Inside depth could be an important ingredient for the St. Charles Preparatory School basketball team.
The Cardinals return several experienced forwards who will need to carry the load as the team looks to replace point guard NiQuille Bell, a junior who was first-team all-CCL last year but will miss the season after breaking a leg during football season.
"We have size, but we don't return many guards," said fifth-year coach Jacob Daniel, whose team finished 17-6 overall last season and tied Hartley for second (5-3) in the CCL behind Watterson (8-0). "It would have been the first time we would have had an all-league point guard back since I have been here. We might have lost our engine (Bell), but we still have to make it run."
St. Charles opened with a 39-30 loss to Westerville Central on Dec. 3. Senior Matt Hennessey, a 6-foot-5 forward, led the Cardinals with 11 points and 6-4 senior forward Sean Hennessey (second-team all-league last year) had 10 points. Senior forward Ben Hale (6-2) added six points.
Remy Powell, a 6-3 senior forward, also has returned. Also in the senior class are 6-4 forward Kostaff Sfikas, an exchange student from Greece, and 5-8 guard John Cannell.
Junior guard David Aslaner (6-0) and sophomore point guard Otis Winston (5-8) are looking to contribute in the backcourt.
"We're still a work in progress, but our strength appears to be our good leaders," said Daniel, whose team's CCL opener against DeSales on Dec. 6 was postponed until Dec. 9 because of bad weather. "Matt and Sean Hennessey are three-year letterwinners. Ben Hale is a really good athlete and those guys have played some big games for us."
Also on the roster are juniors Jack Billman (6-0, guard), Chris Evans (6-5, forward) and Nick Pappa (6-0, guard) and sophomores Zach Donley (6-6, forward), Peter Levy (5-10, guard) and John Wallace (6-0, guard).
"We need to work on our perimeter game," Daniel said. "We are just waiting for guys to emerge."
Depth key for swimmers
Fifth-year coach Geoff Gear believes depth will be the most important component to the success of the swimming and diving team.
"Most of our swimmers were members of the state championship water polo team (in the fall), but I'm not sure there will be a huge carryover between the sports," Gear said. "We were able to enter the swim season in good physical shape and in a great mental state, but the boys realize that to compete at the highest level in swimming takes a year-round commitment.
"We have a good-sized roster, which gives us good depth at meets and a lot of flexibility when choosing events."
The Cardinals lost two performers -- Carl Calcara and Sam Aslaner -- from their 200-yard medley relay that finished eighth in the Division I state meet last season.
Calcara graduated and Aslaner, a senior, is an exchange student in Turkey. Senior Max Penn and junior Tyler Welty are back from the relay.
Penn also finished ninth in the 100 backstroke at state, and Welty was 22nd in the 100 breaststroke.
Also back is senior Franz Kabelka, who was 13th in the 200 freestyle at state and 18th in the 500 free. He joined Calcara, 2013 graduate Nick McKinley and sophomore Derek Nguyen to finish 17th in the 200 free relay and Aslaner, Calcara and junior Michael Ritchey on the 17th-place 400 relay.
Rounding out the senior class are Andrew Hoffman and Casey Horan. Other juniors are Andrew Alfred, Noah Miller, Nick Mitevski, Peter Oellerman, William Siefert, Sam Smith and Devon Saccocio.
Sophomores are David Allen, Austin Beam, Nicholas Eramo, Kyle Gould, Colin Hawes, Joe Heller, Adam Lieser, Bruce Long, Benjamin Routh, Alex Saccocio, Vincent Sears, Connor Timmons and Nick Ward. Freshmen are Jack Carlin, James Grodesky, Charlie Henry, Hannes Kabelka, John Lewis, Ian Lohiser, Will Price, Alec Roderer and Ben Sugar.
"We'll be a better team when our coaches and (upperclassmen) can demonstrate how to train consistently to our (underclassmen)," Gear said. "Basically, we have been heavily emphasizing the 'team' in swim team, which at times can feel like an individual sport."
In their opening meet Dec. 6, the Cardinals finished second (378) behind Toledo St. Francis (450) and ahead of Hunting Valley University School (341).
On Dec. 7, they finished ninth (159) in the Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (485) as 44 teams scored. Welty won the 100 breast in 59.37.
Veteran group back for wrestling team
The wrestling team returns three district qualifiers led by junior Tim Rooney, who finished fifth at 126 pounds in the Division I state tournament and went 39-4 last season.
Also back are senior Matt Cannon (32-12 at 152) and junior Cole Delaney (20-14 at 170). Delaney was 1-2 at district, and Cannon went 0-2.
"We have a lot of experience back," said coach Joe Moyer, who is in his fourth season. "You don't have to mess around with them much. Even the freshmen have come in and had a couple of years of wrestling under their belts."
Cannon likely will finish the season at 152, with Delaney at 160 and Rooney at 132 or 138.
Other seniors are Will Somodi (189), Will Whalen (132/138) and Lee Zurcher (145), with key juniors being Kit McDonald (220), Pat Somodi (145), Nick Valin (160) and Danny Wolfe (120). Top sophomores include Drew Kiger (138), Sean King (170/182) and Chris Silber (heavyweight), while freshmen Dawson Geiser (126) and Kolbe Sarko (113) are looking to make the lineup.
Senior Chris Noonan (220) will miss the season with concussion-related symptoms.
"We're pretty thin," Moyer said. "We still have a couple of weight classes we need to fill. We have to depend on our top guys to be good all of the time if we are going to win duals."
The Cardinals opened Nov. 30 by winning the seven-team Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at DeSales with 200 points, ahead of runner-up New Albany (174). Cannon (160), Delaney (170), King (182) and Rooney (145) were champions.
On Dec. 4, St. Charles lost duals to Caledonia River Valley (65-15) and Mount Gilead (47-24).