St. Charles Preparatory School juniors Franz Kabelka and Max Penn have fulfilled their longtime dream by reaching the Division I state swimming and diving meet.
Kabelka will participate with the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay, both of which earned automatic berths to the state meet Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Penn also is a member of the 200 medley relay.
"This will be the first time that I have been there, even to watch," said Kabelka, who also qualified with at-large berths in the 500 free (4 minutes, 40.74 seconds, 17th seed at state) and 200 free (1:43.86, 23rd).
Both the 400 free relay (3:11.96) and 200 medley relay (1:37.07) finished second at district Feb. 16 at Ohio State and were seeded 12th and ninth at state, respectively.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Joining Kabelka and Penn on the 200 medley relay were Tyler Welty and Derek Nguyen. Sam Aslaner, Carl Calcara and Nick McKinley rounded out the 400 free relay, which was seeded eighth at district and cut more than 10 seconds to finish in 3:11.96, just behind first-place Upper Arlington (3:11.68).
"I have never been to a meet like that before," said Penn, who also qualified for state in the 100 backstroke (52.27, 11th seed)."
The Cardinals finished second (271 points) at district behind UA (380) as 24 teams scored.
The 200 free relay (1:28.39) advanced with Calcara, McKinley, Michael Ritchey and Nguyen. It is seeded 17th at state.
Other individual qualifiers included McKinley in the 200 individual medley (1:55.46, 12th seed) and 100 breaststroke (58.95, 13th), Aslaner in the 200 IM (1:57.84, 19th), Calcara in the 50 free (21.73, 24th) and Welty in the 100 breast (59.23, 17th). McKinley will be making his fourth trip to state.
Late 3-pointer lifts basketball team
The basketball team defeated Hartley 37-34 on Feb. 15 on a last-second 3-pointer from senior guard Bryce Spees.
The Cardinals mobbed Spees, who injured his ankle in the celebration and sat out a 59-27 win over Springfield Catholic Central the next day.
Spees led St. Charles with 13 points against Hartley and guard NiQuille Bell added 11.
"It was nice to see Bryce hit a shot like that in a game like that on senior night," said coach Jacob Daniel, whose team was 15-5 overall before playing Groveport on Feb. 19."
The Cardinals are seeded 17th in the Division I district tournament and open at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at home against 19th-seeded Hilliard Darby.
The winner plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, against 13th-seeded Newark or 35th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round at the home of the better seed. Newark is 14-8 and Watkins Memorial is 6-16.
The winner plays second-seeded Westerville North, Logan or Columbus West at 6 p.m. March 6 in a district semifinal at Westerville Central.
Wrestlers send five to district at Darby
The wrestling team finished seventh (98) in a 10-team Division I sectional Feb. 16 at Westland behind champion Hilliard Davidson (224.5).
The Cardinals had five competitors advance to district Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Darby. The top four in each weight class will advance to state Feb. 28 through March 2 at Ohio State.
Tim Rooney finished second at 126 pounds at sectional, going 3-1 after losing the final to Davidson's Bobby Smith 4-3 in overtime.
Matt Cannon (3-1, 152), Cole Delaney (3-1, 170) and Dustin Obergfell (3-1, 145) all finished third and Mason Tigner (2-2, 160) was fourth.
Heavyweight Andrew Kyser (1-2) finished fifth and is a district alternate.
Also competing but failing to advance were Andrew Donahey (0-2, 182), Drew Kiger (0-2, 113), Kit McDonald (0-2, 195), Chris Noonan (2-2, sixth, 220), Patrick Somodi (0-2, 132) Nick Valin (0-2, 138), Will Whalen (0-2, 120) and Danny Wolfe (0-2, 106).
Cianflona qualifies for district bowling
Tom Cianflona of the bowling team qualified for the district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes.
Cianflona finished 22nd with a 528 series in a sectional Feb. 16 at Eastland Lanes. He was eighth among competitors not on qualifying teams, as the top nine advanced.
The Cardinals finished 12th (3,132) as the top nine teams advanced.
Kyle Huston (501 series, 37th overall) was next for the Cardinals. Darren Delimond (281, 125th) and Noah Thomas (280, 126th) rolled two games and Stuart Sprigler (277, 127th) and Ryan Seisel (119, 156th) both bowled one game.
Hockey team to play Moeller in tourney
The fifth-seeded hockey team improved 23-9-0-1 by defeating Thomas Worthington 4-1 on Feb. 17 in the second round of district play.
The Cardinals play fourth-seeded Cincinnati Moeller in the third round at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
St. Charles lost to Moeller 3-2 on Feb. 7 in the opening round of the Blue Jackets Cup. In the regular season, the Cardinals won 4-3 in overtime Jan. 6.
The winner plays top-seeded Olentangy Liberty or ninth-seeded UA at 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in a semifinal at the Ice Haus.