Bailey Munday produced many memorable victories during his career with the Big Walnut High School wrestling team, but there was one opponent whom he couldn't solve in this year's postseason.
The senior was eliminated from the Division I state tournament held March 8-10 at Ohio State with a 4-3 loss to Olentangy Liberty's Blake Saito in a second-round consolation match at 132 pounds.
Munday went 1-2 at state, losing his opening match 11-2 to Elyria's Joshua Breeding and defeating Mentor's Connor Deboe 14-6 before losing to Saito to finish the season with a 40-5 record.
Breeding and Saito went on to place third and eighth, respectively.
"It was a really close match (against Saito), and Bailey wrestled his butt off," coach Luke Moore said. "I was really proud of him. It was a fun season, and the end of a great career."
Munday also was beaten by Saito in the district and sectional tournaments, being pinned in 1 minute, 37 seconds in the championship match at district held March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby and losing 9-3 in the title match at sectional Feb. 24 at Newark. Munday went 6-4 in this year's postseason, but 0-3 against Saito.
Big Walnut also was represented at state by senior Cole Foster, who went 0-2 at 138 in his first state appearance. Foster lost to eventual champion Bryce Andonian of Lakewood St. Edward 21-4 in his opening match before falling to Beavercreek's Gavin Bell 19-2 to close the season at 41-10.
"Cole started out his freshman year at 10-16 and got progressively better throughout his career," Moore said.
Foster went 4-2 and placed fourth at district, where he needed to win three consecutive matches to secure a state berth, after winning a sectional title. He went 7-4 in the postseason.
Big Walnut scored two points at state to tie Copley, Dresden Tri-Valley and Marion Harding for 61st behind champion St. Edward (170.5) as 70 teams scored. The Golden Eagles finished 18th (37.5) at district behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored and seventh (95) of 10 teams at sectional behind champion Lancaster (223).
Big Walnut went 2-3 in the OCC-Capital Division to tie Canal Winchester for fourth, behind co-champions Groveport and Newark (both 4-1) and New Albany (3-2) and ahead of Franklin Heights (0-5).
Both Munday and Foster earned first-team all-league honors. Munday finished his OCC career at 24-0 and Foster went undefeated against league competition the last two seasons.
Big Walnut is losing three other seniors in Luke Apple (182) Tanner Daniels (heavyweight) and Noah Mason (220). This season, Daniels finished 25-15, was a district qualifier and made second-team all-league.
Among the expected return-ees are junior Josh Halbakken (160, 28-13) and sophomores Max Lenz (220, 29-13) and Christian Jodrey (14-24, 113). All three were district qualifiers, and Lenz made first-team all-league and Halbakken was second-team all-league.
Others expected to return include junior Levi Piceno (120) and sophomores Ryan Coletta (152) and Nate McKelvey (145). Coletta was a district alternate, while Piceno was a district qualifier last season.
"We've got some building to do," Moore said. "We're hitting the hallways and we're going to talk to anybody we can. We probably have our best freshmen class coming in. We had four guys qualify for the junior high state tournament, which is the most we've ever had."
Girls basketball team had successful season
The girls basketball team produced its highest win total in nearly a decade this season under first-year coach Jason Crawford.
Seeded 14th in the 50-team Division I district tournament, the Golden Eagles opened the postseason with a 57-37 victory over 24th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a second-round game Feb. 23 before losing to fourth-seeded Reynoldsburg 68-42 in a semifinal Feb. 28 to finish 17-7 overall.
"We did a lot of good things this season," Crawford said. "Obviously, anytime you win 17 games, that's a pretty good season. I don't think they've won that many since (finishing 19-5 in) the 2008-09 season."
That season, Big Walnut won a Division II district championship before losing in a regional semifinal.
The Golden Eagles also finished in the top half of the OCC-Capital this season, going 6-4 to tie Canal Winchester and New Albany for second behind Newark (10-0) and ahead of Groveport (2-8) and Franklin Heights (0-10).
Big Walnut is losing three seniors in forwards Katie Cochran and Paige Norman and guard Stacey Walters.
Cochran averaged a team-high 12.9 points and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Among the expected return-ees are junior guard Erin Boehm, junior center Abby Facemyer and sophomore guard Avery Schone. Boehm averaged 10.1 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, while Schone averaged 8.3 points and was honorable mention all-district and Facemyer was honorable mention all-league.
Also expected to return are juniors Riley Bussen (guard) and Emily Neff (forward) and sophomores Jessica Anderson (guard), Alexis Schone (guard), Brooke Stooksbury (forward/center) and Alyssa Tarney (guard/forward).
@ThisWeekSportsAt a glance
*Record: 17-7 overall, 6-4 (tied for second) in OCC-Capital
*Seniors lost: Katie Cochran, Paige Norman and Stacey Walters
*Key returnees: Abby Facemyer and Avery Schone
*Finishes: Tied for third in OCC-Capital, seventh at sectional, 18th at district
*Seniors lost: Luke Apple, Tanner Daniels, Cole Foster, Noah Mason and Bailey Munday
*Key returnees: Ryan Coletta, Josh Halbakken, Christian Jodrey, Max Lenz, Nate McKelvey and Levi Piceno