Two days after losing to visiting Westerville North 63-16 on Jan. 23, the Westerville South wrestling team responded by winning the New Albany Invitational.
South had three champions while finishing first ahead of Westland and Westerville Central.
"We got beat by North pretty bad and to come back and face our level of competition and win it was awesome," coach George Crooks said. "North has a fabulous team and it's hard to beat them, but we had a really good practice (Jan. 24). We talked to the kids about things that needed to be talked about and they responded really well."
Aaron Morton won the title at 160 pounds at New Albany, and sophomore Tyler O'Reilly won at 220 for his first prep individual title. O'Reilly celebrated the team championship by taking a victory lap around the gymnasium with the first-place trophy.
"I was pretty excited," O'Reilly said. "Also, when we got our team trophy, I did a victory lap around the gym with the trophy. ... It felt good to wrestle pretty well as a team and focus on some of the weaknesses from (the) match (against North)."
O'Reilly went 4-0 in the event, winning three matches by pin and another by decision.
"When I show up and wrestle well like I did (Jan. 25), I can beat anyone," he said.
Junior Andrew DeVictor (138) also won his first varsity individual title.
"He was really excited," Crooks said. "He's kind of a quiet guy, but he had a nice big smile on his face."
Brian Tenant (126) and Frankie Achambeng (heavyweight) finished second, Fuanyi Fobellah (120) and Sadik Ahmed (182) were third and Ben Moseley (145) finished fourth.
Nick Ifju won by pin (2 minutes, 43 seconds) at 152 against North.
South is 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division and visits Olentangy Orange on Thursday, Jan. 30. The Wildcats have league matches remaining with Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 6 and Central on Feb. 13.
"Hopefully we can keep building and have more success a little more often," Crooks said. "It will be fun to go head-to-head against Central. All the kids get along really well. Hopefully everybody will be healthy and everyone does their best and we see how it shakes out."
South also is preparing for the Division I team dual tournament, which begins Feb. 8, and a Division I sectional Feb. 29.
"You try to be your best to get ready for the end of the year," Crooks said. "Every match you want to get the most out of it, so you learn something from it.
"They'll be looking forward to it. Some kids have a real good chance at success and others it's just going to be a learning experience. Everything builds and keeps building. It never stops."
Girls basketball team seeking league title
The girls basketball team will look to secure a share of the OCC-Buckeye title when it visits Orange on Friday, Jan. 31.
South is first at 7-0, ahead of North at 6-2.
The Wildcats visit North on Feb. 7 and play host to Central on Feb. 14 to close out league play. They have won 28 consecutive league games and are seeking their third consecutive title.
Anyssa Jones scored 14 points and Aja Austin added 11 in a 54-37 win at Liberty on Jan. 24.
The next day, Gabby Hutcherson's rebound basket at the buzzer in overtime lifted the Wildcats to a 59-57 win over visiting Watterson. Jones scored 12 points, Hutcherson had 11 and Leila Jones added 10.
The Wildcats are 15-3 overall.
Watterson, which lost for the first time this season, also fell to Jonathan Alder 63-56 on Jan. 27 and is 16-2.
"You definitely want to play games like this to see where you are relative to the (Central) District," coach Jermaine Guice said. "I hope we're getting ready (for the Division I district tournament). ... We have a few more games to take care of in the regular season, but we need to start preparing our minds, our bodies to try to make a run in the playoffs."
Swimmers vie in league meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams competed in the OCC-Buckeye meet Jan. 25 at Kenyon College.
Emily Ellsworth led the girls, finishing second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:16.1) and 100 breaststroke (1:07.61). Maeve Stacey was third in the 100 breast (1:11.97), Leanne Ngo was fourth in diving (307.6), Caroline Bowling was fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:03.56) and 500 free (5:36.07), Gwen Stacey was fifth in the 200 IM (2:24.39) and 100 breast (1:12.42) and Katherine Blais was fifth in the 50 free (26.78).
South finished sixth (271) behind Liberty (466), Orange (312), Olentangy (296), Central (295) and North (284).
Jack Kielmeyer, Jack Secrest, Dom Schoenherr and Riley Andrews were fourth in the 200 free relay (1:43) to help lead the boys, who finished fifth (175) behind Liberty (688), North (315), Orange (268) and Olentangy (245) and ahead of Central (173).
"A top performer continues to be Emily Ellsworth," coach CJ Morabito said. "Jack Kielmeyer and Katherine Blais both had really outstanding meets with impressive time drops that should seed them competitively for the sectional meet."
Below are the coming schedules for the South boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange. The Wildcats defeated the Pioneers 72-57 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*Jan. 31 -- At Orange. The Wildcats defeated the Pioneers 77-47 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- At UA
Feb. 1 -- Lancaster at Tiki Lanes
*Feb. 5 -- New Albany at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 31 -- Big Walnut and Worthington Christian at Westerville Community Center
*Jan. 30 -- At Orange