The first lap has been completed for the St. Charles Preparatory School swimming and diving team, and now the Cardinals have a week to prepare for the second.
St. Charles won its 15th consecutive league title in the CCL meet held Jan. 24 and 26 at Columbus School for Girls. After a home meet Friday, Feb. 1, against Columbus Academy, Madison Christian and Village Academy, the Cardinals will compete in a 12-team Division I sectional meet Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington.
"This opens the championship season and we like everyone to be a part of it," coach Geoff Gear said of the league meet. "All 30 of our swimmers were in at least one individual event. It's great to start the championship season on the right foot."
The Cardinals scored 417 points to easily outdistance Hartley (234), Watterson (190), DeSales (174) and Ready (8).
Senior Nick McKinley won the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 50.48 seconds) and was second in the 100 backstroke (57.66). Junior Max Penn won the 200 individual medley (2:07.47) and sophomore Michael Ritchey won the 100 breaststroke (1:06.81).
"We have 15 first-year swimmers and this helps them get into the swing of the races," McKinley said.
Junior Franz Kabelka was second in the 100 free (49.4) and third in the 100 back (58.25). Sophomore Andrew Alfred placed second in the 500 free (5:30.03) and third in the 200 IM (2:13.78).
Other second-place finishes were turned in by senior Sam Aslaner (50 free, 23.89), junior Andrew Hoffman (100 breast, 1:11.51), freshman Austin Beam (100 butterfly, 57.04) and freshman Derek Nguyen (200 IM, 2:12.54). Sophomores Devon Saccocio (500 free, 5:45.96), Will Siefert (diving, 274.55 points) and Sam Smith (100 breast, 1:13.06) all had third-place finishes.
St. Charles finished first in a pair of relays -- the 200 free relay (1:34.66) of Beam, Aslaner, Ritchey and sophomore Tyler Welty and the 400 free relay (3:30.13) of freshman Nicholas Eramo, Nguyen, senior Alex Kendall and senior Carl Calcara.
"We talked (Jan. 26 before the CCL meet) about how this is the beginning," Gear said. "We don't wish or hope that we will do well in the postseason, we expect it. We expect our swimmers to be fast at the end of the season."
Earning all-league honors were Alfred, Aslaner, Beam, Calcara, Eramo, Kabelka, Kendall, McKinley, Nguyen, Penn, Ritchey and Welty.
The CCL meet was moved to CSG after a pump broke in the St. Charles pool. The broken pump also forced the cancellation of senior night Jan. 25 against Watterson.
That celebration will be moved to the Friday, Feb. 1, home meet, pending the repair.
"Whatever happens, we'll be ready to go (at sectional)," Gear said.
Hockey team heating up
The hockey team, which started 4-4, was 19-8-0-1 overall after losing to Thomas Worthington 3-2 on Jan. 27.
"I'm happy with the way the kids have been working hard in practice and it shows when we play," coach Rob Sangster said. "We really have turned things around from the start of the season."
The Cardinals are second in the Capital Hockey Conference-White Division at 7-5-0-1 (15 points), behind Olentangy Orange (12-1, 24 points) and ahead of DeSales (5-6-1-1, 12) and Thomas (4-9-1, 9)
The Cardinals play Friday, Feb. 1, against Thomas at OhioHealth Ice Haus and Saturday, Feb. 2, against Worthington Kilbourne at Chiller North. They finish the regular season Sunday, Feb. 3, against Olentangy at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
"We brought in a new system and the kids have done a great job of picking it up," Sangster said.
"It doesn't matter whether we're up or down in a game, they keep playing hard and playing as a team."
St. Charles lost to Orange 3-2 on Jan. 25 at Chiller North. Junior forwards Max Howson and Jacob Weikert both scored and junior goaltender Alex Ward had 22 saves. The Cardinals outshot Orange 29-22, including 15-5 in the third period.
"We have won an awful lot of our games in the third period, but we couldn't pull this one out," Sangster said. "But (the Pioneers) have a good team and they got off to a good start (with a 3-0 lead). We couldn't make that up."
Weather shuffles basketball schedule
The basketball team improved to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the CCL by defeating Ready 34-32 on Jan. 26 in a game pushed back a day because of bad weather.
Sophomore guard NiQuille Bell led a balanced attack with eight points and junior forward Matt Hennessey scored seven points. Junior forward Sean Hennessey scored six points and senior guard Michael Lutter added five points.
The Cardinals played Watterson on Jan. 28 in the continuation of a game that was suspended Jan. 4 because of slippery conditions on the gym floor at St. Charles. The Eagles were leading 32-22 with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Before Jan. 28, Watterson led the CCL at 3-0. St. Charles and Hartley were tied for second (4-1), followed by Ready (1-5) and DeSales (0-5).
St. Charles played a non-league game at Whitehall on Jan. 30.
It also plays Saturday, Feb. 2, at Franklin Heights in another non-league contest.
Also, a Jan. 26 non-league home game against Groveport was postponed to accommodate the CCL contest with Ready.