With his team coming off back-to-back league titles and after having significant success in each of the last two postseasons, Hartley High School wrestling coach Kevin Petrella wouldn't trade the mentality he's seen throughout his practice room.

With his team coming off back-to-back league titles and after having significant success in each of the last two postseasons, Hartley High School wrestling coach Kevin Petrella wouldn't trade the mentality he's seen throughout his practice room.

"One thing we've created the last few years is a little bit of a sense of program pride," said Petrella, who is in his seventh season. "We want our guys to play more than one sport, but I think there's a healthy balance of having them do their sport year-round. With a couple guys, all they are is wrestling, and maybe they help keep other guys accountable.

"In the later 2000s, we had guys that liked wrestling, but they didn't love wrestling. We've got guys that love it."

The Hawks opened Dec. 12 by placing last (21) in the 17-team Olentangy Liberty Classic behind the champion and host Patriots (261).

Hartley lost the only three-time state qualifier in program history, Kristopher Hill, to graduation. He went 44-6 last season, including a third-place finish at state at 113 pounds, and is competing for Eastern Michigan.

The Hawks' other state qualifiers last season, seniors Zach Bowman and Jared Croswell, have returned.

Bowman went 0-2 at state at 152 to finish 25-26 and now is competing at 160. Croswell went 1-2 at state at 220 to finish 44-12 and will wrestle at 195 or 220.

Also back after competing at district are seniors Josh Heinmiller (126) and Tyler Sweeney (heavyweight).

Senior John Lorms was fifth at sectional at 160, while junior Jacob Lane was sixth at sectional at 138 and junior Alex Moran was fifth at sectional at 126. Moran is likely to be at 138, with Lane and Lorms competing at 145, 152 or 170.

Others looking to contribute include juniors Mark Bayless (152/170) and Drake Williams (220), sophomores Ethan Amaya (220), Nathaniel Amaya (182), Anthony Maciejewski (182) and Josiah Rawls (182) and freshmen Cole Jackson (132), Nate Jackson (182), Keegan Moran (120), Griffin Rathburn (182) and Jacob Williams (113).

The only other key wrestler lost to graduation was Aaron Hannah (195).

Hartley went 4-0 in the CCL least season and opens league competition Jan. 6 with duals at St. Charles.

The Hawks have moved up from Division III to Division II.

"Looking at our lineup when you only lose a couple guys, you'd like to think you'll be better than the year before," Petrella said.

Girls basketball team out to build on start

Despite having a new coach and no seniors in its starting lineup, the girls basketball team got out to a hot start.

The Hawks had won four in a row before losing to Arlington 59-26 on Dec. 12 at home to fall to 5-2 overall.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, Hartley plays host to Watterson in its final CCL game of the 2015 portion of its schedule. The Hawks are 1-0 in the league, having defeated Columbus School for Girls 96-21 on Nov. 30.

"We're having scoring from a lot of different players," coach Donald Dennis said. "We don't have a lot of kids with varsity playing experience, so we're trying to teach them the appropriate focus and intensity. It's great to get off to a good start early in the season."

Sophomore guard Kennedy Taylor, who averaged 3.3 points a year ago, has been the team's No. 1 scoring option most games. She was averaging 13.2 points through six games.

"(Taylor's) still working on being that consistent scorer game in and game out, but she's had games where she's decided to take over and has been having a solid impact," Dennis said.

Senior Haley Johnson and freshman Hailey Jordan have been the team's two biggest inside threats.

Hartley should get another boost when 5-8 junior guard Molly Van Horn is eligible to play beginning Jan. 7 when the Hawks visit Ready. Van Horn transferred from Reynoldsburg in the offseason but has been practicing with the team and was elected a captain along with juniors Kate Hennessey and Faith Saxton.

Boys basketball team preps for CCL opener

The boys basketball team opens CCL action Friday, Dec. 18, at home against Ready.

The Silver Knights, who finished 4-19 overall and 0-8 in the league last season, including losing to Hartley 54-41 and 51-35, were 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the league after losing to St. Charles 45-41 on Dec. 11.

Ready has been lifted by the addition of sophomore guard Chanc Dawson, a transfer from Franklin Heights.

Hartley beat Wellington 59-52 on Dec. 12 and was 2-0 before playing Fairfield Christian on Dec. 14. Its originally scheduled league opener against Watterson on Dec. 11 was moved to Jan. 25 because of the football team's run to a state championship.

The Hawks beat Patriot Prep 66-54 on Dec. 4 in their opener as Garrett Tipton and Grant Smith both scored 16 points.

Rian Anderson, Jacob McFeeters and Conor Collins were among the football players who came out for basketball.

The football team beat Steubenville 31-28 in the Division IV state championship game Dec. 5.