Notebook: Westerville Central Warhawks wrestling team aims to send large group to district

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Central's Tate Sterling closed the regular season at 21-9 at 160 pounds and will compete in the Newark sectional Feb. 27.

The Westerville Central wrestling team is looking to build on a strong regular season.  

The Warhawks, who finished 16-12 overall, will compete in an 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Newark.  

The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 6 and 7 at Darby.  

At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to state March 13 and 14 at Darby.

“The postseason is a lot more fun,” coach Jerry McSwords said. “It’s another season. It’s a separate type focus. … This is what we’ve been anticipating. Why you do everything else throughout the season is to get ready for this part of the season.”  

Central has several district hopefuls, including Logan Moore, who is 29-4 at 170 pounds.  

Gary Steele (145/152), who earned his 100th career victory after going 3-0 in a quad Feb. 13 at home, is 27-3, and other Warhawks with winning records include Josiah Mair (220, 25-5), Tate Sterling (160, 21-9), Collin Hunt (106, 20-7), C.J. Spinosi (170/182, 16-15), Reign Solosa (120, 16-15) and Daine Cochern (132, 11-10).  

“We have a handful of kids who have pretty good records,” McSwords said.  

Central went 3-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division to finish second behind champion Grove City (5-0).  

•A season that began with high hopes for the South girls basketball team abruptly ended when the Wildcats were forced to withdraw from the Division I district tournament.  

Seeded eighth, the Wildcats were scheduled to play host to 32nd-seeded Olentangy Berlin in the opening round Feb. 17, but they had to cancel the game after a South player tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day.  

South finished 11-7.  

“Following the guidelines set forth by (Franklin County Public Health), we quarantined our 15-girl tournament roster,” athletics director Jeff Good said. “Keeping safety as our top priority, coach (Jermaine) Guice and I determined the contest would be declared a no-contest, effectively ending our season. While we’re disappointed this is the way our season had to end, we’re proud of the effort our girls put forth this season.”  

The Wildcats already had lost senior center Aja Austin to an ACL injury Feb. 5 against Canal Winchester. 

–Frank DiRenna  

•The South wrestling team will compete in the 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Marysville.  

“The good thing about wrestling is you get a second season and our second season will look a lot better than our first this year,” coach George Crooks said.  

Expected to lead the way is Fuanyi Fobellah (132), who was 16-0 before matches against Canal Winchester and Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 19.  

Tyler O’Reilly (220) was 12-3 and David Javier (113) was 9-7.  

“Tyler O’Reilly is having a really good year, and he’s quiet about it,” Crooks said.  

Nikita Kitaev (120) is another district hopeful.  

Fobellah and Javier qualified for state a year ago, but the event was canceled because of the pandemic.  

Javier wrestled at Central last season before transferring to South.  

–Frank DiRenna  

South's Gwen Stacey advanced to the Division I district meet in the 100 breaststroke and as part of the 200 medley relay.

•The South girls swimming and diving team qualified five athletes for the Division I district meet, which was Feb. 21 at Bowling Green.  

Emily Ellsworth was seeded third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.31) and eighth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.25), Maeve Stacey was 13th in the 100 breast (1:08.45), Gwen Stacey was 19th in the 100 breast (1:10.67) and Caroline Bowling was 21st in the 500 freestyle (5:26.52) and 24th in the 200 free (2:01.1).  

The 400 free relay of Bowling, Melaina Randall, Maeve Stacey and Ellsworth was seeded ninth (3:49.38) and the 200 medley relay of Ellsworth, Gwen Stacey, Bowling and Maeve Stacey was seeded 14th (1:55.43).  

From district, the top two finishers in each event advanced to state Feb. 26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The remaining state qualifiers were determined based on times from all district meets statewide.  

–Frank DiRenna  

•The Central boys and girls swimming and diving teams were expected to be led at district by Chase Swearingen and Kiah Smith.  

Swearingen, who is a freshman, was seeded first in the 100 butterfly (51.19) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (53.34).  

The 200 free relay is seeded 15th (1:35.66) and the 200 medley relay is 16th (1:45.15).  

Swearingen, Luke Burky, Luke Radecki, Gavin Stefan-Adams and Nick Van Allen were candidates to compete on the relays.  

The boys state meet will be Feb. 27 in Canton.  

For the girls, Smith was seeded 10th in the 100 free (53.96) and 11th in the 50 free (24.76).  

–Frank DiRenna 

•The North boys and girls swimming and diving teams had three athletes swimming in two individual events in the Division I district Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. 

The girls team had two with Madelyn Bosler in the 100 breast (1 minute, 6.86 seconds, seventh seed) and 200 individual medley (2:16.79, 20th), and Allie Thompson in the 50 free (25.1, 14th) and 100 free (54.36, 14th). 

Kayla Simashkevich was seeded 19th in the 500 free (5:24.77), and Abigail Bosler was the 21st seed in the 100 breast (1:11.07). Anila Palmer was the 24th seed in the 100 back (1:02.11). 

The 10th-seeded 400 free relay (3:51.59) had Jayci Kacsandi, Annika Colvin, Simashkevich and Thompson, and the 12th-seeded 200 medley relay (1:54.13) had Colvin, Madelyn Bosler, Kacsandi and Thompson. Allison Bolen, Madelyn Bosler, Palmer and Abigail Bosler comprised the 14th-seeded 200 free relay (1:46.64). 

Hayden Yeager led the boys team as the fifth seed in the 100 fly (51.98) and the 15th seed in the 100 breast (1:01.02). Colin Hudnell was the 20th seed in the 500 free (5:06.47), and Gabe Charles was seeded 23rd in the 200 free (1:49.95). 

Charles, Hudnell, Joshua Dewey and Yeager made up the 13th-seeded 400 free relay (3:28.89), and Alex Hendon, Taylor Sanford, Dewey and Paul Buckley were on the 14th-seeded 200 free relay (1:35.27). 

The 15th-seeded 200 medley relay (1:44.04) had Yeager, Marco Archambault, Charles and Hudnell. 

–Scott Hennen 

•The North boys basketball team had won five of seven games before losing to Big Walnut 71-56 on Feb. 18 in an OCC-Capital contest. 

The Warriors were 9-9 overall and 6-6 in the league before playing Dublin Scioto on Feb. 19 and Worthington Kilbourne on Feb 20 to close the regular season. 

North is the 22nd seed and opened the Division I district tournament against 28th-seeded Grove City on Feb. 23 in the first round. The winner moved on to play at 12th-seeded Westerville South on Feb. 26. 

The district semifinal is March 3 against third-seeded Hilliard Bradley, 32nd-seeded Marion Harding or 40th-seeded Delaware at the home of the better seed. 

Through 17 games, Camden Ledford was averaging a team-high 12.3 points along with 5.6 rebounds. Caleb Iheukwu was adding 9.4 points with 5.6 rebounds per game, and Noah Lawrence was averaging 10.3 points. 

–Scott Hennen 

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