With the OCC-Central Division championship on the line Feb. 15 at Hilliard Davidson, Dublin Coffman High School wrestler R.J. Carpenter felt confident.
Carpenter had pinned Davidson's Johnny Ventura in 1 minute, 37 seconds at 220 pounds when the Shamrocks beat the Wildcats 41-19 on Jan. 24 in a regional quarterfinal of the team dual tournament.
He needed a little longer in the rematch, but pinned Ventura with 15 seconds left in the third period in the final match of the dual Feb. 15 as the Shamrocks beat the Wildcats 38-29 to wrap up their second consecutive league title.
Coffman finished 5-0 in the OCC-Central, including a 34-32 win over Marysville on Jan. 18. The Monarchs finished second in the league at 4-1 and Davidson finished third at 3-2.
"I was just staying consistent," Carpenter said. "I felt pretty good going into that match, and I know he wanted it because Davidson hates us."
Coffman took a 32-26 lead over Davidson when Lennox Wolak beat Brendan Yoder 22-6 at 182.
The league title was a nice consolation for the Shamrocks after they lost to Teays Valley 59-12 on Jan. 31 in a regional semifinal of the team dual tournament following back-to-back appearances at state.
The individual postseason begins Saturday, Feb. 24, with a Division I sectional at Upper Arlington.
Top four finishers in each weight class advance to district tournament March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.
"(Carpenter) hasn't been in that position and he's a sophomore, but we felt good going into it because he beat (Ventura) before and went out there and did his job," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "We think we were a little underestimated this year, so it feels good. Marysville was a tough dual and (Davidson) was a really tough dual. We have a tough conference.
"This was a huge hurdle, and now our focus is on these guys and (the individual postseason)."
Swim teams both place third at district
Members of the swimming and diving teams are preparing for the Division I state meet Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
In the district meet that concluded Feb. 17 at Ohio University, the boys team scored 246.5 points to finish third behind Jerome (303) and St. Charles (285) as 29 teams scored, and the girls scored 209 points to place third behind Upper Arlington (274) and New Albany (267) as 30 teams scored.
All three relays for the boys and girls teams advanced to state, which is a first under 12th-year coach Steve VonSchriltz.
"We swam pretty well," VonSchriltz said. "We had four wins and our girls medley relay won with a great swim. Eddie (Michael), of course, swam well and Ellie (Andrews) and Hannah (Bailey) did about what I thought they'd do. We positioned ourselves well for (this) week."
Capturing district titles for the girls were the 200-yard medley relay of Andrews, Bailey, Cameron Das and Marissa Kruse (1:45.82) and Kristyn Sabol in the 200 freestyle (1:51.45).
The 200 medley relay is seeded sixth at state and Sabol is seeded seventh.
Andrews placed second in both the 200 individual medley (2:03.91) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.71) and is seeded seventh and third, respectively, at state. Bailey was runner-up in the 100 butterfly (55.06) and placed third in the 100 breast (1:03.06) and is seeded third and sixth, respectively.
Sabol finished fifth in the 100 fly (56.9) and is seeded 15th at state, while the 200 free relay of Bailey, Kruse, Eeshaa Mehta and Sabol placed third (1:36.92) and is seeded sixth and the 400 free relay of Andrews, Grace O'Banion, Sabol and Ava Warren finished fifth (3:35.93) and is seeded 18th.
Michael led the boys team, finishing first in both the 50 free (20.9) and 100 free (45.39). He is seeded seventh in the former and third in the latter.
The 400 free relay of Zak Birnbrich, Michael, Will Randall and Andy Shepard placed second (3:08.78) and is seeded seventh, while the 200 medley relay of Birnbrich, Owen McQuaid, Cole Northup and Ted Stevens placed third (1:35.87) and is seeded 13th and the 200 free relay of McQuaid, Michael, Northup and Shepard was third (1:27.43) and is seeded 15th.
Birnbrich also finished third in the 100 fly (51.23) and is seeded 18th, while Ethan Shaw placed fourth in the 500 free (4:39.26) and is seeded 12th and Brendan Oshida finished fifth in the 500 free (4:42.71) and is seeded 17th.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Girls basketball team cruises past Cruisers
The second-seeded girls basketball team routed 46th-seeded Groveport 90-11 on Feb. 17 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament and will face 47th-seeded Centennial in the second round Friday, Feb. 23, at home.
The second-round winner plays 20th-seeded Lancaster or 32nd-seeded Licking Heights in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 28, at a neutral site to be announced. The district final is March 3 at Ohio Dominican University.
The Shamrocks improved to 22-1 with the win over Groveport. Kaitlyn Kopyar led the way with 27 points. Jacy Sheldon scored 18, Lilly Edwards scored 12 and Betsy Diamond added nine.
Boys basketball team falls again to UA
The boys basketball team is looking to reboot for the postseason after falling to host Upper Arlington 44-42 in its regular-season finale Feb. 16.
The Shamrocks were leading the Golden Bears 42-41 when Sammy Sass hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. Coffman lost to UA 44-41 on Feb. 3 when the Bears' Dane Goodwin made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Shamrocks fell to 16-6 overall and finished 8-2 in the OCC-Central Division, placing second behind UA (10-0).
Dominiq Penn had 22 points in the rematch with UA.
Coffman is the sixth seed for the Division I district tournament and opens the postseason Saturday, Feb. 24, at home against 33rd-seeded Hamilton Township. The winner plays 25th-seeded Jerome in a second-round game March 2 at the home of the higher seed.
Season ends for hockey team
Although the hockey team was seeded 15th and Cincinnati Moeller was seeded fourth for the district tournament, the Crusaders needed overtime to beat the Shamrocks 3-2 on Dec. 22 and edged Coffman 3-1 on Jan. 20.
The teams' third matchup on Feb. 18 also was close, but the Crusaders took the lead with 2:02 remaining and held on for a 3-2 victory in a second-round game at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
"They did what we expected and I thought we looked great," first-year coach Justin Taber said.
"Moeller's tough and all of the games with them have basically been like that. We were telling (the players) to walk out with their heads high. We played hard."
Coffman, which beat 13th-seeded Oxford Talawanda 9-0 on Feb. 17 in a first-round game at the Ice Haus, finished 6-18-2-3 overall and placed fifth in the Capital Hockey Conference-White Division at 3-11-0-2, behind Moeller (12-3-0-1), Olentangy (10-6), Springboro (7-7-1-1) and Olentangy Orange (6-9-1).
The Shamrocks had won three of their previous five games before the tournament loss, with one of the losses coming 5-4 in overtime to 10th-seeded Orange in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament Feb. 9 at the Ice Haus. Coffman was the 11th seed for the Cup tournament.
Coffman is losing six seniors, including forward Adam Hoover, who had two goals in the win over Talawanda.
Junior forward Alek Willis and senior forward/defenseman Connor Keirsey scored in the tournament loss to Moeller.
Others eligible to return include juniors Tali Berzins (forward), Josh Curtin (defenseman) and Will Tate (defenseman), sophomores Keegan Hoover (forward), Bo Sung Kim (forward), Evan Mitchell (forward), Tomohiro Sakon (defenseman) and Cade Spiker (forward) and freshmen Thiago Jeronimo (forward), Ben Schepflin (forward) and Gavin Schiefferle (defenseman).
"They all pretty much stepped up this year," Taber said. "I don't think too much is going to change (heading into next season) other than adding a couple new bodies. We had a pretty young crew."
Below is the coming schedule for the Coffman gymnastics teams:
Feb. 24 -- District meet at Worthington Kilbourne. Top three teams advance to state team meet March 2 at Hilliard Bradley, and top eight individuals in each event and the all-around advance to state individual meet March 3 at Bradley.