Bailey Munday of the Big Walnut High School wrestling team knew what to expect when he faced his opponent in the 132-pound championship match of the Division I district tournament held March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.
The senior had lost to Olentangy Liberty's Blake Saito 9-3 in a sectional championship match on Feb. 24 at Newark.
But Munday had something else on his mind. He entered the rematch with Saito with a knee injury suffered in a 9-6 victory over Worthington Kilbourne's Kuric Buell in a semifinal match, and was pinned by Saito in 1 minute, 37 seconds.
"My knee was hurt pretty bad, and I think it was more of a mental thing because of that, just knowing I wasn't 100 percent," said Munday, who qualified for the state tournament held March 8-10 at Ohio State. "I just think there was a mental lapse."
A two-time state qualifier, Munday went 3-1 at district and was 39-3 entering state. He was joined at state by senior Cole Foster, who went 4-2 and placed fourth at district at 138. A first-time state qualifier, Foster was 41-8 entering state.
"We've been there making each other better all four years, and last year I got there, and he was my drill partner that entire week," Munday said of Foster.
Foster's path to state was grueling. After losing in the second round, he needed three consecutive victories to secure a state berth.
He defeated St. Charles' Ian Noonan 6-5, Lancaster's Derrick Mitchell 6-2 and Hilliard Bradley's Zander Ellison 5-2 before forfeiting the third-place match to Central Crossing's Devin Wood, who had defeated Foster 5-4 in the second round.
"It's tough to do what (Foster) did," coach Luke Moore said. "It was a very nerve-racking day. And all three of those matches were tough. In his first match Saturday, he had to get a takedown with about five seconds left to win the match."
Four other Golden Eagles competed at district, where the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
Senior Tanner Daniels (heavyweight, 25-15), junior Josh Halbakken (160, 28-13) and sophomore Max Lenz (220, 29-13) each went 1-2, and sophomore Christian Jodrey (14-24, 113) went 0-2.
"It was a great experience for those guys to get there and be part of it," Moore said. "I think now they know they can compete with some of the good guys."
Big Walnut scored 37.5 points at district to finish 18th behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored.
Dimitroff competes at state on beam
Mary Dimitroff of the gymnastics team went up against Ohio's best competition for the fourth consecutive season, but injuries were her top opponent in the individual state meet March 3 at Hilliard Bradley.
The senior competed on balance beam, tying Medina's Meghan Deighton for 14th (9.05) of 36 competitors. North Canton Hoover's Madeline Berrey won the title (9.475).
"I've had multiple (injuries) this season, including my wrist and ankle and suffered a concussion toward the end," Dimitroff said. "It's been a little rough."
Dimitroff, who was Big Walnut's only state qualifier, closed her prep career with two OCC all-around titles, which she won her freshman and junior seasons. This year, she finished second in the all-around (35.15) in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Feb. 10, behind Westerville Central's Gianna Brooks (35.5).
Two other Golden Eagles finished in the top 10 in the all-around at the league meet, with junior Kayla Hildebrand placing sixth (30.95) and freshman Kayla Farley placing 10th (27.65).
Big Walnut finished fourth (118.75) in the league meet, behind Olentangy (140.5), Liberty (128.15) and Olentangy Orange (124.75) and ahead of Central (118.325). In the overall league standings, the Golden Eagles went 0-4 and scored six points to tie Central (6, 1-3) for fourth, behind Olentangy (20, 4-0), Orange (14, 3-1) and Liberty (14, 2-2).
In the district meet Feb. 24, Big Walnut finished 20th (114.1) of 24 teams, behind champion Thornville Sheridan (145.42).
Dimitroff placed sixth on beam (9.075), as the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to state. She finished 14th on uneven bars (8.4), 20th on vault (8.45), tied for 80th (7.925) on floor exercise and 15th in the all-around (33.85).
Hildebrand had the Golden Eagles' second-best score on bars (tied for 52nd, 7.55), vault (tied for 99th, 7.65), beam (tied for 102nd, 7.15) and all-around (62nd, 29.925), while Farley was their second-highest finisher on floor (93rd, 7.625).
Sophomore Ekaterina Brammer also is expected to return next season.
Bowlers end season at district tourney
The boys and girls bowling teams concluded their seasons in the Division I district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes.
The boys finished 12th (3,306) of 16 teams, as Westerville Central (3,907), Marion Harding (3,645) and Whitehall (3,580) advanced to the state tournament March 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The girls also finished 12th (2,787) of 16 teams, as Gahanna (3,596), Whitehall (3,438) and Central (3,360) qualified for state March 10.
Senior Henry LeMaster led the boys, rolling a 557 three-game series to finish 19th of 105 competitors. He was followed by junior Jacob Bowens (36th, 503), senior Chris Fetter (53rd, 472), senior Matt Priestas (59th, 451), junior Johnny LeMaster (82nd, 289) and sophomore Bryan Mengel (105th, 104).
Liberty's Daniel Valz (596) earned the third and final individual state-qualifying berth.
Junior Caitlyn Lambert led the girls, tying for 20th of 102 competitors with a 485. She was followed by junior Anna Tanner (tied for 40th, 434), junior Kaitlyn Morrison (tied for 52nd, 414), junior Autumn Leidtke (69th, 378) and junior Ale Hernandez (81st, 304).
Delaware's Kelsey Rohrer (550) was the third and final individual state qualifier.
The girls team finished the regular season 10-6 overall, went 6-6 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division to tie Orange and Westerville North for sixth behind champion Gahanna (12-0) and went 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Orange and North for fourth behind champion Olentangy (7-0).
The boys team finished 10-5 overall, went 7-5 in the COHSBC-A to tie Olentangy for sixth behind champion Central (12-0) and went 4-3 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Liberty, Olentangy, Orange and Westerville South for second behind champion Central (7-0).
@ThisWeekSportsAt a glance
*Records: Boys -- 10-5 overall, 7-5 (tied for sixth) in COHSBC-A, 4-3 (tied for second) in OCC-Buckeye; Girls -- 10-6 overall, 6-6 (tied for sixth) in COHSBC-A, 3-4 (tied for fourth) in OCC-Buckeye
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Chris Fetter, Henry LeMaster and Matt Priestas; Girls -- none
*Key returnees: Boys -- Jacob Bowens, Johnny LeMaster and Bryan Mengel; Girls -- Ale Hernandez,
Caitlyn Lambert, Autumn Leidtke, Kaitlyn Morrison and Anna Tanner
*Finishes: Fourth in OCC-Buckeye, 20th at district
*Senior lost: Mary Dimitroff
*Key returnees: Ekaterina Brammer, Kayla Farley and Kayla Hildebrand