The Dublin Scioto High School wrestling team is looking to carry the momentum of a strong showing at the Division I district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby into the sport's marquee event.
Qualifying for the state tournament that runs Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State were juniors Donovan Hardin (heavyweight), Deron Pulliam (195 pounds) and Daniel Segura (145) and sophomore Dylan Le (106).
It marks the most state qualifiers for Scioto since 1998 when it also sent four to state and finished eighth (38 points) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (185).
"It was an awesome day," said coach Adam Huddle, whose team finished eighth (90) at district behind champion Coffman (170) as 36 teams scored. "We try to think of the best ways to get our guys ready for the end of the year. Lifting and conditioning and peaking at the right time, it all adds up to the end of the season and then you try to get them ready for the last couple of weekends to make a run at the state tournament."
Segura, a three-time state qualifier, dominated his opponents in winning the district title. He went 4-0, recording two pins and two technical falls, including one in the final when he beat Olentangy Liberty's Jayce Fitzpatrick 23-8.
"He was on a mission and it looked like it," Huddle said. "He did a great job."
Last year at state, Segura went 3-2 and placed fourth at 138 to finish 43-2. As a freshman, he went 1-2 at state at 132 and finished 39-12.
Segura will face Harrison's Jacob Bernhardt (29-5) in the first round at state.
Pulliam, who has been battling an ankle injury, also is making a return trip to state. Last season, he went 3-2 and placed seventh at 182.
Pulliam went 3-1 and placed second at district, losing by forfeit to Coffman's Seth Shumate in the final.
"I think people really wanted to see that match with Shumate, but hopefully they just have to wait another week," Huddle said. "(The forfeit) was the right thing to do. We had made a plan to get in and get out as fast as we could. We need to get (Pulliam) another week healthier."
Pulliam (38-2) will face Maple Heights' Chrisean Merritt (33-3) in the first round at state.
Le earned his first state berth and captured his first district title, going 4-0 and beating Lancaster's Jacob Hutsler 6-5 in the final.
"Dylan has had a fantastic season," Huddle said. "You know you're a good wrestler when you start winning those good, quality matches even when you haven't wrestled your best. Dylan wrestled well, but he didn't wrestle his best, so he won a couple matches that he had to grind out. I'm really proud of him."
Le (40-5) will face Orab Western Brown's A.J. Hurt (34-14) in the first round at state.
Hardin had the most difficult path to reach state for Scioto. After losing to Licking Heights' Myers Slebo 14-8 in the first round, he won five consecutive matches, pinning Coffman's Eric Feng in 3 minutes, 53 seconds in a consolation match on his way to placing third.
Hardin also eliminated Feng at district last season, winning by pin (2:03) in a first-round consolation match on his way to finishing sixth.
"It was a lot of fun," Hardin said of the rematch. "I know it's his senior year, so I wish him the best in the future, but I wanted it so much that I wasn't going to let him beat me. I wasn't going to let my opportunity slip."
Hardin defeated Darby's Rodney Beneker 6-2 in the third-place match.
"It was do-or-die for four straight matches and to see him come back and win five straight, that was pretty impressive," Huddle said. "It was really fun to watch."
Hardin (34-10) will make his state debut with a first-round match against Massillon Perry's Max Millin (35-8).
"It doesn't end here (at district). We're going to keep on going and hopefully we can keep on moving and I can place at state," Hardin said. "At the beginning of the season, I said my goal was to make it to state."
Also competing at district were senior Bernie Duran, who went 1-2 at 220 to finish 11-5, and senior Scott Swain, who went 0-2 at 170 to finish 8-22. The top four finishers in each weight class qualified for state.
Season ends for girls basketball team
The girls basketball team posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2011-12 and 2012-13, as it finished 15-10 overall after going 12-11 last season.
The 17th-seeded Irish closed the season Feb. 27 with a 69-33 loss to top-seeded and defending state champion Pickerington Central in a Division I district semifinal at Central Crossing.
Sophomore guard/forward Karleigh Rothe led Scioto with 13 points.
"We had a couple of tournament wins and we made it to the (district) semis. I'm pretty pleased with how our season went," coach Jen Music said. "I told (the players) we can't let this game define our season because we had the most wins we've had in a long time. They had one heck of a year."
Junior guard Lauren Erickson was named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and honorable mention all-district, while forward Natalie Hutras, who was one of four seniors, was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Rothe was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Others eligible to return are juniors Alex Birko (guard), Marlae Davis (guard/forward), Fola Olujide-Ajibade (center) and Folu Olujide-Ajibade (center) and sophomores Ashleigh Rothe (guard/forward) and Avery Schwab (guard).
Scioto went 10-4 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish second behind champion Darby (12-2).
"We have pretty competitive kids, kids who work hard and play tough," Music said.