Connor Euton competed in the Division I state wrestling tournament last year, but the Westerville North sophomore has a much different outlook this time around.
He won't be in awe of his surroundings or wilt under the bright lights. He plans to be all business.
"Last year I had no goals when I got to state," said Euton, who went 1-2 in the tournament. "I would get so nervous or jittery that I would wrestle like a brick. I was mechanical. This time I don't want to stop and I need to wrestle more like myself."
Euton won the 138-pound championship in the district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby, going 4-0 to improve to 37-0. He is one of four Warriors to qualify for state Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 15, at Ohio State, as the top four in each district weight class advanced.
"Connor has been there before so he knows what to expect," coach David Grant said. "The three (first-timers) have a tour guide who can take them there, and that's always nice."
Juniors Brennan Albertini (195), Nico Candido (160) and Jake Gooding (120) also will compete at state.
Gooding was runner-up at district, going 3-1 to enter state at 32-5. He went 1-2 at district last season at 120, but cleared the hurdle this time.
"It feels like it has been a long time coming," he said. "I feel like I worked hard my freshman and sophomore years.
"Not qualifying last year really hit me hard, and I didn't want to miss out on state again. I put in a lot of work in the offseason to make it this year."
Albertini placed third at district, going 4-1 to improve to 12-1. He started late to allow his body to mend from football after being second-team all-OCC-Buckeye Division and all-district as a linebacker.
Candido finished fourth at district, going 3-2 to enter state at 27-17.
"It's a great experience for a young man to come in here and get tested and kind of grow up through this," Grant said. "One thing I tell the guys is that once you go through this and make the state tournament, you'll never be the same. Being able to blow through obstacles and navigate around adversity, it's what you learn here whether you win or lose."
The Warriors finished sixth (99 points) at district behind champion Dublin Coffman (174.5) as 40 teams scored.
Seniors Jacob Grant (145, 2-2), John Holzapfel (heavyweight, 1-2) and Eli Williams (170, 2-2), junior Sylvester Bockarie (152, 2-2) and sophomores Dallas Reed (182, 1-2) and Edwin White (126, 1-2) also competed.
Soisson falls short of state tourney
Junior Sophia Soisson rolled a 462 three-game series to tie for 23rd of 108 bowlers in the Division I girls district tournament Feb. 29 at HP Lanes, ending the season for the Warriors.
Soisson competed on the boys squad during the regular season because North did not have enough girls for a team. She opened the postseason by rolling a 517 to finish 14th of 192 participants in the sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, earning the third of 16 individual-qualifying spots for district.
The boys finished 43rd (2,518) of 47 teams in the sectional Feb. 21 at HP Lanes behind champion Reynoldsburg (3,991). Freshmen Owen Ptak (tied for 143rd, 390) and Cameron Wages (153rd, 377) led North.
Soisson (193.1 average) earned second-team all-OCC-Buckeye honors.
Senior Ethan Moore had a 144.1 average and Wages averaged 136.5.