Facing the kind of competition it expects to see in the postseason, the Grove City High School wrestling team turned in a solid effort in one of its final regular-season tests Feb. 10 in the All-North Tournament at Dublin Jerome.
Led by junior Justin Swavely, the Greyhounds scored 129.5 points to finish fourth of 16 teams behind champion Upper Arlington (237).
Swavely dominated three opponents, capped by defeating UA's Miles Pearson by technical fall (17-0) in the final at 138 pounds. After a first-round bye, the top-seeded Swavely pinned Bexley's Eammon Sears in 1 minute, 20 seconds in the second round and Green's David Graber in 42 seconds in a semifinal.
"These kind of tournaments help you because it shows you what kind of competition you'll see at sectional and district," Swavely said. "(Pearson) is in my sectional and so are a couple of other kids, so it helps prepare you for what's coming."
Swavely improved to 31-3 on the season and now will prepare for a Division I sectional Feb. 24 at UA. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.
"Justin continues to do well," coach Jay DiMasso said. "He puts in extra work on top of our work. He's training hard and doing what's right. He's a kid that really doesn't question anything. He doesn't question the system. He's goes out there and does what he needs to and his success is obviously showing and paying off. He continued to refine his craft."
Last season, Swavely went 1-2 at district at 132 to finish 34-11. He's using that finish as motivation as he seeks his first state tournament berth.
"I'm looking forward to sectional," Swavely said. "The motivation is to get through district and then state. I feel like I have more confidence going into a match than I did last year. It's my junior year and I only have two more (postseasons) left, so I have to keep fighting for it."
Also at Jerome, Taryn Martin (106) and Schuyler Marinelli (145) placed fourth and Jackson Kuhn (113), Hunter Barker (152), Tanner Stevens (220) and Louie Eigenesee (heavyweight) placed fifth.
Wrestlers had the potential to compete in at least five matches in preparation for the postseason.
The Greyhounds are hoping for a strong postseason showing, with Swavely expected to lead the way, but DiMasso said other wrestlers could also emerge as contenders.
"At any moment, we have wrestlers who could hit a move and get it," DiMasso said. "I'm looking and hoping for Tanner Stevens to get out at 220. Hunter has a chance. It matters how those cards fall on that day. We have other guys who are pretty tough. There are some kids who are grinding and going at it."
The Greyhounds split a pair of OCC-Ohio Division matches Feb. 8 at Reynoldsburg, defeating Reynoldsburg 44-31 and losing to Gahanna 36-28 to finish 3-2 in the league. Lancaster won the title at 5-0.
"It would be nice to get a little bit of down time to heal up and work on a couple of new things that we need to," said DiMasso, whose team closed the regular season Feb. 12 against Mifflin.
Swim teams compete at UA sectional
The boys and girls swimming teams competed in a Division I sectional meet Feb. 10 at UA and advanced several competitors to district Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University.
For the boys, Justin Christensen (200-yard freestyle, 500 free) Gregory Kingsbury (50 free, 100 free) and Nicholas Routh (100 butterfly) will compete along with the 200 free relay and 400 free relay. The 200 free relay and 400 free relay advanced for the girls.
The winner of each sectional event qualified for district. In addition, there were 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Christensen led the boys at sectional, finishing third in the 500 free (4 minutes, 49.84 seconds) and fifth in the 200 free (1:50.13).
Christensen, Kingsbury, Raul Demesa and Routh were third in the 200 free relay (1:35.06), and Christensen, Kingsbury, Routh and Jaron Routh were sixth in the 400 free relay (3:29.87).
Kingsbury was sixth in the 50 free (22.67) and 100 free (50.15), and Nicholas Routh was sixth in the 100 fly (56.19) and 10th in the 200 free (1:54.71). Nicholas Swanson was 10th in the 500 free (5:17.84).
For the girls, Lillian Trimble, Olivia Jordan, Olivia Ward and Rosemary Byas were ninth in the 200 free relay (1:50.88) and 400 free relay (4:04.57), Byas was 10th in the 500 free (5:39.37), Trimble finished 11th in the 200 free (2:05.85) and Jordan was 11th in the 100 backstroke (1:03.42) and 14th in the 100 fly (1:04.43).
At district, the top two placers in each event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each event based on district times statewide.
Boys basketball team prepares for tourney
The boys basketball team will look to secure a winning season when it plays host to Pickerington North on Friday, Feb. 16.
The Greyhounds are 11-10 overall and 3-6 in the OCC-Ohio.
Grove City defeated Westland 95-49 on Feb. 6 and lost to Pickerington Central 72-57 on Feb. 9.
Against Westland, P.J. Jones made five 3-pointers and scored 27 points. Nick Erwin had 14 points and Nolen Hawkins added 12.
The Greyhounds are seeded 15th of 48 teams for the Division I district tournament and will play host to 29th-seeded Mifflin in the first round Feb. 23.
Girls basketball team to open postseason
The 35th-seeded girls basketball team opens the Division I district tournament at seventh-seeded UA on Saturday, Feb. 17, with the winner to play 31st-seeded Westerville North in the second round Feb. 23 at the home of the better seed.
The Greyhounds are 7-15 overall and went 1-9 in the OCC-Ohio to finish sixth behind co-champions Reynoldsburg and Pickerington Central (both 9-1).
Grove City lost to Central 86-41 on Feb. 9 as Yasmine Strausbaugh scored 13 points and Erin Kilmurry added 10.
Molly Michalak scored 15 points, Kilmurry had 14, Lauren Walls had 12 and Alyssa Fuchs added 11 in a 75-26 win over Westland on Feb. 6.
Gymnasts finish fourth in league meet
The gymnastics team finished fourth (109.05) in the OCC-Central meet Feb. 10 at Hilliard Davidson behind UA (131.325), Davidson (129.875) and Marysville (126.65) and ahead of Westland (106.275), Central Crossing (106.1), Dublin Coffman (73.675) and Franklin Heights (48.85).
Macy Mills was ninth of 58 gymnasts in the all-around (31.325). She was sixth on vault (8.125).
Athletes announce college decisions
Five seniors announced their college decisions Feb. 8.
Kayla Barnhart will play women's soccer at Trevecca Nazarene, Nick Erwin will play baseball at Ohio State, Maison Farr will play men's soccer at Ohio Wesleyan, Sierra Reid will play softball at Mercyhurst North East and Evan Whitaker will compete in men's cross country at Wilmington.
@ThisWeekFrankAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Grove City boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- Justin Christensen: 200 free (1:50.13, 19th), 500 free (4:49.84, sixth); Gregory Kingsbury: 50 free (22.67, 25th), 100 free (50.15, 28th); Nicholas Routh: 100 fly (56.19, 23rd); 200 free relay (1:35.06, 15th); 400 free relay (3:29.87, 19th)
GIRLS -- 200 free relay (1:50.88, 22nd); 400 free relay (4:04.57, 25th)