Throughout his first season on the Dublin Coffman High School wrestling team, freshman Seth Shumate has found it easy to recognize the backbone of the program.
"I feel like this team is a bunch of hard workers," Shumate said. "We've gone in every day of practice wanting to get better, pushing ourselves to the limit every day, and they're like my brothers."
That attitude helped the Shamrocks yield a pair of rewards earlier this month.
Coffman advanced to the Division I state team dual tournament for the third time in four seasons Feb. 2 when it won the Region 5 championship at Marysville. Then with a 40-18 victory over Upper Arlington on Feb. 7, the Shamrocks clinched at least a share of the OCC-Central Division championship.
Coffman can earn the league title outright if it wins Thursday, Feb. 14, at home against Hilliard Davidson. The Shamrocks then compete Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles.
Shumate has proven to be one of central Ohio's top 195-pound wrestlers this winter.
On Feb. 10 in the state dual tournament at Ohio State's St. John Arena, seventh-seeded Coffman lost to second-seeded and eventual state champion Lakewood St. Edward 60-15 in a quarterfinal.
Shumate was one of three Shamrocks to win a match along with sophomore Jimmy Baumann (120) and senior Lennox Wolak (182).
The only other seniors in Coffman's lineup against St. Edward were Eric Feng (heavyweight), Jacob Hamed (145) and Antonio Gonzalez (152).
"It's our third time (at state) in the last four years," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "It's a good mix (of youth and experience). Seth is a freshman. Jimmy's only a sophomore. (Freshman) Rupert (Moore at 113) has been in our dual lineup the whole season. (Shumate has) surpassed our expectations."
Girls team continues perfect league run
With a 105-35 victory over Central Crossing on Feb. 7, the girls basketball team wrapped up a third consecutive outright OCC-Central title.
The Shamrocks, who also shared the OCC-Central title in 2015-16, have won 36 consecutive league games.
Against the Comets, senior guard Jacy Sheldon had 35 points and freshman guard Imarianah Russell scored 26 as Coffman improved to 20-2 overall and finished 10-0 in the league.
The third-seeded Shamrocks open the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 16, at home against 39th-seeded Grove City. The winner plays host to 40th-seeded Westland in a second-round game Wednesday, Feb. 20, with that winner facing eighth-seeded Gahanna, 35th-seeded Logan or 41st-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Feb. 27.
Sheldon enters the postseason with 2,266 career points to rank 19th on the OHSAA's all-time scoring list. She also ranks second all-time among players from the Central District, behind only 2007 Jonathan Alder graduate Lauren Prochaska (2,695).
Boys basketball team wraps up league title
The boys basketball team heads into its OCC-Central finale Friday, Feb. 15, at home against Upper Arlington already having wrapped up the league title.
Coffman improved to 19-0 overall and 9-0 in the league with a 58-39 victory over Central Crossing on Feb. 8 as Luke Bartemes led four players in double figures with 13 points.
The Shamrocks, who close the regular season Saturday, Feb. 16, at home against Parkersburg (West Virginia) South, have a two-game lead over UA (7-2) in the OCC-Central.
Coffman is the No. 1 seed for the 47-team Division I district tournament and will play host to 46th-seeded Whetstone in the first round Feb. 23.
Swimmers shine at sectional meet
On Feb. 9 in a Division I sectional at Kenyon College, the girls swimming team scored 266 points to finish first of nine teams and the boys scored 239 points to finish third of 10 teams, behind St. Charles (299) and Jerome (280).
Capturing titles for the girls were the 200-yard medley relay of Cameron Das, Ellie Andrews, Hannah Bailey and Ryoka Nishibori (1 minute, 45.6 seconds), the 200 free relay of Kristyn Sabol, Nishibori, Ava Warren and Bailey (1:36.85), the 400 free relay of Sabol, Nishibori, Warren and Andrews (3:33.54), Andrews in the 200 individual medley (2:06.42), Bailey in the 100 butterfly (56.05) and 100 breaststroke (1:03.21), Nishibori in the 100 freestyle (53.16) and Sabol in the 200 free (1:54.69).
Winning for the boys were the 200 medley relay of Zac Stump, Brendan Oshida, Zak Birnbrich and Cole Northup (1:37.89), Birnbrich in the 100 fly (51.14) and Will Randall in the 200 free (1:44.54).
The Shamrocks will be well-represented in the district meet Friday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Gymnasts prep for district meet
The gymnastics team next competes in the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne.
On Feb. 9 in the OCC-Capital meet at Thomas Worthington, Coffman finished seventh (96.45) of eight teams, behind champion Davidson (129.8).
In the all-around competition, Lauren Delfunt finished 13th (29.425), Lex Lewis was 18th (28.125) and Jordan Jones placed 23rd (26.35). Lexi Dempsey also competed in the league meet.
Hockey team getting set for postseason
The hockey team is the 10th seed for the district tournament and opens the postseason at 8:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, against 12th-seeded Beavercreek in a first-round game at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The winner plays 11th-seeded Oxford Talawanda or 14th-seeded Thomas Worthington in the second round at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Chiller North, with that winner facing top-seeded Jerome, 23rd-seeded Scioto or 25th-seeded Cincinnati Elder in a district quarterfinal at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ice Haus.
On Feb. 7 in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup tournament, eighth-seeded Coffman lost to top-seeded and eventual champion Jerome 11-1 to drop to 10-20.
Athletes announce college decisions
Twelve student-athletes announced their college decisions during the February signing period that began Feb. 6.
Committing in football were Ethan Brown (Marietta), Ryan Hamilton (Columbia), Josh Pittro (Ohio Dominican), Devin Zinser (Ohio Dominican) and Zach Zinser (Ohio Dominican).
Also committing were Nick Harris (Notre Dame), Evan James (Loyola), Zach Kasun (Denison) and Ethan Tyack (Denison) in men's lacrosse, Ellie Redman (Ohio Wesleyan) in women's soccer, Colin Kirkley (Ohio Wesleyan) in men's soccer and Lennox Wolak (Columbia) in wrestling..