DeSales Roundup: Rebekah Oladokun grows in confidence, ability for Stallions wrestling team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
DeSales' Rebekah Oladokun finished fourth at 137 pounds in the girls state wrestling tournament Feb. 21 at Hilliard Davidson. A week earlier, Oladokun won her weight class at the district tournament at Olentangy Orange.

Rebekah Oladokun performed her signature move to perfection – maybe too much so – during the first round of the district girls wrestling tournament Feb. 13 at Olentangy Orange.

Oladokun used the fireman’s carry during a quarterfinal against Hamilton Township’s Sienna Sanborn, a move in which she lifts the opponent over her shoulders and takes her to the mat.

But having practiced against her boys teammates for much of this season, the DeSales sophomore unwittingly used more force than expected.

“Their body types are very different from the girls I wrestle, so I can’t always hit my go-to moves the same way as I would in practice,” Oladokun said. “I’d normally practice with guys who are heavier than me so I’d put more force and effort into getting the person across me, so at district I was surprised because my opponent almost flew over my head. I dropped her on my knee and I actually felt really bad because I had been so much stronger getting the moves done.”

That strength paid off in the form of a district championship at 137 pounds and fourth-place finish in the second girls state tournament Feb. 21 at Hilliard Davidson, a year after placing sixth in the same weight class.

Oladokun went 6-2 against girls this season. Her first such match did not come until Feb. 11, two days before district.

“You have to imagine being in this room all season long and just get pounded by some pretty good wrestlers could be discouraging when you’re trying to work on technique and you just can’t hit (your move) because the caliber of opponent is just that much more dominant,” Stallions assistant coach Ryan Munday said. “The confidence went through the roof once she got that first win over a girl. You can see it in her smile and her eyes.”

Oladokun went 3-0 at district and 2-2 at state. She defeated Harrison’s Madison Greene 17-3 in the first round at state and pinned Mogadore’s Mia Gaetjens in 2 minutes, 39 seconds in a quarterfinal before being pinned by Cleves Taylor’s Meghan Werbrich in 2:28 in a semifinal and losing 9-0 to Mount Orab Western Brown’s Lacie Reese in the third-place match.

“She’s worked a lot more from last year to this year and just gotten better,” said DeSales boys wrestler Owen Eagan, who competes at 120 and frequently spars with Oladokun. “This year, it’s been a lot harder to compete with her. It’s just different wrestling with guys than girls. I think it makes them a lot better because it’s just a different feel.”

Oladokun took extra pride in earning her way to state – last year, there was no district tournament – and has high expectations for the next two years.

“We’re getting closer to having the sport sanctioned to be on the same level as the boys. It’s exciting,” Oladokun said. “Hopefully I can have more practices over the summer. I want to start jiu-jitsu so I can do that and work on wrestling and more strength training.”

DeSales’ Brady McInerney swam in the Division II state meet in the 100 free and 200 free after winning both events at district Feb. 18 at Bowling Green.

McInerney, Ruff

swim at state

Boys swimmer Brady McInerney is no stranger to competing in the Division II state meet, but the junior Kentucky commit flashed his versatility in qualifying this season.

Having made state in the 100-yard backstroke and 200 individual medley each of the past two years, McInerney advanced this year by winning the 100 freestyle and 200 free at district Feb. 18 at Bowling Green. McInerney won the 200 free in a district-record 1 minute, 40.98 seconds – a drop of 6.03 seconds from his sectional time six days earlier at Thomas Worthington – and finished first in the 100 free in 46.45.

The state meet was Feb. 25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

“I looked at those two races and thought those were places I could win and I just got after it,” McInerney said. “Throughout the past year, I’ve been focusing a lot on freestyle and mid-distance races so I wanted to train for that at this kind of meet. I felt like that’s my strong suit, maybe even the 50 free (as well). Freestyle is my best stroke so I’ve attacked that.”

DeSales finished 15th (68) at district behind champion Dover (218.5) as 33 teams scored.

McInerney was joined at state by girls qualifier Libby Ruff, who earned an at-large berth by finishing eighth in the 500 free (5:08.99) in the Division I girls district meet Feb. 21 at BG. Ruff, who also placed 14th in the 200 free (1:56.27), became the girls team’s first state qualifier since Maureen Cummins in 2016.

DeSales finished 21st (14) at district behind champion New Albany (378.5) as 24 teams scored.

The Division I girls state meet was Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium.

“I was going for a 5:05, which is a little faster than I actually went,” said Ruff, the only girl to make district. “My main goal was just to drop time. If I did that, I’d be happy. I did that and I made state.”

Bowling season

ends at district

None of the bowling team’s three Division I district qualifiers advanced to state, bringing an end to a season in which the girls team won the CCL championship and COHSBC-D Division and both the girls and boys won eight matches.

Senior Skyla Blumenscheid finished 30th (487) of 104 bowlers in the girls district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes, 74 pins shy of the fourth and final individual state berth.

In the boys district tournament, sophomore Caden Lester tied for 32nd (570) and senior Bryan Ritzler tied for 37th (559) of 106 bowlers.

The girls went 8-2 overall, 6-0 in the COHSBC-D and 6-0 in the CCL. The boys finished 8-3 overall, 5-3 in the CCL and 4-3 in the COHSBC-D.

Lester averaged 203.8 pins per game to lead the boys, ahead of Ritzler (198.7), junior Andy Karas (170.8), junior Patrick Anderson (161.5) and freshman Nick Gillian (155.7).

Blumenscheid averaged 173.1, ahead of freshman Sadie Bassitt (167), sophomore Alexis Reynolds (121.6), freshman Cailin Mascarin (109.8) and senior Ella Otu-Danquah (107.9).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave 

BOWLING

Record: Boys – 8-3 overall; Girls – 8-2 overall

League finishes: Boys – Tied for second (5-3) in CCL behind Hartley (5-2); Girls – First (6-0) in COHSBC-D, first (6-0) in CCL

Seniors lost: Boys – Bryan Ritzler; Girls – Skyla Blumenscheid and Ella Otu-Danquah

Key returnees: Boys – Patrick Anderson, Nick Gillian, Andy Karas and Caden Lester; Girls – Sadie Bassitt, Cailin Mascarin and Alexis Reynolds

Postseason: Boys – Tied for 18th (3,550) at sectional behind champion Marion Harding (4,316); Girls – 18th (2,714) at sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,580)