When Mitch Potterf made his first trip to the Division I state wrestling tournament last season, he was harboring doubts about his abilities.
Those feelings of uncertainty quickly went away once the Westerville North High School standout locked up with an opponent in his first match. Potterf went on to finish seventh at 170 pounds.
This year, the senior has visions of winning the 182-pound championship. The tournament begins Thursday, March 7, and concludes Saturday, March 9, at Ohio State.
"Going to state last year, I learned that I was better than I thought it was," said Potterf, who will be joined at state by 220-pound senior Jacob Goldsmith and 132-pound freshman Connor Euton. "I didn't think I could compete at that high of a level and once I got there and got my hands on some kids, I felt like I was unstoppable.
"This year, I will have a lot more confidence. I feel unbreakable, unstoppable and I want to go in there with more aggression than anyone else and beat them up. I think I'm the most aggressive wrestler in the state and I'm really hungry and want to show that on the mat."
Potterf won a district title March 2 at Hilliard Darby and enters state at 29-1. Euton also won a district championship and is 30-8.
"I have been to state a couple of times (to watch)," Euton said. "One thing I keep in mind is that all of those people are there and it's nerve-racking and everything, but not everyone there is watching me unless I make a fool out of myself. Then, everyone will be watching me. My fans and the people who surround me are there watching and I want to do well for them. That takes the pressure off."
Goldsmith was runner-up at district and is 28-6. He works out every day in practice with Potterf, which has been beneficial to both.
"It's intense and we give each other good reps," said Goldsmith, who will be making his first state appearance. "The conditioning is great and we really go at it hard. We have done a lot of things to help each other."
Potterf said he has been working out against Goldsmith throughout his prep career and will savor this final week of going head to head on the mat.
"Jake is my drill partner and I have known him my whole life," Potterf said. "That will be great getting ready for state."
The Warriors advanced 11 competitors to district, where they finished sixth (93 points) behind champion Dublin Coffman (170) as 36 teams scored.
Senior Caden Crist (152; 1-2), juniors Jacob Grant (145; 1-2) and Eli Williams (160; 0-2) and sophomores Sylvester Bockarie (138; 2-2), Nico Candido (170; 1-2), Jake Gooding (120; 1-2), Nate Morse (126; 0-2) and Gabe Ohle (113; 2-2) also competed.
"I was happy to get 11 guys (to district) to get experience, with eight of those guys coming back next year," coach David Grant said. "The last time we had three guys in the finals was probably 2008. It was a good night."
Boys basketball team reaches district semi
The boys basketball team reached its second consecutive Division I district semifinal, where it played fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty on March 6.
The 22nd-seeded Warriors were 13-10 before playing the Patriots.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 16th-seeded Olentangy in a district final Saturday, March 9, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. North split with the Braves in OCC-Buckeye Division play, losing 65-63 on Nov. 30 and winning 72-62 on Jan. 25.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio Dominican.
After a first-round bye, North defeated 28th-seeded Grove City 78-66 on March 1 at home as Jeremiah Keene led four players in double figures with 24 points. Charles Perkins scored 20, Camden Ledford had 13 and Philip Alston added 10.
Bowlers end season at district
The girls bowling team finished eighth (3,106) in the 16-team Division I district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes as Westerville Central (3,785), Big Walnut (3,629) and Westerville South (3,465) advanced to state.
Senior Kaitlyn Sturgell rolled a 539 series to finish 14th of 104 bowlers. Delaware's Kelsey Rohrer (580) was the third and final individual state qualifier.
Senior Lexi Hagemann (521, 21st), sophomore Sophia Soisson (451, 53rd), freshman Megan Holmes (393, tied for 74th) and junior Danielle Pratt (355, 79th) also participated.
Soisson (177.6) led the Warriors in average, followed by Sturgell (158.0), Hagemann (152.4), Pratt (140.5) and Holmes (139.1).
In the boys district tournament, senior Jason Sturgell rolled a 533 to finish 61st of 106 competitors. Whitehall's Jason Kefauver (654) was the third and final individual state qualifier.
Junior Jonathan Pratt led North with a 170.9 average, followed by Jason Sturgell (167.4), sophomore Will Mueller (1608) and junior Alex Sarakinakis (143.4).