For the third time in four years, the Upper Arlington High School wrestling team is taking the majority of its lineup to the Division I district tournament.

The next step for the Golden Bears is to return to the state tournament for the first time in five years.

Nine UA wrestlers will compete at district Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at Hilliard Darby, hoping to become the program's first state qualifiers since Vito DiBene-detto and Blake Reid in 2013.

In the Bears' home 10-team sectional Feb. 24, Jesse Bowers (120 pounds), Mitch Herren (113) and Mark Trifelos (152) won their weight classes to lead UA to 205 points and second place behind champion Dublin Coffman (212).

Bowers and Trifelos both went 3-0 and Herren was 2-0.

The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district. UA had 12 district qualifiers last year, seven in 2016 and 10 in 2015.

Other district qualifiers are Joey Orlando (132, second, 2-1), Daniel Beam (106, third, 3-1), Holden Freeman (182, third, 4-1), Jacob Shanklin (126, third, 3-1), Miles Pearson (138, fourth, 2-2) and David Soghomonyan (170, fourth, 3-2).

Also competing but failing to advance were Ian McCormick (160, fifth, 3-2), Mason McHugh (145, fifth, 3-2), David Adams (195, sixth, 1-3), Jack Stephens (heavyweight, sixth, 1-3) and Rafe Lynd (220, 0-2).

At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to state March 8-10 at Ohio State.

Boys basketball team to face Braves

The boys basketball team will seek its 12th consecutive win when it plays host to 47th-seeded Whetstone on Friday, March 2, in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Second-seeded UA improved to 21-1 with a 70-19 rout of 45th-seeded Franklin Heights in a first-round home game Feb. 23. Dane Goodwin had game-highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds and Max Martz added 15 points as the Bears scored 19 points in the first quarter alone and never looked back.

The UA-Whetstone winner plays 14th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 23rd-seeded Northland in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 7, at a neutral site to be determined. That winner advances to a district final March 10 at Ohio Dominican.

Girls basketball team advances to semifinal

The girls basketball team took on sixth-seeded Northland in a Division I district semifinal Feb. 28, hoping to earn a chance to play for its third district championship in five years.

Seventh-seeded UA was 19-5 after defeating 31st-seeded Westerville North 54-34 in a second-round home game Feb. 22. Macy Spielman had a game-high 17 points, Kileigh Casey scored 11 and Erisa Pippins scored 10.

The UA-Northland winner plays top-seeded Newark or 13th-seeded Watterson in a district final Saturday, March 3, at Ohio Dominican. The district champion faces Canal Winchester, Coffman, Lancaster or Westerville South in a regional semifinal Tuesday, March 6, at Otterbein. The regional final is March 9 at Otterbein.

The Bears defeated Watterson 47-45 on Nov. 24, lost to Newark 51-29 on Nov. 29, lost to South 73-51 on Feb. 6 and dropped two OCC-Central Division games against Coffman, losing 83-62 on Dec. 5 and 65-38 on Jan. 16.

Hockey team falls to Celtics

The hockey team gave up five goals in the first five minutes of the second period Feb. 25 and lost to top-seeded Dublin Jerome 8-0 in a district semifinal at OhioHealth Ice Haus.

UA, which was seeded fifth, finished 16-15-1-2.

The Bears were coming off a 1-0 win over third-seeded St. Charles in a district quarterfinal Feb. 24 at the Ice Haus. Max Hamlin scored in the first period and goaltender Cam Keller made 26 saves.

Gymnastics coach looks to future

Gymnastics coach Melanie Palsgrove hopes this year's accomplishments provide a solid foundation for future years, even though the Bears fell short of the team and individual state meets.

UA finished eighth (133.5) in the district meet Feb. 24 at Worthington Kilbourne, behind champion Thornville Sheridan (145.425) as 26 teams scored. The Bears' top finishes came from sophomore Addy Pittenger, who tied for 11th on uneven bars (8.45), and senior Megan Crouse, who tied for 15th on floor exercise (8.825) and placed 22nd on vault (8.35).

In the all-around, senior Zoe Rigsby finished 23rd (33.2) and freshman Mia Tzagournis was 26th (32.8).

The top three teams advanced to the state team meet Friday, March 2, at Hilliard Bradley, while the top eight individuals in each event and the all-around advanced to the state individual meet Saturday, March 3, at Bradley.

"We started rough with a couple falls on vault and bars, and normally those are the two events we've really hit," Palsgrove said. "But we ended up strong, and we had a great year. We hadn't won our (division of the) OCC in 14 years and we did that. I am very, very proud of this group. At the end of the day, watch out for us next year."

UA went 7-0 with 32 points in the OCC-Central to finish ahead of Hilliard Davidson (28, 6-1), Marysville (24, 5-2), Grove City (18, 3-4), Westland (16, 3-4), Central Crossing (14, 3-4), Coffman (8, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (4, 0-7).

In the league meet Feb. 10 at Davidson, the Bears scored 131.325 points to finish first, ahead of Davidson (129.875), Marysville (126.65), Grove City (109.05), Westland (106.275), Central Crossing (106.1), Coffman (73.675) and Franklin Heights (49.85).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

At a glance

GYMNASTICS

*Finishes: First in OCC-Central, eighth at district

*Seniors lost: Megan Crouse, Rachael Feinberg, Julia Hayes, Erin Karap and Zoe Rigsby

*Key returnees: Addy Pittenger and Mia Tzagournis