Kuric Buell made a name for himself with the Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestling team this season.

Next season, he will be looking to not only return to the Division I state tournament, but win at least one match. The sophomore went 0-2 at 132 pounds in his first state appearance March 8 at Ohio State to finish the season 25-9.

"There is a lot to deal with when you wrestle on the state championship floor," coach Brett Shaut said. "Many crumble under the pressure, but Kuric handled it well. The outcome was not what he wanted, but being a sophomore, he has two more chances to accomplish his goals.

"He is the youngest state qualifier Kilbourne has had in over two decades. He has a bright future, and valuable experience of wrestling at state will pay dividends in the coming years."

In the first round at state, Buell was pinned in 4 minutes, 42 seconds by Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Gabriel Tagg, the eventual winner who was making his third state appearance. Tagg was runner-up at 106 in 2016 and placed third at 113 last season.

Buell, who lost 9-4 to Caleb Graber of Uniontown Green in his second match, had advanced to state by going 3-2 and finishing fourth in the district tournament held March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.

He scored 12 points at district for Kilbourne, which tied New Albany for 30th behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored.

Buell was the lone district qualifier for the Wolves after going 3-0 to win a title in the 10-team sectional Feb. 24 at Upper Arlington, where the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.

The only other Kilbourne wrestler to win a sectional match was sophomore Jay Thompson, who went 2-2 and placed fifth at 220 to be a district alternate.

Also competing at sectional were junior Kyle Watson (126), sophomores Sean Hoffman (138), Alex Rader (145), Andrew Rice (152) and George Coldiron (160) and freshmen David Straveler (106), Terrique Grey (170) and Jorge Carbajal (195). All went 0-2.

Thompson finished 18-10 and Watson finished 20-13.

The Wolves scored 31 points at sectional to finish 10th, behind champion Dublin Coffman (212).

"We had many wrestlers make great progress," Shaut said. "(One was) Kyle Watson, who never lost a dual match. The other wrestlers made huge progress. We had our young wrestlers, David Straveler and Terrique Grey, win matches against kids that they lost to earlier in the season. Jay Thompson and Alex Rader also made great progress."

In the OCC-Cardinal Division, the Wolves went 1-5 to place sixth behind co-champions Delaware and Hilliard Bradley (both 5-1), Dublin Scioto and Darby (both 4-2) and Dublin Jerome (2-4) and ahead of Thomas (0-6).

Buell and Watson made first-team all-league, and Rader and Thompson were third-team all-league.

Boys basketball team battled all season

The boys basketball team found its groove in mid-January and won seven of its final 10 games.

Seeded 28th, the Wolves opened the 48-team district tournament with a 79-67 loss to eighth-seeded Westerville South in a second-round game March 2 to finish 9-14 overall.

"I am so proud of this team because of the way they hung together and fought the entire season," coach Tom Souder said. "When we were sitting there at 2-11, a lot of other kids and other teams may have folded it up and called it a season and just mentally quit. But our guys just kept showing up to practice and working hard and it eventually paid off.

"That's the kind of kids we have. We didn't have any player that was heads and shoulders above his teammates. We took what defenses gave us and everyone played a role. They all bought it and that's why it's so hard for this season to end. I love those guys in there. They gave me everything and made this such a fun season."

The Wolves finished 6-6 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Jerome for third place, behind Bradley (12-0) and Darby (7-5) and ahead of Delaware (5-7), Scioto (4-8) and Thomas (2-10).

Kilbourne is losing five seniors in Chase Brown (wing player), Brayden Carter (guard), Jake Hackathorne (forward), Jake Hirschy (wing player) and Thomas Wilson (guard).

Hirschy averaged 10.8 points and was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Wilson averaged 5.7 points.

Among the expected returnees are juniors Kyler Archual (forward), Gavin Baker (wing player) and Zach Wilson (guard) and freshmen Cayden Dougherty (point guard) and Ian Schupp (post player).

Wilson averaged 12.6 points and 3.1 assists and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, Baker averaged 10.1 points and 4.1 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league and Dougherty averaged 4.8 points and 3.9 assists.

Hockey coach pleased with team's progress

The hockey team finished 3-16-2 overall playing a junior varsity schedule, but showed progress by going 2-2-1 in its final five games.

The Wolves were seeded 11th in the j.v. Blue Jackets Cup and lost to 10th-seeded Olentangy 4-2 in the first round Feb. 15.

Kilbourne went 1-14-1 (3 points) to finish sixth in the Capital Hockey Conference-J.V. White Division, behind Upper Arlington (24, 10-3-3), Columbus Academy (21, 10-5-1), Cincinnati St. Xavier (14, 5-7-9), Cincinnati Moeller (14, 7-9-0) and Olentangy (9, 3-10-3).

The Wolves are losing six seniors in Alec Bickell (forward), Deane Elliott (forward), Henry Hudson (forward), Palmer Moats (forward), Thomas Nowlin (defenseman) and Dillon Pearon (goaltender).

Also on the roster were juniors Adam Clay (defenseman), Carson Dougherty (forward), Alex Griffin (defenseman/forward) and Joshua Soneberg (defenseman/forward) and freshmen Elijah Alpern (forward), Andrew Bickell (forward), Kieran Cummings (defenseman) and Frank Morrison (forward).

"The team got much better as the season progressed," first-year coach Bryan Cummings said. "The highlight of the season was to see the players start to recognize that effort can overcome skill in many instances. Outworking the other team is what started to get us some success. I am very pleased with the way we ended the season and anticipate that the team will be able to use what they learned and keep the momentum going into next season.

"We are losing some key players, but also looking forward to a good group of experienced incoming players. I expect the team to continue to get better each season and return to varsity status soon."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

At a glance

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Record: 9-14 overall, 6-6 (tied for third) in OCC-Cardinal

*Seniors lost: Chase Brown, Brayden Carter, Jake Hackathorne, Jake Hirschy and Thomas Wilson

*Key returnees: Kyler Archual, Gavin Baker, Cayden Dougherty, Ian Schupp and Zach Wilson

HOCKEY

*Record: 3-16-2 overall, 1-14-1 (sixth) in CHC-J.V. White

*Seniors lost: Alec Bickell, Deane Elliott, Henry Hudson, Palmer Moats, Thomas Nowlin and Dillon Pearon

*Key returnees: Andrew Bickell, Adam Clay, Kieran Cummings, Carson Dougherty, Alex Griffin and Joshua Soneberg

WRESTLING

*Finishes: Fifth in OCC-Cardinal, fifth at sectional, 30th at district

*Seniors lost: Sam Beerman, Oscar Brashear, Michael Duzzny, Sam LaMonda and Brian Turner

*Key returnees: Kuric Buell, Jay Thompson and Kyle Watson