The holidays often bring families together.

The holidays often bring families together.

That's what Delaware Hayes High School wrestling coach Josh Heffernan loves about them.

"This is one of the best times of the year because our current wrestling family comes together to practice and compete and because many members of our extended wrestling family -- former wrestlers, alumni -- come back to visit, talk and even practice with us," Heffernan said. "It's really fun to hear from the guys who came through this program. They practice or help teach some of the younger guys in the room. We also have a lot of fun traditions that we share over the holidays."

As for the competition, Delaware will compete in the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Wright State University.

"We love that tournament because the Nutter Center kind of mimics the Schottenstein Center so the guys get a feel for what it's like to be in a large arena like they would at state," Heffernan said. "They really do it right. It is so well-organized and we see top-level competition. With nine first-year guys, including at least six in the lineup in each event we've had this year, it's a terrific way for them to cut their teeth on a big stage."

Heffernan wants his program to have a family atmosphere all year, not just over the holidays.

"We believe in a family approach and when the boys are putting in that much time and effort, their parents and families really buy into the system as well," Heffernan said. "I can honestly say that our parents and boosters are involved greatly and volunteer to work our six home tournaments.

"It's a big time commitment for them, too, not just their sons. There is no limit to the family value of the kids who come up through our system. We also have some great volunteer coaches in Larry Lucas and John Spangler who are helping (junior varsity) coach Isiah Webber, varsity assistants Josh Lamb and Kevin Rieman and myself."

Senior Max Wright said the team's bonds don't break easily.

"Last week, I got to see a number of guys who were wrestling here when I was a freshman," he said. "They've been gone for what seems like forever, but as soon as you see them, the conversations start. I enjoyed talking to them and seeing what they think about college wrestling or even college life. Some of them aren't wrestling any longer, but it doesn't matter. We still have a connection that was originally built on wrestling and it was fun to catch up with them. I'd say this is a unique thing."

Wright, who had been limited to two matches through three events because of an injury, plans to attend a U.S. military academy after graduation and has received his congressional appointment certificates from Pat Tiberi to the Naval Academy and Merchant Marine Academy. He also is waiting for a similar certificate to the Air Force Academy.

Delaware lost to Hilliard Davidson 46-36 in the fifth-place match of the eight-team Delaware Duals on Dec. 17. The Pacers beat Big Walnut 39-30 and also lost to Amanda-Clearcreek 42-31 and Springboro 42-33.

Senior Carter Davidson had five pins at 182 pounds in the event to improve to 9-1 on the season. Senior Zach Williams (126/132) was 8-2.

"We're making huge strides quickly," said Heffernan, whose team beat Dublin Jerome 54-20 on Dec. 20 in its OCC-Cardinal Division opener and competed against Dublin Scioto in a league dual Dec. 22. "Carter and Zach are tearing it up and Max should be ready to go soon. We've got a great core group in middleweights who will be there for four years in Emmett Cain (138), Mason Sutander (145) and Corbin May (152), and we've got eager hard workers in freshmen Tristan Burton and Bystin Coldiron, who will fill spots at 106 and 113."

Entering the match against Scioto, Cain was 7-2 and Burton was 7-3.

Yoakum leads boys team past Cardinals

Will Yoakum carried the boys basketball team to a 47-44 overtime win over visiting Thomas Worthington on Dec. 20.

Yoakum scored 20 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Pacers used an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Terin Kinsway added 12 points for Delaware, which improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal with the win.

The Pacers, who return to league play Jan. 3 at home against Worthington Kilbourne, got 11 points from Yoakum and 10 from Kinsway in a 40-39 league loss to Scioto on Dec. 16. They beat host Hilliard Darby 48-34 in a league game Dec. 9, getting 14 points from Kameron Beekman, 13 from Yoakum and 12 from Kinsway.

Glesenkamp, Puthoff lead girls swimmers

Brooke Glesenkamp, Kristen Puthoff and Dani Ward highlighted the girls swimming and diving team's performance in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 17 at Ohio State.

Glesenkamp finished third in both the 50-yard freestyle (23.92 seconds) and 100 free (52.88), Puthoff was sixth in the 200 free (1:57.75) and seventh in the 500 free (5:18) and Ward placed ninth in the 100 butterfly (59.72) and 13th in the 100 backstroke (1:01.73).

Puthoff and Glesenkamp also swam on the fourth-place 200 free relay (1:40.2) with Lauren Ertz and Marisa Sulek and on the seventh-place 400 free relay (3:43.16) with Ward and Val Keller.

Ward teamed with Sulek, Molly Schul and Ertz on the 19th-place 200 medley relay (1:57.17), as the Pacers totaled 169 points to finish seventh behind champion Upper Arlington (330) as 35 teams scored.

The boys team finished 16th (68) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (642) as 36 teams scored.

Craig Klump had the boys team's best individual finish, placing ninth in the 100 breast (1:02.31). Remy Curtin was 17th in the 50 free (22.75) and 20th in the 100 free (50.48), and Kael Gannon was 18th in the 50 free (22.83).

The 200 free relay of Andrew Parker, Noah Planisek, Gannon and Curtin placed eighth (1:31.6), the 200 medley relay of Adryan Rojas, Klumpp, Gannon and Parker finished 14th (1:42.75) and the 400 free relay of Rojas, Planisek, Klumpp and Curtin was 20th (3:33.63).

The Pacers will play host to the Delaware Invitational on Jan 6 and 7.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek