There will be 12 high school wrestlers competing Saturday in the Delaware Hayes Invitational who competed in the Division I state tournament last season.

There will be 12 high school wrestlers competing Saturday in the Delaware Hayes Invitational who competed in the Division I state tournament last season.

The sixth-annual event again will display a strong field, including the top-ranked team in the state poll and two defending state champions.

"Last year we had a preview of a state championship match for the second time in five years," tournament director Tony Rieman said. "This is always one of the top single-day tournaments in Ohio, in terms of competition. There are so many kids who have used this event as a springboard into the postseason."

Joining the Pacers in the 12-team field are Bloom-Carroll, Cincinnati Elder, Goshen, Hilliard Davidson, Marion Harding, Massillon Perry, New Albany, Olentangy, Painesville Riverside, Springfield Kenton Ridge and Westerville North.

Perry, the top-ranked team in the state, returns five state qualifiers, four of whom placed. Seth Horner won the state title at 130 pounds a year ago, beating Brad Squire of Wadsworth. In the Delaware Invitational, Squire defeated Horner by injury default after the two banged heads.

According to Rieman, the other state champion on display will be Orlando Scales of Elder, which is ninth in the state poll. Scales won at 215.

Of the central Ohio teams in the field, Davidson is third in the area coaches poll in Division I and Olentangy is fifth. New Albany is ninth in Division II.

Others in the field who placed at state last season are Davidson's J.T. Rice (second at 160), North's Josh Demas (third at 145) and Harding's Callen Vanderhoff (eighth at 125). Rice is back at 160, Demas has moved to 152 and Vanderhoff is at 130.

"Massillon Perry is obviously in the driver's seat. They're an extremely strong team," coach Josh Heffernan said. "We try to pull a lot of competition from outside central Ohio to give the local kids and fans a chance to see some of the best wrestlers in the state. We're able to get some big teams here because the kids get five matches in one grueling day. It really challenges them. It's an intense day."

Last season the Pacers had some success, as Greg Flaglor (119) was second, losing to Perry's Mike Hillock 13-4 in the final. Hillock is returning at 125. Also, graduate Nate Hauff was third at 145, Michael Austin (125) and Christion Brooks (171) were seventh and Nik Oesterle (152) was eighth.

"It's a real difficult tournament and every match is tough," said Flaglor, who improved to 23-4 with a pair of wins Jan. 25 in the Bobcat Duals at Ohio University. "It does get you ready for the postseason though. It's sort of like a steppingstone."

Austin is 21-9 entering the event. Brooks, competing at 189, is 22-12. Others having strong seasons are Mark Rieman (29-3 at 140), Brent Spivey (21-11 at 135), Joe Sumner (21-11 at 160) and Seth McCurdy (17-15 at 103). Evan Welsh, who rejoined the team over the holiday break, is 9-3 at 215.

•The boys and girls bowling teams finished the regular season last Thursday and began preparing for the Mid-Ohio Conference tournament Feb. 8 at Delaware Lanes.

The boys team was 7-4 before last Thursday, playing all league matches. They were fourth in the league standings as Buckeye Valley and Marion Harding were 10-2 and tied at the top before last Tuesday.

Last season the Pacers went 17-1 to win the regular-season league title and finished second behind Marion Pleasant in the league tournament.

Before last Wednesday, the boys team was led in scoring average by Josh Jones (186.7) and Josh Hauersperger (177.5). They were followed by Tyler Compton (169.9), Jay Johnson (163.6), Kyle Hovatter (155.9) and Tom Smith (133.8).

The girls team was 8-3 in the regular season and finished third as Buckeye Valley (9-1) and Marion Harding (9-2) were battling for the top spot before last Thursday.

Last season the Pacers went 11-3 in the league to share the regular-season title with Harding. In the tournament, Delaware tied for third with Harding behind Buckeye Valley and Pleasant.

Before last Thursday, Erica Kevern (172.5), Christa Baldwin (151.8) and Mary McNeal (151.5) led the way. They were followed by Jen Crozier (147.1), Ashleigh Keller (144.7) and Mo Flahive (119.7).

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys and girls bowling, gymnastics, boys and girls swimming and wrestling teams:


*Jan. 22 -- Boys: Defeated Olentangy 2,353-2,096 at Delaware Lanes. Josh Jones had a 499 (256-243) and Tyler Compton had a 404 (201-203) as the Pacers rolled six 200 games out of a possible 10. Kyle Hovatter (224) and Josh Hauersperger (204) added to that total; Girls: Def. Olentangy 1,934-1,726. Erica Kevern had a 393 (182-211).

*Last Thursday -- Played Big Walnut at Delaware Lanes in regular-season finale

*Feb. 8 -- At MOC tournament at Delaware Lanes

Of note: The boys team was 7-4 and the girls team was 8-3 before last Thursday.

*Mid-Ohio Conference match


Last Saturday -- Finished ninth (117.075) of 11 teams behind champion Mentor (136.175) in Worthington Kilbourne Invitational

Last Friday -- Competed against DeSales, Buckeye Valley and Heath


Jan. 23 -- Boys: Finished second (116) behind Whetstone (122) and ahead of Galion (67). Will Wright won the 200 free (2:05.67) and 500 free (5:43.15); Girls: Finished first (137) ahead of Whetstone (94) and Galion (72). Jessica Ward won the 200 free (2:07.23) and 100 free (57.88).

*Last Saturday -- Competed in OCC-Capital meet at New Albany

Feb. 14 -- At Division I sectional at Thomas Worthington


Jan. 25 -- Lost to Circleville 34-29; def. Nelsonville-York 43-21 in Bobcat Duals at Ohio University

*Last Saturday -- Competed in OCC-Capital tournament at Big Walnut

Saturday -- Home Delaware Invitational

Of note: The Division I sectionals will be Feb. 21 at Watkins Memorial, Westland and Pickerington North. The team seeding and draw is today. Individual seeding will be determined Feb. 18.

*OCC-Capital contest