The Olentangy Orange High School wrestling program is looking to reach the next level.
The Pioneers have had only three individuals advance to the Division I state tournament and none since 2014 when Lenn's Kamba made his second appearance at 195 pounds, but did not place.
Artem Timchenko, a 2013 graduate, placed seventh as a sophomore at 112 and was runner-up at 120 as a senior. The other qualifier was Josh Toprani in 2011.
Second-year coach Scott Tressler wants to add to that list and believes he has three athletes who could find themselves at state March 9-11 at Ohio State. Seniors Logan Broskie (160) and Hunter Knipp (182) and junior Bryce Houston (195) are making strides in that direction.
"I think the program is still developing and we're trying to change expectations," Tressler said. "We want to make sure we have multiple guys going (to state) every year, and I think they are just the guys to get us there. We look for Hunter and Logan and Bryce to carry the flag for us in the postseason."
Houston was 28-6 before the Pioneers competed against Westerville South in an OCC-Buckeye Division dual Feb. 8. Knipp was 26-5 and Broskie was 26-7.
The Pioneers are seeded 20th in the district and will compete in a sectional Feb. 25 at Upper Arlington. The only better-seeded teams in the sectional are 12th-seeded Teays Valley, 14th-seeded Central Crossing and 15th-seeded UA.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 3 and 4 at Hilliard Darby.
"I feel like we have a good chance to win the sectional and get a lot of wrestlers out to district," Broskie said. "That is one of our team goals, to win a sectional title."
Broskie and Knipp are workout partners most days in practice. They push each other -- and the rest of the team -- to get better.
"Our styles are very similar, so that helps us push each other to get better and better," Broskie said. "We're both good on top and good defense wrestlers, so we're hard to score on."
Knipp said tough practices have sparked improvement.
"I'm a lot quicker and I did a lot of lifting to get ready for the season," Knipp said. "We have been doing a lot more conditioning and running in practice. I also have a lot more confidence in my shot."
Tressler said Broskie and Knipp are captains who learned a lot from the 2016 senior class.
"We had a good business-like senior class last year who would come in and work hard to get what they needed to get done," Tressler said. "These guys come in with the same idea.
"But getting over the mental hurdles will be the biggest thing for them. They have the necessary work ethic, so if they get hot at the right time and wrestle their best, they could finish their careers on a positive note."
Hockey team preps
for Blue Jackets Cup
The hockey team is seeded sixth for the Blue Jackets Cup, which begins Thursday, Feb. 9.
The Pioneers are 17-14-0-1 overall and finished second (21 points, 10-5-0-1) in the Capital Hockey Conference-White behind New Albany (24, 11-3-0-2).
They face third-seeded Upper Arlington in the opening round at Chiller Easton, with the winner playing second-seeded Liberty or seventh-seeded Gahanna on Friday, Feb. 10.
The final is Sunday. Feb. 12, at OhioHealth Ice Haus against top-seeded St. Charles, fourth-seeded Dublin Jerome, fifth-seeded New Albany or eighth-seeded Olentangy.
Orange split its final two regular-season games. Aaron Mosher, Mark Murley and Josh Rochon scored in a 3-2 win over Cincinnati Moeller on Feb. 3. Goaltender Nathan Thompson had 27 saves.
Bobby Golias scored in a 9-1 loss to St. Charles on Feb. 5.
Girls basketball team
wins three of four
The girls basketball team had won two consecutive games and three of its last four before playing Westerville South on Feb. 7 in an OCC-Buckeye contest.
Schae Lilley scored 15 points and McKenna Ford added 13 with three 3-points in a 51-35 over Westerville Central on Feb. 3 to sweep the Warhawks in league play. The Pioneers improved to 7-13 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Orange also defeated Marion Harding 65-34 on Jan. 31 as Lilley led with 20 points and four 3s.
The Pioneers are seeded 34th of 47 teams in the Division I district tournament and open Feb. 18 at sixth-seeded Hilliard Bradley.
lead bowling teams
SarahKate Palmer had a 188.4 average to lead the girls bowling team entering the week.
The Pioneers were 9-5 overall before facing Liberty on Feb. 7. They are 6-9 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North and 4-3 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Other top contributors have been Heather Gabele (172.2), Raymie Shields (150.5) and Haley Wemple (149.6).
Jaden Wiebell led the boys team with a 177.2 average, ahead of Nicholas Baumeyer (177.0) and Kirk Glori (174.2). Andrew Kicas and Rory Schmidt both were averaging 174.1.
The boys were 6-9 overall before facing Liberty. They are 6-9 in the COHSBC-North and 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Six Orange athletes
make college choices
Six student-athletes announced their college decisions Feb. 1.
Tyler Brown will play baseball at Vanderbilt, T.J. Coates will compete in football and track and field at Tiffin, Katie Luce will play women's soccer at Purdue, Joe Metcalf will play football at Tiffin, Hannah Sargent will play women's soccer at Western Michigan and Matthew Zolkin will play football at Tiffin.