The Hartley High School wrestling team had a program-record performance at this year's Division II state tournament held March 7-9 at Ohio State.
Not only did sophomore Micah Norwood (138 pounds) became the fourth wrestler in program history to finish as state runner-up, but he, senior Griffin Rathburn (195) and junior Michael Petrella (113) are the first trio for the Hawks to place at state in the same season.
"When we look back in a couple days or weeks, it'll be good," coach Kevin Petrella said. "It's a good learning experience, too, for everyone. The best is yet to come."
Norwood was agonizingly close to capturing the program's first state title. He opened state with wins over Sandusky's Eian Sherman (6-3), Aurora's Kyle Peterson (5-1) and Eaton's Wade Monebrake (5-4). He then was leading St. Paris Graham's Alek Martin 5-3 in overtime before being called for two penalty points that tied the match, and Martin went on to win 6-5 in an ultimate tiebreaker.
"I just have to come back next year and work hard during the season and stay more focused in the matches," said Norwood, who finished the season 32-4. "When I look at it going in, it was a great year. A lot of people wouldn't be in the state final. It's a good learning experience to get over that nervousness on the big stage."
Norwood's finish was the best placement in Petrella's 10 seasons as coach. The previous best was Kristopher Hill's third-place finish at 113 in 2015.
Rathburn, who was eighth at state at 195 last season, opened by pinning Germantown Valley View's Christian Meyers in 1 minute, 34 seconds and beat Wapakoneta's Trevor Plaugher 5-2, but lost to Aurora's Colin McNamara 2-1 in a semifinal and Louisville's Brent Paulus 13-5 in the fourth round of consolation.
Rathburn then defeated Springfield Northwestern's Nathan Snyder 5-3 to place fifth and finish 50-6.
"I'm happy about being a two-time state placer, but I'm also disappointed because it's been my dream to run out on the floor for the finals since I was in seventh grade and I didn't accomplish that," Rathburn said. "I'm also very appreciative of my dad (John) and coach Kevin Petrella because without them, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wrestled well, for the most part. I'm happy to be higher on the podium than I was last year."
Junior Michael Petrella placed seventh at 113 after finishing seventh at 106 last season.
After opening with a default win over Goshen's Chase Huff, Petrella lost to Tontogany Otsego's Jake Manley 5-3 to fall to the backdraw. He beat Sandusky's Rico Cunningham 12-7 but lost to Chardon's Jake Hamulak 5-1 before beating New Lexington's Blake Sheppard 6-0 in the seventh-place match to finish 46-6.
"I felt like I could have beaten both kids I lost to," Petrella said.
"I just have to work on my stances."
Hartley scored 36 points at state to finish 14th behind champion Graham (123.5) as 80 teams scored.
Rathburn led a senior class that also featured district qualifiers Nate Jackson (220) and Keegan Moran (145). Moran finished 41-12 and Jackson finished 35-9, and both earned more than 100 career victories.
Junior Joey Petrella (160) went 34-7 and qualified for district.
He, his brother, Michael, and Rathburn, all have more than 100 career victories.
Others eligible to return include sophomores Brody Halenar (170), Noah Houchins (120), Cody Ihm (126) and Tony Thivener (182) and freshman Vincent Geiser (145). Thivener finished 17-19.
Hartley won its sixth consecutive CCL championship and had seven sectional placers.
Boys basketball team advances to regional
For the first time since the 2014-15 season, the boys basketball team is headed to the Division II regional tournament.
The Hawks will play Dayton Northridge in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Kettering Fairmont, with the winner facing Cincinnati Aiken or Trotwood-Madison in a regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Fairmont.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal March 21 at Ohio State.
Hartley earned back-to-back close victories to capture a district title.
After getting three free throws from Morgan Safford with 0.8 of a second left to beat second-seeded Jonathan Alder 36-35 in a district semifinal March 5 at Olentangy Orange, the fourth-seeded Hawks defeated CCL rival and third-seeded DeSales 50-48 in a district final March 9 at Ohio Dominican.
Against the Stallions, Colby Rankin made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to support a 22-point performance by Safford.
Hartley, which lost to DeSales 50-47 on Dec. 21 but beat the Stallions 57-56 on Feb. 1, is 15-9 heading into the regional.
"I got my opportunity and just had to step up," Rankin said.
"They were doubling Morgan and when I got the open look, I just had to shoot it. I knew it was going to be close. CCL games always come down to the wire. But it's not about how you start, it's how you finish."
Rankin's playing time has increased since senior forward Payton Collins was lost to an injury in late January.
The Hawks also went through a stretch late in the season without senior guard/forward Braylon Mi-tchell because of an injury.
Northridge beat Cincinnati Taft 60-58 in a district final March 7 to improve to 18-7 while Trotwood-Madison is 23-2 and Aiken is 20-6 heading into their matchup.
Twon Hines made 12 of 14 foul shots and finished with 32 points against Taft to lead the Polar Bears, who have won 13 of their last 14 games.
"I just feel fortunate," Hawks coach Randy Kortokrax said.
"We didn't have the easiest schedule. The second game (against DeSales) was one of the most incredible games as a high school basketball coach with us coming back from 14 in the fourth quarter. They're deeper than we are."