The Whetstone wrestling team concluded its season at the Division I district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.
The Braves were represented by junior Darric McClinton, who went 2-2 at 145 pounds to finish the season 30-4, and junior Sallah Abdourahman, who went 1-2 at 182 to finish 35-9.
"I felt like I could have done much better the first day," said McClinton, who was pinned by New Albany's Michael Zussman in 1 minute, 17 seconds in his only match March 6. "My head wasn't in the game the first day, but I came back (the second day) and did better."
McClinton went 2-1 on March 7, beating Westerville Central's Gary Steele 8-4 in the first consolation round and Dublin Coffman's Niko Gonzalez 4-3 in the second consolation round before losing to Marysville's Jack Golla 2-1 in the third.
McClinton went 4-1 and finished third at a Division I sectional Feb. 29 at Watkins Memorial to qualify for district.
Abdourahman, who went 3-0 at sectional to win his weight class, began March 6 with a 5-4 victory over Canal Winchester's Patrick Zamble before losing to Lancaster's Ajay Locke 4-0 in a quarterfinal.
Then on March 7, he lost to Hilliard Davidson's Richard Lawrence 8-3 in the second consolation round.
"I didn't do that well," Abdourahman said. "I had a whole lot of expectations for myself this year, but I just missed it."
Coach Tom Jones expects both McClinton and Abdourahman to take another step forward for the Braves next season.
"This is their first time at districts. It's a new experience (for them)," Jones said. "This sport is all about experience. Until you get here and you see what it's about, you don't know exactly what you're getting into. They now see what they need to do for next year."
"It's a lot of intensity when you get here," Abdourahman said of the district tournament. "You have to get going. I felt like I was just not ready for this. I'll be more prepared next year."
McClinton said next season he doesn't want to overthink things when competing in the high-pressure environments of the postseason. He said he just needs to remember what he's learned in practice.
"That's what I did (the second day), not overthink and just wrestle, have fun," McClinton said. "I also thought ... 'I've got one more year. I'm just going to go out and wrestle.' I made it this far and I still have next year."
The Braves placed third of four teams in the City League dual tournament Jan. 30 and finished third (164 points) in the City tournament Feb. 22 at Centennial behind Walnut Ridge (202) and Northland (173).
Also at sectional, seniors Hassan Sesay (170, 31-8) and Jack Zimmerman (120, 23-11) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, as Whetstone scored 60 points to tie Walnut Ridge for 10th of 12 teams, behind champion Westerville North (241.5).
The Braves tied Newark for 37th (3) at district behind champion Dublin Coffman (174.5) as 40 teams scored.
"For the year, I think we probably got most of what we could," Jones said. "We have five guys coming back. We need to build on that and get more guys out for the sport. Not everyone can be a basketball player. If they're under 6-foot, they need to be trying out for wrestling."
Whetstone is losing four seniors in Sesay, Zimmerman, Ford Buterbaugh (152, 14-9) and Preston Buterbaugh (182, 18-8).
The other expected return-ees are sophomore Jordan Broford (220, 12-19) and freshmen Paul Buterbaugh (132, 9-23) and Antonio Morris (113, 7-7).
Millington-Fuqua bowls at district
Senior Alea Millington-Fuqua of the girls bowling team rolled a 455 three-game series in the Division I district tournament Feb. 29 at HP Lanes to finish 30th of 108 bowlers.
Millington-Fuqua was Whetstone's lone representative at district, from where the top four finishers not on one of four qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament March 7 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The Braves finished 25th (2,586) of 42 teams at sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes behind champion Westerville Central (3,653), with Millington-Fuqua finishing 49th (445) of 192 bowlers and earning the 16th and final individual district berth.
The boys team ended its season at sectional Feb. 21 at HP Lanes, where it finished 39th (2,772) behind champion Reynoldsburg (3,991).