The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team is getting healthy at the right time.
The Pacers have been without some of their top wrestlers at times this season, as senior Jacob McCloskey (stitches) and juniors Corbin May (broken nose), Nate Robinson (ankle) and Mason Sutandar (torn meniscus in knee) have shuffled in and out of the lineup.
"It looks like Mason will be back (for the Rieman Invitational on Jan. 26) and that will put us back at full strength for the first time since the first week (of the season)," co-coach Josh Lamb said. "We're pretty excited about that and it gives them all some preparation time before the team tournament and the Division I sectionals."
The Pacers will compete in the Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Marysville.
Also competing at the site are Big Walnut, Dublin Coffman, Gahanna, Marysville, Mifflin, New Albany, Olentangy, Reynoldsburg, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington, Westerville South, Whitehall and Worthington Kilbourne.
The regional champion advances to a state quarterfinal Feb. 10 at Ohio State's St. John Arena. The state semifinals and final also will be held that day.
The individual tournament begins Feb. 23 with sectional competition.
"It's been a patchwork approach in the OCC (-Cardinal Division) duals," Lamb said. "In addition to those guys, we've had sickness and skin issues as well. Zach Williams had the flu last week and didn't compete at (the) Top Gun (Invitational). It's been a bit frustrating, but it looks like we finally get everyone back together."
In the Top Gun Invitational held Jan. 18 and 19 at Alliance, McCloskey finished second at 195 pounds, junior Emmett Cain placed sixth at 160, May was seventh at 182 and Robinson was eighth at 220.
"We knew we'd be strong in our upper weights, but in the past we've had Cain, Sutandar and May all competing at 170," Lamb said. "We told them before the season that we needed them all in the lineup with McCloskey and Robinson following them, so they sat down and figured which direction they wanted to go and then worked hard to reach those weights and all three have been successful."
Entering an OCC-Cardinal dual Jan. 24 against Kilbourne, Cain was 23-8 with a team-best 41 takedowns and was tied with Robinson for most pins on the team with 11. May was 17-3, Williams was 16-3 at 138, McCloskey was 20-6, Robinson was 20-8 and Sutandar was 3-2.
Others with winning records were Clay Ours (195, 12-5), Tamas Eder (106, 14-10), Zach Pokorny (heavyweight, 7-4) and Tristan Burton (145, 9-8).
The Pacers defeated Thomas Worthington 73-6 in an OCC-Capital dual Jan. 18 and were 3-1 in the league before Jan. 24.
"It's been a pretty good season, but I'm still working hard at improving on the bottom," May said. "As for the team, I think we can make some big noise in the team tournament now that we have everyone back. Our goal is to get to state and I think we have that capability. I think we have up to six guys who can make it to state individually. We've just got to go out and prove ourselves."
According to Lamb, McCloskey has been a great role model.
"Jacob didn't win a match as a freshman and won two as a sophomore and now look at him," Lamb said. "He's a testament to hard work and we point him out to all of the younger guys who are struggling now. He's a hard worker, a great student and it was special to see him reach the final at Top Gun."
McCloskey, who is ranked 11th in the state in his weight class in Division I by BorofanOhio.net, said he has been encouraging all of his younger teammates.
"This sport can be very discouraging for young guys; it can break your heart," McCloskey said. "You put in a bunch of work and you don't feel like you get rewarded for it, but you have to keep after it like I did. My freshman year, I fractured my wrist and my sophomore year I tore ligaments in my elbow. But my drill partner (as a freshman), (2016 graduate) Chris Martinez, was fantastic and kept my emotions up and that's what I've tried to do for all of our young guys this year. I hope I am a role model to them and then they can pass it down the line when they are juniors and seniors."
Girls basketball team stuns Cardinals
The girls basketball team held off visiting Thomas Worthington 57-48 on Jan. 22, preventing the Cardinals from moving into a first-place tie in the OCC-Cardinal standings.
The Pacers led 28-19 at halftime and expanded their lead to 13 points during the third quarter before watching Thomas take advantage of turnovers to trim the gap to three points midway through the fourth quarter.
"The girls made big shots and handled the defensive pressure pretty well all game except for that one spurt when (Thomas) cut the lead to three points," said coach Lou Tiberi, whose team had lost to the Cardinals 54-46 on Dec. 17 in the first round of league play. "But we made our free throws down the stretch and widened the margin to double digits again.
"We had a size advantage and I thought we played well. We talked about winning some of these games the second time around in league play and we've got two of them so far."
Delaware was 8-8 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Scioto on Jan. 25. Thomas fell to 7-3 in the league with the loss to the Pacers and was one game behind co-leaders Hilliard Darby and Scioto (both 8-2) entering play Jan. 25.
Jordan Lantz had a team-high 15 points against Thomas. Karli Theis had 11 points, Piper Adkins scored 10 and Alyssa Griner added eight.
The Pacers fell to Darby 51-33 on Jan. 18. Chloe Jeffers had 16 points to lead Delaware and Lantz scored 10.
Through 16 games, Lantz was averaging 10 points, followed by Griner (8.2), Jeffers (8.2), Theis (6.5) and Adkins (5.5).
Delaware continues to be without Alexis Amabile, who was averaging 16.5 points before suffering a hand injury. The sophomore guard hasn't played since Dec. 21.
"We got some bad news. Alexis may be done for the season," Tiberi said. "It looks like she's going to have surgery after doctors found ligament damage in her wrist and she is likely done for the season. We also were without Griner in the Darby game thanks to an injury and we couldn't rotate as many girls in and our girls got gassed."
Boys basketball team falls to Cardinals
The boys basketball team fell into a third-place tie in the league standings with a 70-56 loss to host Thomas on Jan. 22.
The Pacers were 10-4 overall and 6-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Scioto on Jan. 25. The Cardinals also were 6-3 in the league entering play Jan. 25, behind Hilliard Bradley (9-0) and Dublin Jerome (7-2).
Delaware will play host to Bradley on Friday, Feb. 1, after visiting Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The Pacers were outscored by Thomas 36-17 in the first half, including 19-7 in the second quarter.
Terin Kinsway had 16 points, Nate Griggs and Paul Burris both scored 12 and Jwan Lyles added 10 for Delaware, which had defeated the Cardinals 76-73 on Dec. 17.
The Pacers beat Darby 67-45 in a league game Jan. 18 as Kinsway had 25 points, Griggs scored 14 and Addison Harvey scored 12.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
*Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 57-46 on Jan. 4.
Jan. 30 -- At Mount Gilead
*Feb. 1 -- At Hilliard Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 39-35 on Jan. 4.
*Jan. 28 -- Olentangy at Colony Lanes
*Jan. 29 -- Grandview at Colony Lanes
*Feb. 1 -- Groveport at Colony Lanes
Jan. 29 -- At Dublin Coffman with *Dublin Jerome and *Dublin Scioto
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 31 -- Marysville at Marysville YMCA
Jan. 31 -- At Olentangy Liberty
Feb. 2 -- TBD in Division I, Region 5 team dual tournament at Marysville