With the lineup suffering from a lack of depth, the Columbus Academy wrestling team is focusing more on individual success.
The Vikings played host to West Jefferson and Buckeye Valley on Jan. 24 in a pair of matches that included numerous forfeits, but coach Paul Bukky saw several bright spots.
Academy lost to West Jefferson 35-21 and to Buckeye Valley 42-36, but "they gave it a pretty good fight," Bukky said. "We're probably above our heads with these teams."
Chris Sugar, who has competed at 132 and 138 pounds this season, was a team-best 19-4 heading into the New Albany Invitational on Jan. 26. He is one of the wrestlers Bukky is hoping can excel in the postseason.
Thomas Jones, who was 14-6 at 160 and 170, should be another postseason contender.
"With a lot of young talent, we have a ton of potential and we're improving," Jones said. "We have a lot of first-time wrestlers with our freshmen. As upperclassmen, we're working them hard, drilling them hard in practice so they get better and that's proven out on the mat."
Keir Gorospe (120/126) was 12-6, Ethan Stahl (170/182) was 11-3, Gyvnn Mendenhall (182/195) was 9-2, Bobby Henderson (132) was 6-1 and Ethan Halpern (126/132) was 6-3 entering the New Albany tournament.
Only a freshman, Mendenhall has high hopes for the postseason.
"I've learned it takes a lot of mental toughness," he said. "You could be hurt a little bit, but you have to push through it and not let it get in your head. ... Coach Bukky always finds a way to lift us up even if we lose. He works us hard and that's really going to pay off the more we grow as a team."
Academy will compete in the Division III team dual tournament beginning Saturday, Feb. 2, with regional action at Nelsonville-York.
The Vikings also will compete in the MSL-Ohio Division tournament Feb. 16 at Whitehall. The event has been converted to a dual format because of a lack of teams.
The postseason begins with a Division III sectional Feb. 23 at Madison Plains.
The Vikings were scheduled to hold the Kevin Michael Invitational on Jan. 19 at home, but the tournament was canceled because of bad weather.
Swimming teams sweep league titles
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams both captured MSL championships Jan. 26 at home.
The boys scored 313 points to finish first of 12 teams, ahead of runner-up Bexley (189).
Jacob Eismann won the 200-yard freestyle (meet-record 1 minute, 43.78 seconds) and 100 free (meet-record 46.61), Eric DeVore won the 50 free (22.67), Jack Campbell won the 100 backstroke (56.75) and Mike DeAscentis won the 100 breaststroke (1:04.63).
Eismann, Campbell, DeVore and DeAscentis won the 200 medley relay (1:39.66) and 200 free relay (meet-record 1:28.11), and Drake Bellisari, Ethan Nankervis, Jacob Beck and James Cao won the 400 free relay (3:36.25).
Eismann was named MSL Swimmer of the Year for the fourth consecutive season.
The girls finished first (353) of 13 teams, ahead of second-place Grandview (218).
Winners were Sarah Cabre in the 200 free (2:03.42) and 100 butterfly (1:02.31), Samantha Kass in the 100 free (55.25) and Abby Yakam in the 100 breast (1:14.68).
Cabre, Kass, Lauren Klinefelter and Alexandra Butnariu won the 200 free relay (meet-record 1:42.29), and Butnariu, Cabre, Annalise Grammel and Mary Kate Prall won the 400 free relay (3:49.78).
Cabre was named the league's Swimmer of the Year.
Boys basketball team stays in league race
The boys basketball team remains in a battle for first place in the MSL-Ohio.
The Vikings, who were 10-4 overall before playing West Jefferson on Jan. 29, are 3-2 in the league.
Whitehall also is 3-2 while Worthington Christian and Grandview both are 3-3.
Academy lost at Worthington Christian 54-48 on Jan. 25 as Dalyn DeCree scored 13 points and Mitch Priest added 10.
The Vikings played without Carter Warstler, who suffered a sprained ankle when he slipped on ice arriving to the game.
Warstler scored 22 points in a 42-40 win at Whitehall on Jan. 23. The game had been postponed Jan. 12 because of bad weather.
Girls basketball team falls to Bexley
The girls basketball team was 5-9 overall before playing New Hope Christian on Jan. 29.
Sophie Spolter scored 15 points in a 49-33 loss at Bexley on Jan. 25 as the Vikings fell to 0-5 in the MSL-Ohio.
Spolter scored 13 points in a 36-32 loss to visiting Independence on Jan. 23.
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey and wrestling teams:
*Feb.1 -- Home vs. Bexley. The Vikings defeated the Lions 51-39 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 5 -- Home vs. Ready
Jan. 31 -- At Harvest Prep
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Grandview. The Vikings lost to the Bobcats 33-27 on Dec. 21.
Feb. 5 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Feb. 1 -- Marion-Franklin at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Feb. 2 -- MSL tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Feb. 5 -- Columbus International at Sequoia Pro Bowl
*Feb. 6 -- Haugland Learning Center at Capri Lanes
Feb. 1 -- Westerville at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 2 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 3 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Easton
Jan. 31 -- At West Jefferson with Grandview
Feb. 2 -- Division III, Region 22 team dual tournament at Nelsonville-York
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll, Grandview and Marion-Franklin