160 pounds and junior Zach Williams placed eighth at 132.
A two-time state qualifier, Williams was disappointed with his finish. He has been competing at 138 and 132 this season and had a 12-4 record entering a Jan. 4 dual against Mount Vernon.
"I definitely wasn't satisfied and didn't wrestle to my ability," Williams said. "I found some things to work on, which is great. I don't want to peak now and I faced some tough opponents who may be peaking already."
"Most kids would be happy to place eighth in a tournament that size, but that's not who Zach is," Heffernan said. "He can beat anyone in the state on any day when he wrestles well and he has such high standards and lofty goals. He's disappointed, but he wasn't at his best technically. We'll make some adjustments."
May was 14-3 entering the dual against the Yellow Jackets.
"Corbin is turning the corner," Heffernan said. "In the past two weeks, he has beaten a district alternate, district qualifier and district placer. He's doing some awesome things right now."
"Corbin is one of at least four guys who have really shown great improvement," Williams said. "Some of the others are (senior) Zane Hypes (195), (junior) Jacob McCloskey (182) and (sophomore) Mason Sutander (170). We only have three seniors and I'm trying to help a lot of the younger guys, so I can see how they are growing and developing. I'm trying to roll around with a lot of them and motivate them. They all have goals, whether it's being a district qualifier or making the starting lineup or even making the (varsity) roster. I want them to reach their goals."
McCloskey and Sutander both were 8-5 before Jan. 4, as were senior Jake Henley (152) and sophomore Nathan Robinson (220).
"Nathan Robinson wasn't in the lineup to start the season and he's looking great now," Heffernan said. "He is growing exponentially every week, as are Jake Henley, Jacob McCloskey and (sophomore) Zack Raquepaw at 126."
Hypes won by pin in the final match of an OCC-Cardinal Division dual Dec. 21 to give the host Pacers a 39-34 win over Dublin Scioto. Delaware is 2-0 in the league and will compete at defending champion Hilliard Darby on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
Swimming teams making strides
The girls and boys swimming and diving teams were hoping to use the Delaware Invitational held Jan. 5 and 6 as a gauge for the second half of the season.
"We spent the better part of the holidays really pushing the envelope and we want to see where we are coming out of it and where we need to be," first-year coach Joran Nicol said. "We should have a good idea after (the Delaware Invitational), but I think things are going pretty well."
Sophomore Dani Ward has been among the leaders for the girls team.
"Dani has been very strong in the 100(-yard butterfly) and the 200 (individual medley), but she is getting help from a strong freshman class," Nicol said. "Rena Ouyang has been strong wherever we put her, but looks very good in the 100 and 200 freestyles and the 100 fly.
"The freshmen are allowing us to have great balance. We lost a lot of talent last season, but we're really excited about this team. We've got strong upperclassmen and strong newcomers, so we feel we're in pretty good shape."
The boys team also has some balance in its lineup, but with a much smaller roster.
Zach Ward, Dani's brother and the lone freshman on the boys team, has provided a big boost, according to Nicol.
"He is really shaping up as a leader and that's unusual for a freshman," Nicol said. "No matter where we put him in the lineup, he's our fastest guy. I think the 200 IM and 500 free are his best events."
The Pacers have only 14 boys on the roster, but 10 are seniors and juniors.
"We've got some solid upperclassmen and few underclassmen," Nicol said. "But the few young guys we have are really pretty good. Aidan Stojkov is a sophomore who is showing a lot of improvement and is doing well in the 100 (backstroke)."
Boys basketball team reaches midseason
The boys basketball team was looking to end a two-game skid when it played host to defending league champion Hilliard Bradley on Jan. 5.
That game marked the midpoint of the season for the Pacers, who entered the contest 4-6 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
After beating Thomas Worthington 46-44 on Dec. 19 and Worthington Kilbourne 52-48 on Dec. 22, the Pacers lost to Dresden Tri-Valley 58-56 on Dec. 27 and fell to Mount Vernon 65-52 on Dec. 30.
Delaware has been led by junior forward Terin Kinsway and sophomore guard Nate Griggs, who were averaging 18.2 and 15.2 points, respectively, through nine games.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 9 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*Jan. 9 -- At Dublin Jerome
Jan. 10 -- Home vs. Grove City
Jan. 13 -- Home vs. Walnut Ridge
*Jan. 9 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Colony Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
*Jan. 11 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 10 -- Mid-Season Challenge at Thomas Worthington
Jan. 13 -- Central Ohio Splash at Thomas Worthington (swimming) and Westerville Recreation Center (diving)
*Jan. 10 -- At Hilliard Darby
Jan. 12-13 -- Top Gun Invitational at Alliance