The Big Walnut High School wrestling team has returned 10 letterwinners, including five Division II district qualifiers, for ninth-year coach Luke Moore.

The Big Walnut High School wrestling team has returned 10 letterwinners, including five Division II district qualifiers, for ninth-year coach Luke Moore.

The Golden Eagles open Thursday, Dec. 10, at home with a quad-meet against Hamilton Township, North Union and Whetstone before playing host to the Big Walnut Classic on Saturday, Dec. 12.

"Experience is huge in dealing with the grind of wrestling season, and it is always good for the young guys to lean on the veterans," Moore said. "We will definitely be leaning on our three seniors for their leadership and experience."

The Golden Eagles lost two district qualifiers in 2015 graduate Jack Schnurr (145 pounds) and Wes Landrum (132), who did not return for his senior season. Landrum was the team's top finisher at district last year, going 2-2, and finished the season 21-8.

The returning district qualifiers are seniors Anthony Pisano (152, 26-16) and Tyler Hogg (220, 16-19), juniors Nate Helsley (113, 23-17) and Josh Parker (126, 8-23) and sophomore Bailey Munday (106, 29-12).

Pisano, Hogg and Munday each went 1-2 at district, and Helsley and Parker (126, 8-23) both went 0-2.

Also back are senior Drew Cochran (152), juniors Carson Dearth (170), Matt Halbakken (138) and Phillip Roberto (170) and sophomore Cole Foster (132). Cochran missed all of last season due to injury.

"A lot of guys really put in a lot of work in the offseason by going to open mats and lifting, but Drew Cochran stands out," Moore said. "He dedicated himself in the offseason to have a great senior year."

Also on the team are juniors Kyle Humphries (152) and Josh Kem (138) and freshmen Trevor Abrose (106), Dawson Brehm (106), Nathan Hadden (195), Josh Halbakken (132), Toby Hogg (120) and Levi Piceno (113).

Dimitroff returns for gymnastics team

The gymnastics team has returned its lone state qualifier from last season in sophomore Mary Dimitroff.

Dimitroff scored an 8.1 on uneven bars to place 33rd of 36 competitors at state. She had placed third (9.025) at district, where the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to state.

She also led the Golden Eagles at district on vault (15th, 8.75), balance beam (31st, 8.3) and the all-around (13th, 34.55) and had the team's second-best score on floor exercise (tied for 35th, 8.475).

Dimitroff also led Big Walnut in the OCC-Capital Division meet, winning titles in the all-around (36.025) and on beam (9.125) and placing second on bars (8.65), third on vault (9.1) and fourth on floor (9.15).

The Golden Eagles finished third (26 points, 6-1) in the overall league standings, behind Hilliard Bradley (32, 7-0) and Dublin Jerome (28, 5-2), and placed eighth (129.85) at district behind champion Dublin Coffman (141.6) as 24 teams scored.

"Mary trained over the summer at her old club gym, so she has been working on some new skills and perfecting old ones," said Victoria Lawyer, a third-year assistant under coach Misty Lloyd-Matthews. "She is definitely one of the leaders of the team and will help out some of the other girls who need help learning new skills."

Big Walnut, which opens Dec. 19 with league duals against Central Crossing, Franklin Heights and Olentangy Orange, had no seniors last season, but seven gymnasts did not return for various reasons, Lawyer said.

Among the losses was Grace DiTomassi, who led the Golden Eagles on floor at district (tied for 24th, 8.6) last year as a junior.

"We lost some of our top competitors on each event, so that is a bit disappointing," Lawyer said.

"We still need to work on assessing what each gymnast can do on each event and do full routines so we can pick who will compete in each event come Dec. 19."

In addition to Dimitroff, seniors Carlee Ambrose, Katelyn Conner, Andrea Robinson and Kristina Saraceno and juniors Mariah Chattos and Taylor Grieser have returned.

Also on the team are sophomore Sofia Serrano-Kirk and freshmen Sarah Barta and Kayla Hildebrand.

Boys basketball team off to slow start

The boys basketball team was 0-2 before opening OCC-Capital play Dec. 4 against Olentangy.

Big Walnut opened Nov. 28 with a 56-40 loss to Buckeye Valley and lost to Marion Harding 57-39 on Dec. 1. According to first-year coach Brett Bartlett, the Golden Eagles struggled with turn-overs and shooting in the first two contests.

"We need to try and get better offensively and value the basketball," Bartlett said. "We have capable shooters when we are shooting the ball within the flow of the offense."

Bartlett expected his team to receive an offensive boost from the impending return of forwards Alex Kelso and Kaleb Phillips, both of whom missed the first two games due to injury. Kelso, a 6-foot-3 junior, is a transfer from Zanesville.

Guard Hayden Bowmar scored 14 points against Buckeye Valley and nine against Marion Harding.