While three members of the Big Walnut High School wrestling team reached the Division I district tournament March 3 and 4 at Hilliard Darby, one of them had far less time to prepare for the postseason.
Sophomore Levi Piceno (113 pounds) had to sit out all of December and much of January because of an injury.
"He didn't start wrestling until a couple weeks into January because of a broken hand, so he's done a good job," coach Luke Moore said. "He's a hard worker, and I'm proud of what he did there."
Piceno, who entered district with an 11-11 record, was pinned by Groveport's Clayton Saunders in 1 minute, 13 seconds in his opening match in the 12-team sectional Feb. 25 at Newark, where the Golden Eagles finished last (49.5) behind champion Olentangy Liberty (301).
Piceno rallied in a consolation semifinal to defeat Westerville North's Jack Stallings 3-1 before being pinned again by Saunders in 1:38 in the third-place match, as the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district.
Big Walnut's other two district qualifiers were juniors Bailey Munday (120, 40-5) and Cole Foster (138, 31-11), who finished second and fourth, respectively, at sectional. Both also qualified for district last season.
Foster, who went 2-2 at sectional, was pinned by Zanes-ville's Aaron Clark in 4:46 in a semifinal but rebounded to pin Franklin Heights' Dane Fenice in 4:13 in a consolation semifinal before losing to Westerville North's Liam Alicardi 12-4 in the third-place match.
"(The match against Clark) was close with about a minute left in the match," Moore said. "He made just one mistake and got caught and pinned. Then in his match to go to district, he was actually losing by four or five points and pinned (Fenice) and came back and won it."
Munday went 2-1 at sectional, scoring pins against Westerville North's Andrew Scherer (1:10) and Pickerington Central's Tony Luc (1:12) before losing 7-5 to Olentangy Liberty's Jordan Rosselli in the final.
At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11, at Ohio State.
state in gymnastics
Mary Dimitroff of the gymnastics team reached the individual state meet for the third consecutive season.
The junior placed seventh (35.0) in the all-around in the district meet Feb. 25 at Thomas Worthington, where the top three teams and top nine individuals in each event and the all-around advanced to the state meet March 3 and 4 at Hilliard Bradley.
Big Walnut finished ninth (126.425) of 23 teams, as Thornville Sheridan (138.65), Olentangy (137.425) and Dresden Tri-Valley (135.825) advanced to state.
Dimitroff was district runner-up on vault (9.15) behind Gianna Brooks of Westerville Central (9.175) and placed sixth (8.75) on uneven bars to qualify for state in both events as well as the all-around. She finished 15th on balance beam (8.675) and tied for 33rd on floor exercise (8.425).
Taylor Grieser had the team's best score on floor (tied for 23rd, 8.575) and its second-best score in the all-around (36th, 32.05) and on beam (tied for 42nd, 8.05) and vault (35th, 8.075). Kayla Hildebrand had the Golden Eagles' second-best score on bars (tied for 51st, 7.475).
advance to district
Sophomores Johnny Lemaster and Jack Belcher of the boys bowling team and sophomore Kaitlyn Morrison of the girls team advanced to the Division I district tournament March 3 at Sawmill Lanes.
In the sectional Feb. 25 at Sawmill Lanes, Lemaster rolled a 544 three-game series to tie for 48th of 245 bowlers and Belcher bowled a 519 to finish 67th.
Senior Reilly Mengel (133rd, 419) also rolled three games for the boys team, which finished 28th (3,308) of 42 teams, behind champion Liberty (4,168). The top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district.
"We've been getting one guy (to district) in the past two years, but not two," coach Scott Morrison said. "We were closer as a team than I thought we would be. We kind of had a down day. Overall, it was good to see two sophomores make it."
Morrison led the girls team in the sectional Feb. 24 at Sawmill Lanes, rolling a 479 to finish 30th of 226 bowlers. Also rolling three games were sophomores Caitlyn Lambert (90th, 386), Anna Tanner (93rd, 384) and Autumn Leidtke (115th, 343) and senior Meredith Davis (tied for 127th, 324).
Lambert and Tanner finished 18 and 20 pins, respectively, behind the final district qualifier.
"It just shows how close we were, and it's a good building point," coach Morrison said.
The Golden Eagles finished 25th (2,679) of 38 teams, behind champion Briggs (3,766).
At district, the top four individuals not on one of the four qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament Friday, March 10 (girls), and Saturday, March 11 (boys), at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Season ends for
girls basketball team
The girls basketball team lost to second-seeded Dublin Coffman 84-42 in a Division I district semifinal March 1 at Olentangy to finish 15-9.
The 18th-seeded Golden Eagles were outscored 25-5 in the second quarter and 17-5 in the fourth quarter.
Katie Cochran had 15 points and Kelly Kreager scored 10 for Big Walnut, while Jacy Sheldon had 26 points to lead the Shamrocks.
It was Big Walnut's first district semifinal appearance since 2009.
Boys basketball team
falls to Wildcats
The boys basketball team lost at sixth-seeded Westerville South 88-41 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 28 to finish 4-19.
South, the defending state champion, led by 22 points at halftime.
Ben Saxe and Henry von Hollen each scored 10 points for the 44th-seeded Golden Eagles, who had a first-round bye. Kaleb Wesson, who has committed to Ohio State, had 24 points and Antoine Smith scored 22 for the Wildcats.