With one year left in his prep career, New Albany High School wrestler Jack Wilson now has a clearer picture of what it will take to get to the next level.
Wilson went 3-3 and finished sixth at 195 pounds in the Division I district tournament that concluded March 3 at Hilliard Darby. He was pinned by Marysville's Logan Painter in 2 minutes, 32 seconds in the fifth-place match, but even before that loss was proud of having become the Eagles' first district placer since Matt Odierno in 2011.
"I had expectations coming in, but I wouldn't say that my expectations were to be that close to qualifying for state," Wilson said. "I got into a good draw and I just won a couple grinding matches (March 3) and felt pretty good about what I was doing. I got good points and rode the matches out. I was able to control some matches physically."
After splitting his first two matches, Wilson won two in a row in the consolation bracket but lost to Newark's Levi McKee 5-1 in a state-qualifying match.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state Thursday, March 8, through Saturday, March 10, at Ohio State.
Odierno was district runner-up at 215 as a senior to become New Albany's first Division I state qualifier.
A fifth-place finish would have made Wilson a state alternate.
"That would (have been) awesome," Wilson said before his fifth-place match. "I hadn't considered the possibility before this. Going to state would be an awesome opportunity and being the first district placer from New Albany since 2011 is a cool experience with the guys this program has produced. It's a big honor."
Also competing but failing to advance were Peter Ackley (170, 1-2), Daniel Rodriguez (182, 1-2), Billy Lee (220, 0-2), David Rodriguez (heavyweight, 0-2), Colin Swincicki (113, 0-2) and Michael Zusman (138, 0-2).
New Albany scored 12 points and tied Worthington Kilbourne for 30th behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored.
"It all went well. We got some wins and some other guys got experience," coach Larry Reichard said. "I wish we could have done better in the upper weights. ... A few of them did what we expected, and (with) a few like Jack, we weren't sure what to expect and he ended up having a great weekend.
"This year, he really thought about strategy in the match and being more tactical (such as) playing the out-of-bounds line, playing the middle and taking fake shots and being aware of the match and situation to make himself do well. He isn't really an offensive guy but when he needs to take some good shots, he has found a way to make it work for him."
Bowling season ends at district
Despite top-nine finishes from Kenneth Kresina and Adriane Hammond, the bowling teams' seasons came to an end March 3 in Division I district tournaments at HP Lanes.
Kresina finished seventh (581) to lead the boys to a score of 3,147 and 15th of 16 teams behind champion Westerville Central (3,907). Also scoring were Grant Kresina (tied for 48th, 478), Brendan Cohen (62nd, 436), Thomas Carey (65th, 418) and Damon Jolly (69th, 407).
Hammond competed as an individual and finished ninth (510) of 102 girls bowlers.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
Boys basketball team falls to Warriors
Despite being a heavy underdog on paper, the boys basketball team trailed host and fourth-seeded Westerville North by only four points in the third quarter before losing 65-51 in the second round of the Division I district tournament March 2.
Jake Warinner's 19 points led the 39th-seeded Eagles, who finished 7-16. Brennan Wood added 10 points.
Julius Brown had 29 points, Julian Malone 12 and Jeremiah Keene 11 for North.
New Albany was down just 45-41 in the third but was outscored 20-10 the rest of the way.
"Defensively, I loved our game plan. They just have some really good pieces," coach Sam Davis said. "Keene and Brown are tremendous outside shooters. They answered even when we challenged ... but I think two things happened. We played six kids a lot and I think we got tired, and Keene and Brown in the fourth quarter really took the game over. They're just that good. I don't fault our kids."
Hockey team to revamp for next year
The hockey team not only will graduate its top two scorers and starting goaltender from this season, in which it went 13-20 overall and 6-10 with 12 points in the Capital Hockey Conference, but it also is looking for a new coach.
Senior forward Tyler Riddle scored a team-high 40 goals and senior forward Alex Arenschield added 15, giving the team almost half of its 116 total goals. Riddle also had 19 assists for a team-best 59 points, and Arenschield recorded a team-high 29 assists to finish with 44 points.
Junior forward Jordan Campbell had 14 goals and 12 assists, and sophomore forward Brandon Barash added 11 goals and 15 assists.
Senior goalie Alex Mattevi stopped 690 of 780 shots for an .885 save percentage and 3.00 goals-against average.
Riddle was named second-team all-CHC, first-team all-CHC-Red Division and honorable mention all-state and has been selected to play in the Senior All-Star Game on Saturday, March 10, at Nationwide Arena.
New Albany finished last in the five-team CHC-Red behind Dublin Jerome (30, 15-1), Olentangy Liberty (27, 13-2-1), St. Charles (24, 11-3-1-1) and Upper Arlington (20, 9-5-0-2). Because of their fifth-place finish, the Eagles will drop back to the CHC-White next season.
Seeded ninth for the 24-team district tournament, New Albany lost to sixth-seeded Olentangy 4-1 in a second-round game Feb. 18 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
"The Red Division was an outstanding learning experience for our program," said coach Joe Kola, who announced his resignation March 1 after leading the team since its inception in 2013. "While most Red Division teams are senior-heavy, we were sophomore-heavy; thus, a common matchup for us was sophomores against seniors. While that didn't lead to victories on the scoreboard this year, it was a great learning experience for our underclassmen, which we know will drive the program's success."
Kola was 81-49-5-3 with the Eagles and stepped down because of time conflicts with his full-time job as a contracts director at Mission Essential, a defense contractor. He said he plans to help athletics director Richie Wildenhaus in the search for a new coach.
Other expected returnees include junior goalie Tucker King (83 saves, 11 goals allowed) and sophomore forwards Jackson Buss and Matthew Moellering.
Key swimmers, divers expected back
Eight of the 11 boys and girls swimmers and divers who competed in the Division I state meet are expected to return, including two-time state runner-up diver Noah Duperre and three-quarters of the girls 200-yard freestyle relay that finished fifth Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Duperre, a sophomore, finished second (579.05) to Shaker Heights' Lyle Yost (602.4) for the second consecutive year. Freshman diver Jordan Rzepka had to sit out the state meet because of a fractured right thumb.
That was a change from recent years, as at least one Eagles girls diver had made state every year from 2013-17 and Nikki Watters won the state title in 2016.
"We lost all the girls, so many girls, but I like where we are now," said assistant coach John Coffman, who works with New Albany's divers. "We knew Noah would be back and I knew Jordan was good because I'd seen some of his dives before. I figured he'd be somewhere in the top 10 at state (before the year) and I think he would have been there (Feb. 24). Next year on the podium, that's what we'll look for."
The 200 free relay, which swam 1:35.34 in the final, consisted of senior Lauren Sadler, juniors McKayla Moffat and Kelly Shur and sophomore Mia Lachey. Moffat, Lachey, sophomore Lexi Elkovitch and freshman Stacy Saribalas comprised the seventh-place 400 free relay (3:30.26).
Lachey finished 10th in both the 100 free (52.26) and 200 free (1:52.87).
Also qualifying in two events was junior Pearson Spychalski of the boys team. He was 10th in the 200 free (1:42.13) and 12th in the 100 free (47.0).
The girls scored 84 points and tied Liberty for 10th behind first-time champion Mason (236) as 55 teams scored. The boys were 24th (29) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (413) as 51 teams scored.
New Albany swept the OCC-Capital meet Jan. 27 at home, as the boys scored 458.5 points to finish ahead of Big Walnut (278.5), Canal Winchester (206), Groveport (74) and Newark (55) and the girls had 459 points to finish ahead of Canal Winchester (295), Big Walnut (139), Newark (126) and Groveport (116).
The Eagles also swept a sectional Feb. 10 at Thomas Worthington. The boys won with 300 points, ahead of runner-up Delaware (243) as 12 teams scored, and the girls had 401 points, ahead of the host and runner-up Cardinals (173) as 15 teams scored.
At district Feb. 17 at Ohio University, the girls fell just short of unseating 19-time defending champion UA, scoring 267 points to place second to the Golden Bears (274) as 30 teams scored.
The boys finished seventh (137.5) behind champion Jerome (303) as 29 teams scored.
Other expected returnees for the boys include sophomore Jimmy Lapsley and freshman Tommy Morris. Also expected back for the girls team is sophomore Lexi Elkovitch, who finished 24th at state in both the 50 free (24.78) and 100 free (54.08).
@ThisWeekDaveAt a glance
*Record: 13-20 overall, 6-10 (fifth) in CHC-Red
*Seniors lost: Alex Arenschield, Alex Mattevi, Tyler Riddle, Austin Trudeau and Mario Vinciguerra
*Key returnees: Brandon Barash, Jackson Buss, Jordan Campbell, Matthew Moellering and Tucker King
SWIMMING & DIVING
*Finishes: Boys -- First in OCC-Capital, first at sectional, seventh at district, 24th at state; Girls -- First in OCC-Capital, first at sectional, second at district, tied for 10th at state
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Hunter Conn, Gage Ford, Jack Garner and Brennan Walsh; Girls -- Claire Gordon, Julia Grandinetti, Isabel Jenny, Midori Kisanuki, Lauren Lapsley, Lauren Sadler, Jane Taylor and Emili Toppari
*Key returnees: Boys -- Noah Duperre, Jimmy Lapsley, Tommy Morris, Jordan Rzepka and Pearson Spychalski; Girls -- Lexi Elkovitch, Mia Lachey, McKayla Moffat, Stacy Saribalas and Kelly Shur