Hartley Roundup: Tony Thivener Jr. embraces leadership role for Hawks wrestling team

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Hartley's Tony Thivener Jr., top, battles Ready's Aiden Montgomery in a  220-pound match Jan. 13. Thivner was 20-3 after helping the Hawks to a share of the title at the Newark Catholic Invitational on Jan. 23. A year ago, he was 24-17.

Considering Tony Thivener Jr. got in only one season of youth wrestling, it wasn’t until he joined Hartley’s program as a freshman that his passion for the sport began to grow.  

Now a senior, Thivener has seen first-hand from multiple angles the importance of leadership after being a part of the sport the past few years. 

While his father, Tony Thivener Sr., has a long history of coaching multiple prep teams, Thivener also studied how 2020 graduates Michael Petrella, Joey Petrella and Kenyon Davis carried themselves.  

“With those great seniors we had last year, they all left an impact on me to be a leader for this team and to be a hard worker,” Thivener Jr. said. “(My father) really instilled a hard work ethic and was a big impact on me, making sure I was eating right, lifting, practicing hard, always helping me to do my best.”  

While the Petrella brothers were among the team’s three state qualifiers last season, Thivener went 24-17 at 195 pounds, including an 0-2 finish at the Division II district tournament.  

He was 20-3 this winter at 220 after helping the Hawks share the championship with Mount Vernon (230) in the 11-team Newark Catholic Invitational on Jan. 23.  

The team’s only returning state qualifier, sophomore Dylan Newsome, was 22-0 at 170, while freshman Cooper Rathburn (113) was 20-4, senior Cody Ihm (138/145) was 18-7, senior Brody Halenar (182) was 11-5 and sophomore Griffin Halenar (195) was 16-6.  

Seniors Noah Houchins (126/132) and Jared Miller (160/170) also have been key contributors.  

Newsome and Ihm both took first at Newark Catholic, and Thivener was runner-up.  

“Dylan Newsome is a great worker, a great kid and obviously one of the best wrestlers in the state of Ohio,” Thivener said. “We’ve been growing as a team. We lost a lot of great seniors last year, but we’re all starting to come together and work hard and doing our best to get each other better.”  

Thivener's father was Grandview’s head football coach from 1994-2000 and also previously served as wrestling and boys bowling coach at the school. He was an assistant at Columbus Academy when the Vikings won the 2003 Division V state football title, a year after Thivener Jr. was born.  

Thivener Sr. now is an assistant for Hartley’s football and wrestling programs.  

The Hawks went 6-4 overall and were Division III, Region 11 runners-up last fall as Thivener was first-team all-district as an offensive lineman. A two-year starter at left guard, Thivener is hoping to play football in college.  

This winter, he’s also hoping to help the Hawks add to their run of seven consecutive CCL championships in wrestling.  

Hartley is 2-0 in the league, and is scheduled to face Watterson on Feb. 10. The Eagles were being quarantined Jan. 13 when the CCL duals were scheduled to take place.  

“Tony has an amazing work ethic,” coach Kevin Petrella said. “He sets a great example for all of the younger guys. Everything he gets, whether it’s in school, wrestling, whatever, he’s earned because of how hard he works.”  

Bowling teams  

prep for postseason  

Although their seasons didn’t begin until early January, the boys and girls bowling teams are approaching the postseason.  

The boys team will compete in a Division II sectional Feb. 13 at HP Lanes, and the girls will compete in a Division I sectional Feb. 17 or 18 at HP Lanes.  

The boys were 5-2 overall and in the CCL after beating Watterson 1,888-1,801 on Jan. 25 as junior Marlin Yarborough averaged 201.5.  

Yarborough was averaging 180.1 through 14 games, followed by junior Ayden Jordan (169.8), senior Andrew Grosko (167.9) and junior Noah Shultz (161.2).  

With the win over Watterson, the boys also improved to 2-2 in the COHSBC-D but could end up scheduling several additional matches as the league features seven teams from the City League, which didn't begin its winter sports season until Jan. 25.  

"Marlin Yarborough has continued to bowl at such a high level,” coach Chris Blum said. “Ayden Jordan has worked so hard to bowl consistently, and it’s shown. He’s won us a few matches already this year. Andrew Grosko has also worked really hard to limit his open frames and has the second-highest average on the boys team.”  

The girls were 1-4 overall and in the CCL and were 0-3 in the COHSBC-D after beating Watterson 1,554-1,547 on Jan. 25.  

Senior Maria Kelley was averaging 130.7 through nine games to lead the girls team, and seniors Emily Casto, Joelea Kelley and Jessica McBride and juniors Annie Flores and Camille Payne also have been key contributors.  

“Maria Kelley has provided so much leadership to the girls team and currently has the highest average,” Blum said. “Camille Payne has made the largest improvement of anyone on either team. I’m so proud of all the hard work she’s put in.  

“Both teams need to consistently bowl in the upper hundreds for Baker games. Qualifying for the state tournament will require the boys to bowl six great Bakers in a row, so we need to work on that. The ladies have improved their Baker average by about 20 pins so far this season and I’d like to see that continue to go up.”  

Lexi Cashwell and the girls basketball team defeated Olentangy 45-43 on Jan. 25 to halt a slide in which the Hawks lost three of four.

Girls basketball team  

preps for stretch run  

With a 45-43 victory Jan. 25 over Olentangy Liberty, the girls basketball team took a step forward after losing three of four.  

The win improved the Hawks’ overall record to 9-4 overall. They split their first two CCL games – beating DeSales 54-28 on Jan. 7 and losing to Watterson 48-37 on Jan. 21 – with home league games remaining against Ready (Feb. 4) and the Eagles (Feb. 9).  

Senior forward Kami Kortokrax finished with 14 points against Liberty and was averaging 19 points through 13 games. Sophomore guard Kiarra McElrath scored 13 and was averaging 7.5, and Brandewie scored 10 and was averaging 12.  

Senior guard Milayna Williams, junior wing player Lexi Cashwell and junior guard Bella Parker have been other key players for the Hawks, who are preparing for the Division II district tournament, beginning Feb. 16.

julrey@thisweeknews.com  

@UlreyThisWeek