Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Busy stretch to prepare Rams wrestlers for postseason

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Whitehall's Burton Solomon was 5-5 at 220 pounds before the Rams faced Hilliard Darby on Feb. 5. The wrestling team closes the regular season with five matches in nine days, starting Feb. 11 at Utica.

Whitehall-Yearling wrestling coach Steve Pennington remains optimistic that his team can have some success in the postseason despite a limited schedule. Search Assets

The Rams scheduled 15 duals because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and were 3-7 before taking on Hilliard Darby on Feb. 5. 

Whitehall, which lost to Caledonia River Valley 36-29 on Jan. 29, closes the regular season with road matches against Utica on Feb. 11 and Hamilton Township on Feb. 12, and home matches against Columbus Academy on Feb. 17 and Hilliard Davidson on Feb. 19. 

Pennington hopes the late-season schedule will help prepare his wrestlers for an 11-team Division I sectional Feb. 27 at Watkins Memorial. 

The sectional tournament will be his team’s first weekend event this season, Pennington said. 

“We’ve been running optional practices on Saturday mornings, getting four, five, six kids there, but as far as competition it’s just worked out that way,” he said. “We’ve wrestled a total of 10 matches (before Feb. 5), and we’re going up against kids who have wrestled 20 and 30 matches already because they’re going to tournaments. Our kids just aren’t prepared. We’re getting better.” 

The Rams are seeded 31st of 45 teams in the district. 

“I thought we would be seeded lower, so it was a good surprise,” Pennington said. “I was able to pick Watkins as the sectional site that we originally wanted.” 

Westerville North (third) and Delaware (eighth) are the highest-seeded teams at Watkins Memorial. 

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

Whitehall has received several solid efforts, led by sophomore Damion Black, who was 7-2 with a team-best five pins at 120 pounds before the Darby match. 

“We’re a young team and we have lots of potential,” Black said. “If we stick to going to practice our team could reach a peak. Our season has been really tough, but if we all go out there and wrestle like we know how to, we can finish (with a good record).” 

Junior Shea Jordan (106) and freshman Mikey Park (113) each were 7-3. 

“Shea is really starting to catch a groove,” Pennington said. “Damion is 7-2 and he hasn’t lost since the first week of the season. He’s coming on strong. Mikey is very scrappy, and he’s very tough and he just loves to compete. I’m excited about him.” 

Junior Austin Whistle (132/138) and sophomore Burton Solomon (220) were each 5-5. 

Royal Sibley and the boys basketball team finished 4-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division following a 53-40 loss to Buckeye Valley on Feb. 3.

Boys basketball team 

winding down regular season 

The boys basketball team finished 4-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division after a 53-40 loss to host Buckeye Valley on Feb. 3. 

The Rams, who were 10-9 overall before the league tournament began Feb. 6, will close the regular season Feb. 20 against visiting Akron Buchtel in a final tune-up before the Division I district tournament begins Feb. 23.

The Rams fell to visiting Worthington Christian 52-44 on Jan. 29 for their first league loss. Teddy Brown led Whitehall with 10 points followed by Kei'Von Wiggins with nine and Royal Sibley with eight.

The Rams bounced back the following day to beat host Bexley 54-41. 

"We are missing kids every game, so we are hanging on with hopes of getting better organized for the district tournament," coach Drew Williams said.

Boys bowling team 

preparing for postseason 

The boys bowling team is preparing for the postseason, which begins with a 23-team Division I sectional Feb. 20 at HP Lanes. 

The Rams were 5-3 overall and in the COHSBC-B before playing Lancaster on Feb. 8. 

Whitehall lost to Hilliard Bradley 2,414-2,356 on Feb. 1. 

Jacob Leach the Rams with a 473 two-game series followed by A.J. Scott (411) and Elias Rozzelle (401). 

Through 22 games, Leach led the team with a 207.4 average followed by Scott (202.3), Nathan McGrath (185.7) and Rozzelle (179.7). 

The girls team will compete in a 22-team sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank