Hilliard Bradley High School wrestler Deacon Sawchuk is only a freshman, but he looked like a veteran in the Division I district tournament held March 2 and 3 at Darby.
Sawchuk went 3-1 and placed second at 106 pounds at district to qualify for the state tournament Thursday, March 8, through Saturday, March 10, at Ohio State. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced.
"It feels good (to make it to state), but it's not over yet," Sawchuk said. "I wrestled in the junior high state (tournament) in Youngstown and I have gone to watch the (high school) state finals, but competing (at the Schottenstein Center) will be a lot different.
"It will feel like a great accomplishment. It's what we work toward every year."
Sawchuk is 37-5 on the season after losing to Lancaster's Logan Agin 20-5 in the championship match at district. He qualified for state with a 7-5 win over Dresden Tri-Valley's Sky Wisecarver in a semifinal.
"I was a little nervous (before the semifinal) because it was a pretty important match," Sawchuk said. "I pinned (Wisecarver) at (the) Watkins (Memorial Invitational on Jan. 27 in 2 minutes, 39 seconds) and was up 8-1 before that. This was a much more difficult match."
Coach John Riggs said Sawchuk did what was necessary to advance.
"Deacon had a great tournament and he has wrestled really hard and he was aggressive," said Riggs, whose team scored 35 points at district to finish 19th behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored. "He wrestled a fantastic tournament and I couldn't be happier for him."
The Jaguars had seven other district participants, including junior Zander Ellison, who finished sixth at 138. Ellison qualified for state last season at 126, but lost to Big Walnut's Cole Foster 5-2 in the consolation final.
"That's a tough loss for Zander in the wrestle-backs," Riggs said. "There's no easy road to state. Zander wasn't short in effort or preparation, but he just came up a little short on the scoreboard."
Also competing at district were seniors Kellan Grainger (160, 1-2), Issa Khalil (220, 2-2), J.T. Lemmermen (152, 0-2) and Kade Wareham (145, 0-2) and sophomore Kyle DeMoss (182, 0-2).
Gymnastics team places 11th at state
Gymnastics coach Carol Eskay was happy that her team was able to perform at home in the team state meet March 2.
Making their first state appearance, the Jaguars finished 11th (132.8) of 12 teams, behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (146.7).
"This was wonderful," Eskay said. "We always tell the girls this is the reward. No matter where you place here, you're already top 12 in the state. They were very solid (with) minimal mistakes. We had a lot of fun. I am so proud of them. They did great and it was super fun being in our home gym.
"Our seniors that competed -- Reagan Beard, Elisa Reed and Greta Planck -- had a great night. They led the way."
Planck also competed for the Jaguars in the individual state meet March 3 at Bradley, finishing 36th in the all-around (32.875), tying for 25th on floor exercise (8.85), placing 34th on balance beam (7.95) and finishing 36th on uneven bars (7.1). She also scored an 8.975 on vault as part of the all-around.
Bradley finished third (135.425) at district Feb. 24 at Worthington Kilbourne to earn the final state-qualifying spot after finishing fourth each of the previous three seasons. Thornville Sheridan (145.425) and Olentangy (139.5) also qualified.
"We've been close for a while, and Bradley's had a pretty strong program since we started," Eskay said. "We had good performances all year. We knew we had the potential to get here, but we didn't focus on it. We stayed more relaxed. I knew they had the potential, but this wasn't our main goal. That was improve every practice (and) every meet. But it was exciting to actually get here."
Planck advanced to the individual state meet by placing eighth (34.975) in the all-around, fifth on bars (8.725), sixth on floor (9.025) and seventh on beam (9.05). She tied for 31st on vault (8.175), as the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around moved on.
Also in the all-around at district, junior Lexi Patterson finished 17th (33.575), Reed was 25th (33.05) and freshman Gabi Graff was 29th (32.65).
The Jaguars had won five consecutive league championships before finishing second (130.45) to Darby (132.925) in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 10.
They also placed second in the overall league standings, totaling 24 points (5-1 record) to finish behind Darby (28, 6-0) and ahead of Dublin Jerome (20, 4-2), Delaware (14, 3-3), Kilbourne (12, 1-5), Thomas Worthington (10, 2-4) and Dublin Scioto (4, 0-6).
Boys basketball team reaches district semi
The boys basketball team reached a Division I district semifinal for the second consecutive season and for the third time in four seasons.
The third-seeded Jaguars were 22-1 before playing 17th-seeded Chillicothe in a semifinal March 7 at Central Crossing.
The winner plays eighth-seeded Westerville South or 12th-seeded Logan in a district final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Ohio Dominican. The Jaguars, who were ranked 10th in the final state poll, are seeking their first district title.
The district champion plays Mount Vernon, Pickerington North, Reynoldsburg or Westerville Central in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 14, at Ohio Dominican. The regional final is March 17 at Ohio Dominican.
Isaiah Speelman scored 18 points to lead host Bradley past 46th-seeded Westland 76-26 in a second-round game March 1.
"I told our guys the challenge gets a lot bigger from here on out," coach Brett Norris said. "I feel like we're rested even though we played so many (nine) games in February. I feel like we're as bouncy and energetic as we have been since the start of the season, which is what you want to be."
Girls bowlers end season at district
The girls bowling team competed in the Division I district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes but did not advance to state.
Senior Dalton Barclay competed as an individual for the boys team, but also did not qualify for state this weekend at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The girls team finished 15th (2,791) of 16 teams, behind state-qualifiers Gahanna (3,596), Whitehall (3,438) and Westerville Central (3,360). Gahanna's Shannon Gonzales (581 three-game series) was medalist of 102 bowlers, and Delaware's Kelsey Rohrer (550) earned the third and final individual qualifying berth.
Junior Christy Hribar (420, 47th) led Bradley, followed by junior Ava Miller (415, 51st), freshman Callie Hribar (409, 58th) and sophomore Marisabel Aguilar (386, 67th).
Barclay rolled a 485 to finish 45th of 105 bowlers. Northland's Cameron Singer (656) was medalist, while Olentangy Liberty's Daniel Valz (596) was the third and final individual qualifier.
The girls placed 15th (2,899) in the 37-team sectional Feb. 24 at HP Lanes behind champion Gahanna (3,642), as the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district. Miller (486, 23rd) led the Jaguars.
Barclay (497, 44th) earned the 15th qualifying spot, as the boys finished 26th (3,033) in the 38-team sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes behind champion Westerville Central (3,836).
Freshman Brandon Dever (170.9 average) is the only bowler with much experience expected to return for the boys team, which finished 8-6 overall, tied Darby for third (7-4) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division behind champion Pickerington North (11-0) and placed sixth (1-6) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Delaware (6-1).
The girls finished 10-4 overall, tied Lancaster for second (9-2) in the COHSBC-B behind champion Darby (11-0) and tied Groveport for third (3-3) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Delaware (6-0).
@ThisWeekHennenAt a glance
*Record: Boys -- 8-6 overall, 7-4 (tied for third) in COHSBC-B, 1-6 (sixth) in OCC-Cardinal; Girls -- 10-4 overall, 9-2 (tied for second) in COHSBC-B, 3-3 (tied for third) in OCC-Cardinal
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Dalton Barclay, Nolan Croce, Daniel Curran, Dylan Hall and Scott Parker-Jones; Girls -- Claire Waggener
*Key returnees: Boys -- Brandon Dever; Girls -- Marisabel Aguilar, Callie Hribar, Christy Hribar and Ava Miller
*Finishes: Second in OCC-Cardinal, third at district, 11th at state
*Seniors lost: Reagan Beard, Marlayna Miller, Greta Planck, Elisa Reed and Niya Shalash
*Key returnees: Makayla Cornell, Gabi Graff and Lexi Patterson