Coach Scott Tressler used a football analogy to describe what his Olentangy Orange wrestling team should expect in the Division I postseason.
The Pioneers will compete in a sectional Saturday, Feb. 29, at Upper Arlington, with the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to the district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
"Postseason wrestling is very similar to postseason football," Tressler said. "It's really about who wants to keep battling, who wants to keep going. You either have it or you don't, and that's when it's going to start to show.
"I think the biggest thing for us is that we prep everything all year in practice. We really prepare for the postseason with the idea that your record doesn't matter anymore."
Seniors Ian Krider (145 pounds) and Cardan Mutai (220) are looking to advance to district for the first time.
"There's a lot more on the line (in the postseason)," Mutai said. "You have to take all of the things that we have worked on in high school and put it in one big bundle. The postseason is a lot more intense and everything matters just a little bit more."
Krider said the pressure amps up when the sectional rolls around because of the possibility of the season ending abruptly.
"There is a lot more pressure in the postseason," he said. "If you have two losses, you're out, you're done. It's not like a regular-season tournament where you can look to next week. The pressure is a lot higher.
"I think it takes your wanting to get there. You have done a lot of practice and fine-tuning the moves that you already know. You have to make those moves better and you have to make them perfect so people can't stop them."
Senior Tristan Bluntschly (170) is the lone district qualifier back from last season. Tressler said for his wrestlers to advance to district they need to have mind over muscle.
"Will is the most important thing (to advancing)," Tressler said. "With the exception of a couple people who are exceptional, the line between an all-Ohio wrestler and a kid who doesn't qualify for district is razor thin.
"It's that will to keep pushing forward and wanting to wrestle. You have a lot of upperclassmen and seniors who are ready to be done. It's about whether they have that will to get to that next match, to get to that next weekend. That's really what it comes down to and why postseason wrestling is so exciting."
Bowling squads qualify for district
The bowling teams will compete in the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 29, at HP Lanes.
The boys team finished fifth (3,751) of 47 teams in the sectional Feb. 21 at HP Lanes, behind champion Reynoldsburg (3,991). Jake Norz led the Pioneers, finishing 13th of 270 bowlers with a 605 three-game series.
Marcus Turner (tied for 51st, 535) and Jake Kicas (80th, 500) also rolled three games.
The girls team finished 15th (2,789) of 42 teams in the sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, behind champion Westerville Central (3,653). Lauryn Deck led the Pioneers, finishing 91st of 192 bowlers with a 400.
Raymie Shields (tied for 112th, 372) and Lauren Berend (tied for 118th, 366) also rolled three games.
The top 16 teams in both sectionals advanced to district.
At district, the top three boys teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams as well as the top four girls teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 6 and 7 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Girls basketball team falls in tournament
The 43rd-seeded girls basketball team lost at ninth-seeded Reynoldsburg 62-40 in the second round of the Division I district tournament to finish 4-19 overall.
The Pioneers led 13-10 after one quarter and trailed 27-23 at halftime.
"I am extremely proud of how far we've come," first-year coach Danielle Roe said. "I told our girls there is nothing to hang their heads about because we are just warming up.
"The girls played their hearts out. We have a long-term mindset, but a right-now style of play. Our game plan was strategic as we took a classroom approach and knew we could compete with (Reynoldsburg) based on our strengths."
Freshman guard Emma Delmore scored 11 points and junior forward London Davis had nine points and 15 rebounds. Freshman guard Kayla Delmore added seven points and junior forward Hailey Schwade scored six.
Orange, which went 1-9 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie Westerville Central for fifth, is losing just one senior in guard Joy Gimei.
Davis and Kayla Delmore both were named special mention all-league and sophomore guard Emma Beck was honorable mention all-league.
The Pioneers defeated Central 66-29 on Dec. 13, but lost to the Warhawks 48-44 in the rematch Jan. 24. Their other three wins came against Grove City (37-32 on Jan. 14), Franklin Heights (77-42 on Feb. 4) and Licking Heights (52-36 on Feb. 11).