The Whetstone High School wrestling team will really have to step up to compete with favored Walnut Ridge in the City League tournament Saturday, Feb. 18, at Linden-McKinley, according to coach Tom Jones.
"Walnut Ridge won the City duals and that's always the best indicator of how things will go in the tournament," Jones said. "We will need to do better in the upper weights than we did in our dual with them. We were up by three points going into (182 pounds) but got beat, and we had all of our top guys available for that dual.
"Plus, we're going to be limited a bit in the City tournament. We lost our 170-pounder Brent Buterbaugh to a shoulder injury and we have a couple of others who may not make weight."
Entering a tri-match with Grandview and host West Jefferson on Feb. 15, Ibrahim Sesay (170) was 23-10, Justin Rodriguez (120/126) was 13-1, Lawrence Dean (170/182) was 18-9 and Adreon Barrett (132) was 18-10.
"Adreon is on target and having a successful season," Jones said. "Ibrahim is on target for a guy who competes in three sports and gets little offseason work done. But without as many reps as some other guys, he'll take three steps forward and then take two backward. Considering he doesn't get the extra work, he's doing OK.
"Justin has missed half of the season, so he's way behind where I think he should be. Although those four have our best records, there's a lot they've left on the table. I say that because I expect more from them because I see the talent in them."
Jones has been pleased with Hasan Sesay (145) and Kal Buterbaugh (152).
"Hasan has been a surprise for a freshman," Jones said. "He only has one loss in the City and has kind of come out of nowhere. He pays attention and works hard, and those are the keys. You have to focus in this sport. Kal is 13-11. We have some guys like that, who have done well in the City even if they don't have great records overall."
Boys swim team
wins sectional title
The boys swimming and diving team will compete in more swims at district than it ever has after winning its second consecutive Division II sectional title Feb. 11 at Upper Arlington.
Every athlete on the roster will compete in at least one event in the district meet Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, at Ohio State.
"I think it's such an amazing thing that all of them will be involved at district," coach John DeRing said. "The kids have worked hard and they got it done. This is a reward for each and every one of them. It's very impressive."
The Braves will have 11 individual swims in eight events and will also compete in all three relays at district. In all, they will have eight swimmers and diver Trevor Karnehm competing at district.
The 200-yard medley relay of Connor Flanagan, Mitchell Nottage, Francisco Soto and David Maston won the sectional title in 1 minute, 44.18 seconds and is seeded third at district. Maston won the 100 freestyle in 49.68 and is seeded third at district, and Nottage won the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.69 and is seeded sixth.
Finishing second were Maston in the 100 backstroke (58.23) and 200 free (1:50.8), Nottage in the 200 individual medley (2:06.79), Pak McCollum in the 100 breast (1:06.74) and the 200 free relay of Nottage, Flanagan, Mason and Soto (1:33.82).
The Braves totaled 236 points to finish ahead of runner-up Centennial (224) in the six-team sectional.
"We won because we got contributions across the board," DeRing said. "We had some surprises, like our 400 free relay of Kai Hoenshell, Alex Marcum, Drew Marcum and Pak McCollum (fourth, 4:08.1). ... Drew Marcum took third in the 500 free (5:59.33), and Alex Marcum took fifth in the 100 back (1:09.5)."
The girls team will compete in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay at district in Division I after finishing 10th in both events at the UA sectional. The medley relay of Abigail Schaefer, Bryn van Dommelen, Amelia Zamonski and Mary Doherty finished in 2:11.56 and is seeded 29th at district, and the 200 free relay of van Dommelen, Doherty, Rebeka Spulgis and Schaefer finished in 1:53.9 and is seeded 27th.
The Braves finished 11th (15) of 15 teams at sectional, behind champion UA (415).
"The girls team was ravaged by the flu," DeRing said. "Bryn didn't even compete in her individual events (200 IM and 500 free). It's a shame for them, but the good news is they got two relays out and they don't have any seniors so they can all try again next year."
At district in both Division I and II, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically qualify for the state meet Wednesday, Feb. 22, through Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths will be awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide. The top four boys divers qualify for state.
Girls basketball team
preps for Shamrocks
The girls basketball team will play at second-seeded Dublin Coffman in the first round of the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Shamrocks are 20-2, with their losses coming against Newark (69-54 on Nov. 25) and Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame (81-56 on Dec. 22). Newark was ranked first in the Division I state poll last week. Coffman was ranked 10th.
The Braves are 6-16 and are seeded 42nd of 47 teams in the district tournament.
The winner plays host to 45th-seeded Westland in the second round Feb. 24. The Braves beat the Cougars 41-37 in the season opener Nov. 29.
Boys basketball team
closes regular season
The boys basketball team finished the regular season 4-18 overall and 3-11 in the City League-North Division after losing to Mifflin 78-51 on Feb. 7 and Beechcroft 90-50 on Feb. 10.
"We got Gerard Reynolds back from injury last month and he was our starting point guard last year," coach Richie Beard said. "He's starting to come around now.
"He tore his ACL in football (in 2015) and played with us last year without knowing about the injury. He had surgery in April and his first game back with us was against Mifflin (on Jan. 13). But he played limited minutes until recently as he worked his way back."
Reynolds is averaging 7.8 points. Lamine Komara leads the team in scoring (9.5) and is averaging 7.2 rebounds. Jack Staggs leads the team in rebounding (7.9) and averages 7.0 points, while Rayshawn Walker and Sean Jones both were averaging 8.3 points.
"We've had trouble putting the ball in the basket all year," Beard said. "We've just lacked any consistency in scoring. When your leading scorer doesn't average in double digits, you know team scoring is a problem."
Staggs had 12 points against Beechcroft and Tyrese Walker added 10. Rayshawn Walker and Komara both scored 11 against Mifflin and Reynolds added 10.
Whetstone is seeded 43rd of 47 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at second-seeded Newark in the first round Feb. 23.