Mason Sutandar of the Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team said his first experience in the Division I state tournament will benefit him in the future.
The sophomore went 0-2 at 170 pounds in the state tournament held March 8-10 at Ohio State.
"This will motivate me and push me to get stronger and better for next season," Sutandar said. "It showed me what it will take to get back to state and win some matches. I've already started back with my running routine and my lifting will start (Monday, March 19)."
Sutandar finished fourth in the district tournament March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby, meaning his first-round match at state was against a district champion.
That district champion also happened to be the defending state champion, Emil Soehnlen of Massillon Perry. Soehnlen pinned Sutandar in 1 minute, 19 seconds and went on to place third.
Sutandar then lost 7-2 to Lakewood St. Edward's Michael Garcar to finish the season 28-19.
"Getting to the state tournament was an awesome accomplishment," said Josh Heffernan, who has stepped down after 12 seasons as coach to take the same position at Olentangy Berlin. "Mason really peaked at the end of the season as we planned. He did not have an easy road in any of the postseason tournaments. In fact, he placed fourth in the sectional, but those four guys also were the four state qualifiers -- (Olentangy) Liberty's Carson Kharchla, Westerville North's Mitch Potterf, Lancaster's Jordan Deluse and Mason.
"Kharchla ended up winning a state title and Potterf placed seventh. That's a tough pairing and Mason is the youngest of them. Then, Mason matched up with the returning state champion at state in the first round. I think he learned a lot about the need for strength and intensity to succeed at the highest level. I know he'll make the adjustments this offseason to not only be back at (state) next year, but also to find his way onto the podium."
Sutandar was the only state qualifier for the Pacers. He went 3-2 at district, where the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
Also at district, junior Zach Williams (132) and sophomore Corbin May (160) both went 2-2 and placed sixth and junior Jacob McCloskey (182) went 0-2, as the Pacers scored 28 points to finish 23rd behind champion Lancaster (170) as 38 teams scored. Williams finished the season 31-15, May went 32-15 and McCloskey was 20-17.
In a 10-team sectional Feb. 24 at Newark, May was runner-up and Sutandar, McCloskey and Williams all finished fourth, as the Pacers scored 101 points to tie Newark for fifth behind champion Lancaster (223).
Seniors Demeko Barnes (126, 16-11) and Zane Hypes (195, 22-11) both placed fifth and were district alternates.
Junior J.P. Lantz (heavyweight, 6-19), sophomore Nathan Robinson (220, 21-15) and freshman Tamas Eder (106, 12-20) all finished sixth. Also competing were sophomores Tristan Burton (145, 9-19), Zach Raquepaw (120, 15-19) and Ethan Rupp (138, 4-12) and freshman Clay Ours (152, 5-16).
"The system we have set up helps guys to improve their skill at a rapid rate," Heffernan said. "The schedule we have is a tough one. I am very happy with this group's dedication to improvement. We (will) return a number of (letterwinners) and only lose two seniors from the sectional lineup (Barnes and Hypes). The other two seniors, Jake Henley (152) and Sean Hazelton (138), were injured."
Delaware went 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to share the league title with Hilliard Bradley. Darby and Dublin Scioto tied for third at 4-2, followed by Dublin Jerome (2-4), Worthington Kilbourne (1-5) and Thomas Worthington (0-6).
Sutandar and May made first-team all-league, Williams and Hypes were second team and Raquepaw, Robinson and freshman Ryan Chupko (120) were third team.
In 12 seasons under Heffernan, the Pacers won three league championships (2014, 2016, 2018) and three Division I sectional titles (2014, 2015, 2016) and made two appearances in the state team tournament (2014, 2016).
In addition, Delaware produced 14 state qualifiers, including five who placed. All of the state qualifiers were in the last seven seasons.
"I just found out (March 13) and this is a tough one," athletics director Steve Glesenkamp said. "I think a lot of coach Heffernan. He has a tremendous work ethic and cares about the complete student-athlete, not just what a kid does on the mats. He has developed a very strong coaching staff in the high school and middle school and he has gotten the parent and alumni base very committed to the program. He worked tremendously hard at forming a strong and vibrant youth program. He has done everything the right way. I just really value what he has done.
"It's a big loss for us, but we wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
Glesenkamp may not have to look far to find Heffernan's successor.
"The good news out of this is that he built such a strong coaching staff that we have plenty of internal candidates who likely are going to be willing to pick up where Josh left off," Glesenkamp said. "We had a young team that won an OCC title and the future is bright."
Rohrer caps bowling season at state
Junior Kelsey Rohrer represented the girls bowling team in the Division I state tournament March 10 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, rolling a 521 series (189-162-170) to place 55th of 104 competitors.
"It was kind of difficult to make adjustments, but I feel like I had a consistent day," Rohrer said. "I feel good about this experience. I got to bowl a game here last year when we made it as a team and I got to bowl a series this time. Next year, I want to bowl a series and compete as a team here."
The Pacers just missed qualifying for state as a team this season, as they finished fourth (3,220 pins) of 16 teams in the district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes, behind state-qualifiers Gahanna (3,596), Whitehall (3,438) and Westerville Central (3,360). Gahanna went on to win the state championship.
Rohrer rolled a 550 (150-178-222) to finish fourth of 102 competitors and earn the third and final individual state-qualifying berth. She edged out teammate Emma Wasielewski, a senior who was sixth with a 533.
Sophomore McKenzie Cooke (395) also rolled three games for the Pacers. Also competing were senior Reagan Olson and junior Alyssa Williams.
The Pacers finished third (3,486) in the 37-team sectional Feb. 24 at HP Lanes, behind Gahanna (3,642) and Whitehall (3,617), where the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district.
Wasielewski led Delaware with a 616 (227-206-183) to finish second of 208 competitors, behind Whitehall's Madison Stiffler (677).
Delaware finished 16-4 overall, went 6-0 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish ahead of Darby (5-1) and went 9-3 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division to place fourth behind champion Gahanna (12-0).
Also on the roster were senior Jenna VanGundy, who was in the sectional lineup, and juniors McKenzie Knodell and Laiha Slayton.
"The girls had a very good season and won their third straight (OCC-Cardinal) title," coach Darin Halstead said. "Unfortunately, we will lose three seniors and will need to find some girls to step up next year."
The boys team's season ended in the 38-team sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, where the Pacers finished 20th (3,146), 62 pins shy of 16th-place Groveport.
Senior D.J. Cocherl led the Pacers, finishing 51st (482) of 220 competitors. Whetstone's Nathan Vokac (45th, 493) earned the final individual district-qualifying spot.
Also competing in three games for Delaware were juniors Dillon Murfield, (58th, 476) and Shaun Bendele (97th, 435). Freshman Talon Coffee (332) competed in two games and freshman Mark Copley (132) bowled one.
Also on the roster were seniors Caleb Carroll and Dylan Jebode.
Delaware finished 12-8 overall, went 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to win the title ahead of runners-up Darby and Kilbourne (both 4-2) and went 5-7 in the COHSBC-A to place ninth behind champion Westerville Central (12-0).
@Brad_ThisWeekAt a glance
*Record: Boys -- 12-8 overall, 5-7 (ninth) in COHSBC-A, 5-1 (first) in OCC-Cardinal; Girls -- 16-4 overall, 9-3 (fourth) in COHSBC-A, 6-0 (first) in OCC-Cardinal
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Caleb Carroll, D.J. Cocherl and Dylan Jebode; Girls -- Reagan Olson, Jenna VanGundy and Emma Wasielewski
*Key returnees: Boys -- Shaun Bendele and Dillon Murfield; Girls -- McKenzie Cooke, Kelsey Rohrer and Alyssa Williams
*Finishes: Tied for first in OCC-Cardinal, fifth at sectional, 23rd at district, did not score at state
*Seniors lost: Demeko Barnes, Sean Hazelton, Jake Henley and Zane Hypes
*Key returnees: Tamas Eder, Corbin May, Jacob McCloskey, Zack Raquepaw, Nathan Robinson, Mason Sutandar and Zach Williams