Watterson Roundup: Nick Youell, Eagles wrestlers ready for postseason battles

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Nick Youell and Watterson open the postseason with a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 26 and 27 at Licking Valley. Youell, a senior, decided to compete at 182 pounds after winning 14 of 15 matches at 195.

Nick Youell is in just his third season competing in wrestling, but the Watterson senior recently made what could end up being a mature move. 

After spending the entire season and losing only one match at 195 pounds, Youell decided to drop to 182 for the Division II sectional tournament Feb. 26 and 27 at Licking Valley. 

A district alternate at 182 last season, Youell was 14-1 after his team lost to DeSales 40-39 and Hartley 42-30 on Feb. 11 to finish 1-2 in the CCL. 

The Eagles were quarantined in mid-January and Youell missed significant time this season after coming down with COVID-19, but he believes he’s back on track for the postseason. 

The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional advance to the district tournament March 5 and 6 at Wilmington. 

“I was wrestling at 195 and had some success, but I thought I could do better at 182 so I cut down,” Youell said. “I started (wrestling) my sophomore year and all thanks to my coaches, I’m here today.  

“(When I had COVID-19) I basically had a headache, fever, chills, fatigue and I lost my smell and taste for about a week. We had return-to-play protocol when I came back and I’m glad we did because my lungs were shot and I was pretty tired after taking a few laps, but I’m feeling a lot better now.” 

Watterson, which went 6-12 in duals, is planning to enter 11 competitors at sectional, including five freshmen. 

“We’ve just got a lot of young guys and a lot of room to grow,” Youell said. “Next year, I’ll come back and watch them from the sidelines. I feel real confident about our program.” 

The only other senior in Watterson’s postseason lineup is expected to be Charlie McAdow (195), who is 7-7. 

Junior Leo Pavell (138) is 16-3, and juniors Patrick Randall (220) and Derek Caswell (heavyweight) are 12-12 and 9-4, respectively. 

Sophomore Mason Hildebrand (170) and freshmen Owen Dorley (160), Luke Hangen (113), Parker Jenkins (126), Landon Purcell (132) and William Short (152) are others expected to compete at sectional. 

“We’ve got a lot of young guys in the lineup,” coach Felix Catheline said. “A lot of our freshmen are wrestling varsity. We’re going to gear up for the postseason and our older guys are going to have a pretty decent shot. Leo Pavell is going to have a tough road at 138, but I think he can make it happen. Nick Youell made scratch at 182 and I think that’s going to open up a lot of things for him. Our 220 and our heavyweight have a decent shot (of advancing to district).” 

The Eagles also had two qualifiers for the girls state tournament, which was held Feb. 20 and 21 at Hilliard Davidson, in sophomores Lily Grayem (143) and Mercedes Motton (160). 

In the district tournament Feb. 14 at Olentangy Orange, Grayem pinned Sarahsville Shenandoah’s Laney Hitches in 3 minutes, 45 seconds and Motton pinned Olentangy Berlin’s Maia Crumb in 2:49 to capture titles. 

Sophomore Katy VanDuzen (106) also competed.

Basketball teams 

open tourney play 

The 13th-seeded boys basketball team opened Division II district tournament action Feb. 23 at 11th-seeded Bexley in the first round. 

If the Eagles won that game, they will play Feb. 26 at seventh-seeded Linden-McKinley, with the winner to face third-seeded Beechcroft, 20th-seeded Marion-Franklin or 23rd-seeded Lakewood on March 3 in a district semifinal.

Watterson improved to 6-14 by beating Marysville 55-39 on Feb. 15 for its second consecutive victory. Senior wing player Noah Grayem scored 13 points, sophomore post player Cole Rhett had 12, sophomore guard Owen Samenuk scored 11 and senior guard Sam Intihar added seven. 

The Eagles spent much of the regular season without seniors Davis Boone and Noah Gruver because of injuries. 

“Especially with the guys we’ve had out and all the issues, it’s good to get (wins),” Intihar said. “We’ve struggled a little bit, but we think we’re getting over the hump. We think we can shock somebody (in the tournament). We’ll see what happens.” 

The fifth-seeded girls team was 15-4 before opening the Division I postseason Feb. 19 against 30th-seeded Northland, with the winner playing 13th-seeded Hilliard Bradley, 14th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 26th-seeded Pickerington North on Feb. 24 in a district semifinal. 

Should the Eagles advance to a district final Feb. 27, they likely would face fourth-seeded Westerville North or seventh-seeded Pickerington Central. 

Watterson freshman Danny Muldoon advanced to the Division II district meet in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Swimmers begin 

postseason action 

The swimming and diving program opened the postseason with sectional competition at Upper Arlington, held Feb. 12 for the girls team in Division I and Feb. 14 for the boys team in Division II. 

The boys team was represented at district Feb. 18 at Bowling Green by freshmen Julian Cherok (100-yard backstroke, 200 individual medley), Danny Muldoon (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Elliott Schmidt (100 breaststroke) and the 200 free relay. 

In the district boys diving meet Feb. 16 at Jefferson Country Club, freshman Logan Knapp placed fourth (250.75) as the top two advanced to state. 

The girls team was runner-up (365) to Pickerington North (372) in its eight-team sectional. 

Heading into the district meet Feb. 21 at Bowling Green, junior Olivia Oyster was the No. 1 seed in the 50 free and the third seed in the 100 free, sophomore Grace Rider was the second seed in the 100 breast and the 400 free relay was seeded fifth.  

Rider also qualified for district in the 100 free. 

Also advancing to district were juniors Lucia Cherok (200 IM, 100 back), Lucy Loudon (200 IM) and Molly Shanahan (200 IM), sophomore Teagan Price (50 free, 500 free), the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. 

In the girls district diving meet Feb. 15 at Jefferson, sophomore Olive O’Dorisio was eighth (353.5) as the top five advanced to state. 

At district in swimming, the top two finishers in each event automatically advanced to the Division II state boys meet Feb. 25 and to the Division I state girls meet Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The remaining state qualifiers were determined based on times from all district meets statewide. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek