Columbus Academy Roundup: Vikings' Gyvnn Mendenhall finally gets chance to wrestle at state

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Columbus Academy junior Gyvnn Mendenhall takes on Carlisle's Jayden Sweeney during the Division III state wrestling tournament, which was held March 13 and 14 at Marion Harding. Mendenhall went 1-2 in the event. He pinned Sweeney in 3:45.

After making his long-awaited appearance in the Division III state tournament, Columbus Academy wrestler Gyvnn Mendenhall was pleased with his overall performance during a challenging season. 

Mendenhall qualified for state last season at 195 pounds, but the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

The junior qualified this season at 220 and went 1-2 in the tournament, which was held March 13 and 14 at Marion Harding. 

After being pinned by Delta’s Austin Kohlhofer in the opening round in 1 minute, 48 seconds, Mendenhall rebounded to pin Carlisle’s Jayden Sweeney in 3:45 in his first consolation match before losing to Dalton’s Austin Ryder 9-5 to finish the season 17-5. 

“I may not have gotten the result I wanted, but I’m still very proud of what I accomplished despite the many challenges this year,” Mendenhall said. 

Kohlhofer went on to win the title. 

Mendenhall accounted for Academy’s three points as it tied for 68th behind champion Xenia Legacy Christian (128) as 87 teams scored. 

“It was an excellent experience for Gyvnn,” coach Paul Bukky said. “He’s such an awesome individual. The biggest thing that hurt him was probably the COVID thing because we didn’t have enough matches.” 

Mendenhall led the Vikings in wins, takedowns (39) and pins (12). He also was named Wrestler of the Year in the MSL-Ohio Division, as the Vikings tied Whitehall for second (2-2) behind Buckeye Valley (3-0). 

Mendenhall advanced to state by finishing fourth at district, which was held March 5 and 6 at Coshocton. 

Sophomore Tiko Bdoyan also competed at district, going 1-2 at 152 to finish the season 13-6. 

Freshman Parker Knapp (120/126) went 9-0, but missed the postseason with a thumb injury. 

Senior Ethan Stahl (182/195) finished 7-5 with five pins. Keir Gorospe (6-3, 4 pins, 145/152) and Chris Sugar (4-4, 3 pins, 145) were the other seniors. 

“Some of the kids like Keir and Chris got hurt because they had so few matches,” Bukky said. “We could not get a rhythm.” 

Along with Mendenhall, Knapp and Stahl were first-team all-league. Bdoyan, junior Chase Chavarria (220) and Gorospe were second-team all-league and Sugar and freshman Nick Yakam (138) were honorable mention all-league. 

“We finished second in the league and we had three league champs,” Bukky said. “Gyvnn qualified for district and then got out to state. That’s a pretty successful season.” 

Others eligible to return are freshmen Charlie Brigdon (126/132), Philip Nedeltchev (170) and James Phieffer (138/145). 

“We have to toughen up,” Bukky said. “We have to be more physical, more rigorous, and it’s hard to do that because we don’t have that many kids. My story is about the same each year.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WRESTLING

MSL-Ohio standings: Buckeye Valley (3-0), Columbus Academy and Whitehall (2-2), Bexley (1-2), Grandview (1-3) 

Seniors lost: Keir Gorospe, Ethan Stahl and Chris Sugar 

Key returnees: Tiko Bdoyan, Parker Knapp and Gyvnn Mendenhall 

Postseason: 13th (55) at sectional behind champion Marion Pleasant (220.5), tied for 38th (15) at district behind champion Barnesville (175), tied for 68th (3) at state behind champion Xenia Legacy Christian (128)