The Groveport Madison High School wrestling team earned the OCC-Capital championship outright by beating host Newark 37-24 on Feb. 14.

The Cruisers, who finished 5-0 in the league, had clinched at least a share of the title by beating New Albany 28-25 on Feb. 7.

It was the third consecutive championship for Groveport, which shared the title with Newark in 2018 and won it outright in 2017 to break a 25-year streak without a title.

"We went in focused because the guys didn't want to share it," coach Brian Brison said. "I think we're showing that we're a good team and program and we want to continue to build on this. We finished 13-0 in duals. In our six tournaments, we won three, finished second in two others and were third in one."

Winning by pin against Newark were Jonathan Thompson (170 pounds), Skyler Mouser (182) and Jake Nelson (195). Earning decisions were Muhamad Conteh (113), Dylan Blackburn (132), A.J. Joyce (220) and Te'Rah Edwards (heavyweight).

"It is very difficult to win a championship," Brison said. "I feel fortunate to have worked with such great coaches and wrestlers to make something like this happen. The guys have really bought in from the beginning and their attitudes in the room have been phenomenal. I am so proud of everyone and it is great to see all of the hard work pay off."

Groveport will enter a 10-team Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 23, at Upper Arlington with a lot of momentum, as it also won the 18-team Canal Winchester Invitational on Feb. 9, totaling 169 points to edge runner-up Westland (164).

Nelson finished first, Conteh, Thompson and Jason Pinkston (120) all placed third and Edwards and Josh Aguon (126) finished fourth.

At sectional, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby.

"I know we have a lot of good wrestlers on this team and if we wrestle like we are capable of we will have a good showing," Brison said. "I know this team is not just happy with winning a league championship and many of them want to advance to districts and state. I think we have a lot of guys capable of qualifying for districts and a handful of guys that can do some damage in districts and possibly make it to state."

Season concludes for swimmers at district

The swimming teams ended their seasons at the Division I district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State.

The boys team competed in three events and the girls team competed in two.

Senior Spencer Keane was unable to return to state in the 100-yard breaststroke, where he placed 22nd last season. He placed ninth (1 minute, .7 seconds) in the event at district and finished 25th in the 100 freestyle (49.66).

Keane was seeded sixth in the 100 breast (59.73) and 19th in the 100 free (49.37) at district based on sectional times.

"It wasn't his best day, but he had a great career and was a state qualifier last year," coach Illana Weber said. "I'm extremely proud of him and everyone who competed at district."

The 200 free relay of junior Jordan Murphy, sophomore Carl Giddens, freshman Trevor Keane and Spencer Keane was seeded 29th and finished 29th (1:42.23).

"The relay dropped a second off their season-best time and that was a good way to finish," Weber said.

The top two finishers in each swimming event automatically qualified for the state meet Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.

The girls team was represented at district by junior Madison Newsom in the 500 free and the 200 medley relay.

Newsom placed 22nd (5:33.07) in her second district appearance, and teamed with freshman Gabby Monjaras, sophomore Jazlyn Winski and senior Haylee Ottman to finish 25th in the 200 medley relay (2:08.71). It was the program's first relay to qualify for district.

Newsom was seeded 25th in the 500 free and the 200 medley relay was seeded 30th.

"Madison dropped two seconds and the medley relay dropped a second off its season-best time," Weber said. "I'm proud of them."

Groveport had no divers this season.

Boys basketball team preps for Cardinals

The boys basketball team is preparing to play host to 23rd-seeded St. Charles in the first round of the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 23.

Groveport is 13-9 and seeded 21st of 47 teams in the tournament.

It will be the teams' second meeting, as the Cruisers edged the Cardinals 56-54 on Feb. 2 after leading 34-21 at halftime.

The winner will play at 17th-seeded Thomas Worthington in the second round March 1.

The Cruisers finished 5-5 in the OCC-Capital after losing at Big Walnut 53-40 on Feb. 15. They placed fourth in the league behind Newark (8-2), Canal Winchester (7-3) and Big Walnut (6-4) and ahead of New Albany (4-6) and Franklin Heights (0-10).

Nakhi Taylor had 15 points against Big Walnut and Elijah Hawk scored 10.

Bowling teams set for sectional

The bowling teams begin the Division I postseason this week at HP Lanes.

The girls will be among 38 teams in the sectional Friday, Feb. 22, and the boys will be in a 43-team field Saturday, Feb. 23. In each tournament, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district March 2 at HP Lanes.

Senior Leah Deaner of the girls team led the entire 46-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference with a 197.5 average. Jessica Clayton (125.1) was next for the Cruisers, followed by Suzie Francis (121.6), Makayla Harold (116.3) and Kayla Sheets (110.2).

Jeremiah DeLong led the boys team with a 165.4 average, followed by William Lawson (165.3), Jeremiah Slonaker (161.7), Sabashton Ferguson (155.9) and Jamell Mitchell (149.1).

Girls basketball team ousted by Tigers

The girls basketball team finished 5-18 overall after losing at top-seeded Pickerington Central 77-29 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 16.

The Cruisers, who were seeded 38th of 45 teams, trailed 23-6 after the first quarter and 48-21 at halftime. Sophomore Casey Humphrey led Groveport with 14 points.

Groveport went 2-8 in the OCC-Capital to place fifth behind champion Newark (10-0).

The Cruisers are losing five seniors in Brooke Reese, Reina Rhone, DeeDee Seck, Lanie White and Alauna Wilburn.

In addition to Humphrey, expected to return are juniors Kiarra Chambers and Hailey Gidley, sophomores Sey Ba and Sha'Ron Whatley and freshmen Emilee Dillon, Arianna Ellis and Alauna Nguyen.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek