Louis Dytko of the DeSales High School wrestling team couldn't have asked for a better start to the season, not only because his 18th birthday was punctuated by a landmark win, but also because it got the undermanned Stallions' season off to a strong start.
Dytko won four matches by pin in the Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament on Dec. 2 at home, the last coming in 1 minute, 50 seconds against New Albany's Michael Zusman to win the 145-pound championship and record his 100th career victory.
The performance earned Dytko the Jim Tamborello Gladiator Award, which is given to the event's most valuable wrestler and includes $1,000 in scholarship money.
In a season in which DeSales so far is fielding just nine wrestlers, five short of what it needs for a full lineup, sixth-year coach Nick Preston hopes Dytko's work ethic can trickle down to the rest of his wrestlers, whose experience ranges from veteran to beginner.
"(Dytko) got out there and took care of business. That's great for our other guys to see," Preston said. "We're really young right now, and our goal is to see that work ethic improve. If they keep at it, they're going to keep getting better. That's what I want to see from all of them."
DeSales scored 101 points in the 12-team Tony Pizzurro Memorial tournament to finish seventh behind champion Grove City (310).
Dytko, a three-time Division II district qualifier, went 40-11 last season and is the only one of last year's five district qualifiers not to have graduated.
"Louis has been training hard all summer and fall and he's really been champing at the bit to get after it," Preston said. "He's experienced. He's been through all of this before and he knows what he has to do to win."
Sophomore heavyweight Cole Potts, who went 18-17 last year at 220, finished third in the Tony Pizzurro Memorial tournament. Classmate Josh Moore placed third at 132, and senior Anthony Cua -- who returned to the program after not wrestling since he was a freshman -- finished fourth.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Raul Garcia (220) and Jonathan Tenario (170), sophomore Chris Tapia (145) and freshmen Keishawn Allen (138) and Marco Tapia (152). The Taria brothers and Tenario are in their first year of wrestling.
"If (Cua) learns the sport better and continues to improve, he will be dangerous," Preston said. "We have a few younger guys who must get better technically and learn some moves before they can step in and win some matches."
DeSales' only CCL competition will come on the final night of the regular season, Feb. 15 at Hartley in a dual format. As was the case last year, each of the four teams will wrestle two duals in a tournament format to determine the champion.
Last season, the Stallions went 1-1 in the CCL to tie St. Charles for second behind Hartley (2-0) and ahead of Ready (0-2).
Swimming coach has high hopes
Second-year swimming coach Ryan Buechner acknowledges that the graduation of two-time Division I state qualifier Maureen Cummins leaves a hole in the girls team's lineup, but hopes the Stallions have the numbers and talent to be more competitive in dual meets.
Cummins now swims at Xavier University.
"I do not see us having the individual accomplishments that we had with Maureen the past few seasons. However, I do see us making more strides as a (program)," said Buechner, whose teams opened Dec. 2 with the Catholic Showdown at St. Charles. "We have a lot of new swimmers but a few key returners. ...
"(Our program) goals (are to) win more meets than last year and get more individual swimmers qualified for districts. New swimmers goals (are to) learn how to swim new events and try to progressively decrease their times throughout the season."
The boys and girls teams both returned one district qualifier.
At district last season, junior Ian McCandlish of the boys team finished 14th in the 100-yard backstroke and 24th in the 100 butterfly in Division II, and senior Mary Ruff of the girls squad placed 22nd in the 100 back in Division I. Ruff also was on the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays that qualified for district, while McCandlish helped the 200 medley relay to district along with returnees Zane Marmie and Aaron Spittell.
Marmie is a senior and Spittell is a sophomore.
Also back from the girls relays are juniors Anna Sears and Julia Wilkes.
In the Catholic Showdown, Ruff placed fourth in the 50 back (29.87) and fifth in the 100 back (1:04.7) and senior Olivia Moyler was eighth in the 50 fly (31.27) as the girls finished eighth (66 points) of nine teams, behind champion Toledo St. Ursula (514). The boys finished ninth (30) of 10 teams, behind champion Toledo St. Francis (575).
Rounding out the girls roster are seniors Anna D'Andrea, Jacqueline Scott and Erin Walsh, juniors Emily Bateman, Fiona Brown and Grace Rieser, sophomore Bernadette DeGuzman and freshmen Grace Bogue, Annamarie DeGuzman, Anna Godoy, Hannah Pekarcik and Montserrat Tlahuel-Flores.
Also on the boys team are seniors Daniel Freeman, Jurvens Jean-Raymond, Mitchell Mayerchak, Zion Parker, A.J. Sallee and Cole Trejchel, juniors Brenden Jones, Johnathan Randel and Joe Valentine and freshman Leo Sears.
Both teams will try to break into the upper half of the CCL this season. In last year's league meet, the boys finished third (144) behind champion St. Charles (486) and the girls were fourth (135) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (404).
Burns reaches scoring milestone
Emma Burns of the girls basketball team became the fifth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points Dec. 9 during a 46-32 win over visiting Dublin Jerome.
Burns, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, surpassed the milestone midway through the third quarter, according to coach Brian Cromwell. She finished the game with 20 points, bringing her career total to 1,009, and had seven rebounds and two assists.
Burns was 5-for-6 from the field and 7-for-8 at the free-throw line against Jerome.
Burns' long-range prowess has helped boost her point total. A third-team all-district honoree in Division I each of the past two seasons, she had 128 career 3-pointers before the Stallions played Marysville on Dec. 12 and was averaging 17.3 points per game this season.
DeSales, which lost to New Albany 41-38 on Dec. 6, was 2-2 overall before playing Marysville.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- Catholic Showdown at St. Charles
Dec. 4 -- Grandview Heights at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 8 -- Bexley and Hartley at Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 9 -- Wellington Jaguar Classic at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 15 -- at St. Charles with Reynoldsburg
Dec. 16 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Jan. 5 -- Central Crossing and Westerville Central at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 13 -- Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan and Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 23 -- at Columbus Academy
Jan. 26 -- at St. Charles
Jan. 27 -- CCL meet at St. Charles
Dec. 2 -- Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at home
Dec. 9 -- Wolfpack Invitational at Worthington Kilbourne
Dec. 15-16 -- Liberty Classic at Olentangy Liberty
Dec. 29-30 -- Marion Harding Classic
Jan. 6 -- Bobcat Wrestling Classic at Grandview
Jan. 13-14 -- Catholic Invitational Tournament at Cleveland St. Ignatius
Jan. 27 -- Utica Invitational
Feb. 10 -- at New Albany with Buckeye Valley and Sparta Highland
Feb. 15 -- CCL duals at Hartley
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and gymnastics teams:
*Dec. 15 -- Home vs. Watterson
Dec. 16 -- At Licking Heights
Dec. 16 -- At Mount Vernon
*Dec. 14 -- Ready at Capri Lanes
Dec. 20 -- Buckeye Valley and Thornville Sheridan at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading