Maybe Brendan Fitzgerald has history on his side.
Maybe Brendan Fitzgerald has history on his side.
Last weekend, the junior 138-pounder became the first district champion for the Grandview Heights High School wrestling team since 2006. That season, Chad Davis won a district title and went on to win a Division III state championship at 215.
Fitzgerald made a statement heading into his third appearance in the state tournament, which will be held Thursday, March 12, through Saturday, March 14, at Ohio State. In the Division III district tournament March 6 and 7 at Coshocton, he won his title with four pins.
"Brendan pinned his way through both sectional and district and is our first district champion in nine years," coach Sam Mehling said. "The last one, Chad Davis, went on to win a state title, so maybe Brendan can follow suit. We're excited and believe Brendan can do something special."
Fitzgerald opened district by pinning Marion Pleasant's Noah Alexander in 1 minute, 3 seconds and then pinned Hannibal River's Josh Stewart in 1:53 in the second round. In a semifinal, he went to the second period before pinning Nelsonville-York's Colt Yinger in 2:20. He then had a first-round pin (1:26) in the final against Chillicothe Zane Trace's Avery Brown.
At sectional Feb. 27 and 28 at Cardington, he won the championship with three consecutive first-period pins after a first-round bye.
Fitzgerald said he has some unfinished business at state.
"I didn't get to the podium (top eight finishers) in the last two years and I definitely want to do that," said Fitzgerald, who went 1-2 at state at 120 both as a freshman and sophomore. "I believe I'll be less nervous this year, and I'm stronger and in better shape. Being stronger helps me hit my moves better and gives me better endurance."
Last season, Fitzgerald was the Bobcats' lone competitor at state.
He takes a 36-3 overall record into his state opener against Springfield Catholic Central's Jake Gutierrez (40-5).
"Brendan absolutely has a different drive and is a hard worker," Mehling said. "He sometimes practices three times a day by coming in to lift (weights) before school, practicing with his team and then going to more workouts at night."
At district, the Bobcats finished 23rd (32) behind champion Galion Northmor (103) as 53 teams scored.
Also competing was senior 138-pounder Ben Jump, who went 1-2. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
Jump was pinned in 5:05 by Caldwell's Kolby Rayner in his opener before defeating Bainbridge Paint Valley's Dylan Knight 18-4 in a first-round consolation match. He lost his second consolation match to Nelsonville-York's Andrew McDonald 18-2 to finish 28-9 overall.
"Ben had a tough draw in a tough class," Mehling said. "The kids at 132, 138 and 145 pounds are probably the classes with the most athletic and strongest kids. They are a perfect combination of speed and strength. Ben was able to win one match and is one of the hardest-working kids on the team."Boys basketball teamupset by Academy
The top-seeded boys basketball team was ousted from the Division III district tournament on a buzzer beater, falling at home to 14th-seeded Columbus Academy 63-61 in overtime March 7 in a second-round game.
The Bobcats, who had a first-round bye, finished 18-4.
Grandview led 31-23 at halftime, but trailed 44-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
Micah Miller hit a pair of free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining in the fourth to send the game to overtime tied at 51. Miller had six points in overtime, and Spencer Hawk's basket tied the game at 61 with 10.4 seconds left in overtime.
Academy then called timeout near midcourt and got the ball in the corner to Nick Stringer, who drove the baseline and put in a reverse layup at the buzzer.
"I think we got satisfied with the jump shot early in the third and got out of sync," said coach Ray Corbett, whose team defeated Academy 60-51 on Feb. 5 and 64-57 in overtime Feb. 9 in MSL-Ohio Division play. "They had athletes who got in the passing lanes, but our kids responded well and were able to get the ball inside.
"We expected a competitive game. It was just two teams who got after each other."
Miller led Grandview with 17 points and Markey Moore scored 15. Ike Dunaway and Hawk had eight points apiece.Girls basketball teamlosing eight seniors
The girls basketball team will lose eight seniors after finishing 11-11 overall.
In the Division III district tournament, the 14th-seeded Bobcats had a first-round bye and then lost 44-31 at fourth-seeded Pleasant on Feb. 26 in the second round.
The Bobcats had won five of six games entering the postseason.
Grandview finished sixth (6-8) in the MSL-Ohio behind West Jefferson (12-2), Worthington Christian (11-3), Bexley (10-4), Madison Plains (8-6) and London (7-7) and ahead of Whitehall (2-12) and Academy (0-14).
Leading the senior class was guard Megan McCauley, who averaged 9.0 points and 5.0 assists and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league. Post player Grace Palmer was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league after averaging 7.5 points and 9.0 rebounds, and guard Emma Bulla averaged 4.5 points and 1.5 steals and was honorable mention all-league.
Other seniors were guard Katie Flanagan, guard Ali Lachey (3.4 points, 5.0 rebounds), guard Madison Osborne, post player Morgan Taylor (2.8 points) and post player Allison Voelker (3.9 points).
"It was a big senior class with a lot of character," said coach Brian O'Mara, who completed his first season. "It will be hard to replace that. Next year, we'll be really young and we'll have to have the same commitment and drive these seniors have shown."
Expected to return are junior post player Spenser Jackson, sophomores Chloe Wernet (post player), Molly Smith (guard) and Lizzie Van Deusen (guard) and freshman forward Kacey Murphy (2.3 points, 1.5 blocks).
"The girls coming back will be young, but we have some talent there," O'Mara said. "They need to work in the offseason to be ready to play next season."