Dublin Scioto senior wrestlers Daniel Segura and Deron Pulliam have remained close on and off the mat since striking up a friendship when they were sixth-graders at Davis Middle School.
Segura began wrestling that year and urged his new friend to join him. It didn't take long for Pulliam to develop a love for the sport as well.
The next year, however, Pulliam transferred to Columbus City Schools because of family reasons. During that time, he dreamed of returning to Dublin to continue wrestling and resume his kinship with Segura, and before he had completed seventh grade, the Segura family stepped in to assist.
"I was going through a hard time finding a place to stay," Pulliam said. "I had to move out of Dublin City Schools, but I wanted to stay in Dublin because that was my home."
Segura's parents, Jay and Donna, allowed Pulliam to return to Dublin and live with their family. He stayed with the Seguras for nearly four years until he was reunited with his mother, Arnitha Chapman, after she moved back to Dublin.
"He's been my brother," Segura said. "He lived with me since seventh grade until sophomore year. He moved away (from Dublin) and he wasn't living so good and I asked him if he wanted to live with us."
Leaving the Segura family wasn't easy for Pulliam.
"My mom found a place to stay back up here and she wanted me to live with her," he said. "It was pretty tough moving (out of the Segura home) and leaving them because they were like my family. There was a bunch of crying."
Coach Adam Huddle, who also has played a key role in Pulliam's development on and off the mat, takes pride in his team's family atmosphere.
"It had nothing to do with wrestling or football or anything like that," Huddle said of Segura and Pulliam's relationship. "It was a very good friendship, best friends and one that knew of a situation that somebody could make better. (The Segura) family stepped in and made it better. Since then, things have gotten better. Even though they're not living in the same home, they're still brothers. They get mad at each other like brothers, though, too."
Segura and Pulliam have supported each other during their four years in the program.
"We make each other better," Segura said. "Even if it's not a wrestling day or duals, we're mentally in it together. He trains with me. He's gotten into wrestling a lot more."
Both have more than 100 career wins, but neither has won a Division I state title. They both are looking to earn Scioto's first state championship since 2010, when Randy Languis finished first at 140 pounds as a senior.
Segura holds several program records, including career wins. He is 167-20, having recently eclipsed Languis' career win record of 163, and is 37-2 on the season at 152 entering Scioto's OCC-Cardinal Division match at Jerome on Thursday, Feb. 13.
The Irish are 2-4 in the league.
Segura also holds the program record for most career pins and technical falls (121), most pins and technical falls in a season (38 in 2018-19), career takedowns (626) and takedowns in a season (193 in 2018-19).
A three-time state qualifier, Segura placed fourth at state at 145 last season and fourth at 138 as a sophomore after going 1-2 at 132 as a freshman. He is seeking to become the program's first four-time state qualifier.
"This year it's just mental," he said. "I know I'm one of the top guys in the state. Last year I knew I had to beat guys, but this year I'm thinking they have to beat me."
A two-time state qualifier, Pulliam is 23-3 on the season at 195 and 124-21 for his career. He placed fifth at state last season at 195 and seventh at 182 as a sophomore.
"Last year is not behind me at all," Pulliam said. "I want to make it to the state final and I want to win it. I have a lot more confidence this year."
The duo could remain teammates at the collegiate level, as Segura has committed to wrestle for George Mason and Pulliam also has drawn interest from the Division I school in Fairfax, Virginia.
Swimmers set for district meet
Members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams will compete in the Division I district meet Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.
Scioto competed in a sectional Feb. 8 at Kenyon College.
Marko Gjurevski led the boys team by finishing 10th in the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 58.3 seconds) and 14th in the 200 free (1:52.12). At district, he is seeded 16th in the 500 free and 27th in the 200 free.
David Perry finished 13th in the 500 free (5:01.49) and 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:09.32) and is seeded 20th at district in the 500 free and 28th in the 200 IM.
The 200 free relay of Gjurevski, Perry, Drew Baughman and Lucas Willison placed sixth (1:36.29) and is seeded 20th at district, and the 400 free relay of Gjurevski, Perry, Baughman and Ian MacLaughlin finished seventh (3:34.72) and is seeded 16th.
Scioto finished ninth (66) of 12 teams at sectional, behind champion Jerome (420.5).
For the girls team, Lauren Perry finished 13th in the 200 IM (2:19.2) at sectional and is seeded 28th at district.
Perry also teamed with Mary Stancil, Abby Ng and Madeline Liston to place ninth in the 200 free relay (1:48.53) and 10th in the 400 free relay (4:02.07). The 200 free relay is seeded 19th at district and the 400 free relay is seeded 23rd.
The Irish finished 11th (46) of 11 teams at sectional, behind champion Coffman (398).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Gymnasts finish sixth in OCC meet
The gymnastics team finished sixth (126.5) in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 6 at Worthington Kilbourne, behind first-place Olentangy Berlin (139.725).
The Irish, who went 1-6 in league duals during the regular season, finished sixth in the overall league standings with 10 points, behind co-champions Jerome and Berlin (both 30).
Freshman Taylor Thacker led the Irish in the league meet, finishing fourth in the all-around (35.226), third on floor exercise (9.175) and fifth on vault (8.8) and tying for sixth on uneven bars (8.6).
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys basketball, girls basketball and hockey teams:
*Feb. 14 -- Home vs. Jerome. The Irish defeated the Celtics 46-39 on Jan. 10.
Feb. 18 -- At Westerville Central
Feb. 22 -- At 17th-seeded Reynoldsburg in first round of Division I district tournament. The Irish are seeded 27th.
Feb. 15 -- Home vs. 25th-seeded Upper Arlington in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 28th-seeded Olentangy in the second round Feb. 21. The Irish are seeded 17th.
Feb. 12 -- Played 18th-seeded DeSales in opener of Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament. Winner plays ninth-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier in quarterfinal Feb. 14 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Semifinals and final are Feb. 15 and 16, respectively, at Ice Haus. The Irish are seeded 17th.