Learning how to battle nerves can be a struggle even for decorated athletes such as Hartley High School senior Andrea Cottrell.
Beginning Thursday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton, the defending state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke will compete for the Hawks swimming and diving team in the Division II state meet, which concludes the next day.
Cottrell and senior Ronnie Bolden from the boys team each won a pair of district titles Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
"I need to stay calm because I get nervous really easily," Cottrell said. "I've done all the work, so I just have to have the right mindset and be ready to race."
At district, Cottrell won the 200 individual medley in a meet-record 2 minutes, 5.27 seconds and captured the 100 breast title in 1:03.25.
She helped the girls place fourth (152) behind Granville (457), Columbus Academy (333) and Columbus School for Girls (270) as 36 teams scored.
Because of how well she swam the breast portion of the 200 IM, Cottrell was expecting a strong finish in the 100 breast at district.
"My breaststroke has been going really well and it felt awesome in the 200 IM," said Cottrell, who won the 100 breast (1:03.32) and took third in the 200 IM (2:04.57) last season at state.
Bolden won the 100 butterfly in a meet-record 50.14 and was first in the 50 free (21.16) as the boys team finished third (160) at district behind Granville (332) and Dover (241) as 36 teams scored.
"I didn't expect to go (so fast) in the 100 fly," Bolden said. "The rest in between was a little longer than I expected, so that helped a lot. I'm really excited for state. I'm going to be in an updated laser suit."
Bolden is seeded second in the 100 fly and third in the 50 free, and Cottrell is seeded third in the 100 breast and fourth in the 200 IM.
Also advancing for the boys team was the 200 medley relay, which was third at district in 1:43.48 and earned the last of the state meet's 24 seeds with Bolden, Michael Bungard, Jonathan Kluczynski and Patrick Lawrence competing.
"Everybody's getting their best times, so I'm pretty happy," coach Tony Phillips said.
Boys basketball team stumbles into tourney
Boys basketball coach Randy Kortokrax hopes his team's extra rest pays off during the postseason.
The Hawks lost 37-34 to St. Charles on Feb. 15 in their regular-season finale to drop to 12-8 overall. They tied St. Charles for second (5-3) in the CCL behind Watterson (8-0) and ahead of DeSales and Ready (both 1-7).
Hartley is seeded fifth for the Division II district tournament and is off until 7 p.m. Feb. 28 when it plays host to 11th-seeded Marion-Franklin or 25th-seeded Jonathan Alder in the second round.
The winner plays at 6 p.m. March 6 at Newark against fourth-seeded Buckeye Valley, 12th-seeded Beechcroft or 18th-seeded Independence in a district semifinal.
The Hawks beat the top-seeded team in Division III, Bloom-Carroll, 75-70 on Jan. 30 but lost four of their next five.
Injuries to junior forwards Jared Brandewie and Kalil Morris contributed to the struggles, according to Kortokrax. Morris returned for Hartley's 43-35 loss to Columbus Academy on Feb. 13, but Brandewie's status is uncertain heading into the tournament.
"For us to be effective, we really need both of them," Kortokrax said.
"The Academy game got very, very physical and neither of us shot well. Our overall shooting has just been dismal this year, although ironically our free-throw shooting has been getting a little better."
Girls basketball team wins tourney opener
The girls basketball team advanced to the second round of the Division II district tournament with a 64-23 win Feb. 16 over visiting London.
The third-seeded Hawks were 18-4 before playing host to ninth-seeded Licking Valley on Feb. 20.
The winner will meet seventh-seeded Granville or 21st-seeded Whitehall at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in a district semifinal at Gahanna.
The district final is 7 p.m. March 1 at Gahanna.
Against London, senior forward Jaana Motton had 12 points and eight rebounds and sophomore post player Marissa Brown also scored 12 points.
Wrestling team advances 6 to district
The wrestling team will have six competitors in the Division III district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Duncan Falls Philo.
The top four in each weight class advance to the state tournament Feb. 28 through March 2 at Ohio State.
In a sectional Feb. 15 and 16 at Madison Plains, the Hawks were third (142) of 14 teams behind Amanda-Clearcreek (258) and West Jefferson (152).
Sophomore Kristopher Hill won a sectional title at 113 pounds.
"It felt pretty good," he said. "I got a lot of takedowns and my conditioning is pretty good."
The other district qualifiers were Jacob Croswell (third at 160), Jared Croswell (fourth at 195), Grant Rathburn (second at 132), Luke Wulf (fourth at 106) and Jack Zang (second at 145).
Also competing but failing to advance were Christian Baker (138, sixth, 2-3), Aaron Hannah (170, 0-2), Trey Hampton (182, 1-2), Nate Jula (152, fifth, 3-2), Patrick Moran (126, fifth, 3-2) and Tyler Sweeney (220, 1-2).
Bowlers Stitt, Hutton advance to district
Junior Molly Stitt and senior Melanie Hutton will represent the girls bowling team in the district tournament Saturday, Feb. 23, at HP Lanes.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament March 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Stitt placed 14th (460) in a sectional Feb. 15 at Eastland Lanes to earn the first of nine individual district-qualifying berths. Hutton was 27th (422) to also move on.
The girls team was 11th (2,731) in the 26-team sectional behind champion Lancaster (3,159).
Also competing at sectional for the Hawks were junior Katie Owens (58th, 347), freshman Sara Strapp (123rd, 149), senior Mackenzie Pugh (125th, 126) and junior Chelsea Craft (136th, 110).
The boys team placed 24th (2,953) in the 30-team sectional Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl behind champion Newark (4,030).
Junior Corey Wilbur led the Hawks by placing 59th (490), followed by senior William Ball (82nd, 448), junior Daniel Supino (90th, 424) and sophomores Jared George (101st, 388) and Mark Thiel (118th, 334).