Big Walnut Roundup: Limited schedule throws Golden Eagles wrestling team for a loop

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Wyatt Lenz was 18-3 at 182 pounds entering the Big Walnut wrestling team's matches Feb. 6. The Golden Eagles are tuning up for a Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Newark.

In a typical season, the high school wrestling schedule provides for weekend tournaments that feature numerous opponents and the opportunity to face strong competition.

This season, however, those large tournaments have been replaced with dual meets, tri matches and quads because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s tough,” Big Walnut wrestling coach Aaron Renner said. “We’re trying to get these kids the best matches that we can, and sometimes, in a dual-meet format, that’s hard to do. I keep stressing to expect the unexpected. But we started stressing that on day one.”

The Golden Eagles were 12-6 in duals entering competition Feb. 6 at Jonathan Alder, where they also went up against Central Crossing and Hartley.

In February, every match is crucial in preparing for the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 27.

Big Walnut competes in the Newark sectional, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.

The team’s Feb. 4 OCC-Capital Division matches against Westerville South and Dublin Scioto were postponed and may be rescheduled.

Big Walnut is 2-2 in the league entering its Feb. 11 dual with Canal Winchester.

“Every day, I get five, six, seven emails from coaches who are scrambling to find a match,” Renner said. “Typically, a wrestler would be getting four to five matches at weekend tournaments. This season, most guys are getting three at duals or quads.”

Before competing at Jonathan Alder, Andrew Parker (113 pounds) held the Golden Eagles’ best record at 17-1.

Wyatt Lenz was 18-3 at 182, followed by Vince Giordano (126, 18-4), Lawrence O’Malley (152, 18-4), Christian Takatch (220, 16-4), Cali Lang (106, 14-8), Collin Gamble (195, 11-9) and Micah Tillar (160, 11-10).

“We’re just really focused on trying to keep everyone healthy,” Renner said.

Angelina McConnell and the Golden Eagles are preparing for the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington.

Seniors helping to

guide gymnastics team

Injuries sidelined senior gymnasts Kayla Farley and Sydney Cornwell for part of last season, and their return to competition has been a welcome sight for coach Kaiden Wilson.

“They both have been great leaders in motivating the others and keeping a positive attitude,” Wilson said. “They’ve been real assets. They know what to expect, and with our two new girls, they’ve needed that guidance.”

Those new competitors are sophomore Christina Dole and freshman Zelia Gieseler, who Wilson has coached at Central Ohio Gymnastics for five years.

“Christina is completely new to gymnastics,” Wilson said. “She’s done some dancing, but she’s really made a ton of progress so far.”

The Golden Eagles are preparing for the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Feb. 20 at Thomas Worthington, where last season junior Angelina McConnell and 2020 graduate Kelsey Ewing were the only competitors because of injuries.

“Right now, our focus is maintaining our level of competition and making sure we’re staying healthy,” Wilson said.

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