Making his first appearance in the Division I state tournament, Jay Thompson of the Worthington Kilbourne High School wrestling team lost both of his matches March 7 at Ohio State.

Competing at 220 pounds, the junior fell to Cincinnati West Clermont's Joe Wahl 9-5 in the first round before being eliminated with an 8-2 loss to North Royalton's Lazar Gasic.

"Jay had a great season and getting to state will be beneficial for him next season, regardless," first-year coach Jose Martinez said. "I still think he's going to continue to get better, especially on offense. He's pretty solid on defense. I look for him to get back next season and I'm hoping our other two (district qualifiers) will be with him and maybe a few more."

Thompson finished 37-9 and was not pinned all season. He qualified for state by placing fourth in the district tournament March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby.

Other district qualifiers expected to return are junior Kuric Buell (145) and sophomore Spencer Parker-Gordon (106).

A state qualifier last season, Buell finished 27-10 after placing fifth at district to be a state alternate, while Parker-Gordon finished 35-11 after placing sixth.

"Kuric will be very hungry next season after just missing his second trip to the (Schottenstein Center)," Martinez said. "Spencer saw that hard work can pay off and he was right on the cusp of his first trip, so we're excited to see if we can get those three there next season."

Kilbourne scored 32.5 points at district to finish 18th behind champion Dublin Coffman (170) as 36 teams scored.

All three district qualifiers were runners-up in a 10-team sectional Feb. 23 at Marysville. The Wolves also had three district alternates, as senior Kyle Watson (152, 18-12), junior Sean Hoffman (132, 29-14) and freshman Iain Rojas (138, 20-21) all placed fifth.

Watson and John Berardi (195) were the only seniors on the team.

Other expected returnees who competed at sectional are juniors George Coldiron (182), Alex Rader (160) and Alex Rice (170), sophomore David Straveler (113) and freshman Sebastian Pinzon (126).

"With just two seniors, we were a pretty young team," Martinez said. "I saw the progression of all of the young guys and we're hoping to see that continue next year. We also want to grow our numbers next year, and I think we're just starting to shore up the entire program from the middle school and youth levels all the way up. We need to make sure we're improving on all levels and raising the interests of the young kids."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek