The Columbus Academy wrestling team figures to be shorthanded in the postseason, but several athletes have high expectations.
The Vikings will compete in a Division III sectional Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, Feb. 29, at Morral Ridgedale. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Heath.
"Our sectional is tough this year," coach Paul Bukky said. "All the Division III schools are lumped into one sectional. It's going to be a dogfight to get out of there because there's some good teams there. Marion Pleasant, (Galion) Northmor, North Union, Liberty Union, all those guys are good."
Academy has been hit hard by injuries and expects to have just seven wrestlers available for sectional.
Leading the way should be sophomore Gyvnn Mendenhall, who is 35-3 on the season and finished first (4-0) at 195 pounds in the MSL-Ohio Division tournament Feb. 15 at Bexley.
Last season, Mendenhall won a sectional title at 195 and went 2-2 at district to finish the season 23-6.
"I've been working on my technique and conditioning, and so far, I've seen some major improvement," he said.
Junior Chris Sugar is 29-11 at 145/152. Last season at district, he went 1-2 at 132 to finish 30-8. As a freshman, he went 1-2 at 126 to finish 24-13.
"I'm definitely better this year," Sugar said. "They changed sectional this year, so it's going to be a lot more competitive. It's going to be more like a (district). I'm looking forward to that. It's going to make district a little bit easier. You have to focus on staying consistent and not getting caught."
Junior Ethan Stahl is 23-15 at 182. Last season, he went 0-2 at district in the same weight class to finish 21-11.
"I didn't win any matches last year at district," Stahl said. "I always try to do a little bit better than I did the previous season. Good conditioning and strength, all of that is important, but most of all, (having a) good mindset and good technique is everything."
Freshman Tiko Bdoyan is 28-3 at 126/132. Other wrestlers expected to compete at sectional are junior Max Nanda (126, 14-28), sophomore Chase Chavarria (11-12, 220) and freshman Zech Kim (13-19, 152).
Klinefelter leads swimmers at state
Sophomore Lauren Klinefelter led the girls swimming and diving team in the Division II state meet Feb. 20 and 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Klinefelter teamed with senior Annalise Grammel and sophomores Alexandria Butnariu and Mary Kate Prall to finish seventh in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3 minutes, 41.1 seconds), and she joined Grammel, senior Taylor Warren and junior Abby Yakam on the 11th-place 200 medley relay (1:52.51).
Klinefelter also was 14th in the 100 butterfly (58.24) and 19th in the 200 individual medley (2:13.3).
"I was disappointed with my individual events, but happy for my relays," Klinefelter said. "It was so much fun to stand up on the podium with my teammates."
The Vikings finished 18th (39) behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (399) as 59 teams scored.
White bowls at district
Competing in his first Division II district tournament Feb. 20 at HP Lanes, junior boys bowler Vincent White finished 31st of 78 competitors with a 487 series.
After rolling a 117 in game one, White had games of 173 and 197.
"The first game was rough," first-year coach Gerardina Garita said. "I think he was a little nervous even though he said he wasn't. He got more comfortable."
The top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Friday, Feb. 28, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
White led Academy this season with a 152.5 average, followed by senior Donovan Simpson (140.9), sophomore Ryan Reagan (138), freshman Jacob Mowery (135.7), junior Cole Leis (135.5) and senior Michael Hoffman (131.1).
Simpson and White earned honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio honors.
Juniors Gabe Taub and Skyler Simpson also are eligible to return.
Senior Gianna Bates led the girls team with a 122.6 average, followed by junior Evelyn Olexio (121.2), senior Nikki Turley (121), sophomore Tara Hoffman (118.3) and junior Beatrice Stull (105.9).
Bates, Olexio and Turley were honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio.
Junior Madeline Rosenberg and sophomore Mallory Smith also are eligible to return.
The girls team did not compete at sectional Feb. 15 at HP Lanes because of another school commitment.
"We struggled with consistency," Garita said of both teams. "We got better, but consistency is what we need to work on for next year."
Boys basketball team begins postseason
The 12th-seeded boys basketball team is 10-12 entering its Division III district tournament opener Friday, Feb. 28, at home against 13th-seeded Marion Pleasant.
The winner plays top-seeded Harvest Prep, 21st-seeded Utica or 22nd-seeded International in a district semifinal Tuesday, March 3, at a neutral site to be determined.