Canal Winchester High School swimming and diving coach Julie Pastor considers the season to have been a success even though her teams did not compete for any major championships.
The Indians' program this winter consisted of 10 girls and three boys.
"Our teams were small, but we had some good kids and it wasn't like we were always at the bottom of the barrel," Pastor said. "Our athletes scored points in every meet we competed in, and we did pretty good for having such small teams."
The girls team ended its season in the Division I district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State, where it scored 16 points to place 21st behind champion Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored.
Sophomore Lexie Meade finished ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 58.17 seconds) and 10th in the 500 free (5:24.91). She also teamed with junior Devon Shull, junior Kasey Pastor and freshman Chloe Palmer to finish 22nd in the 200 medley relay (2:04.61) and 26th in the 200 free relay (1:52.72).
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to the state meet Feb. 21-23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Canal Winchester placed ninth (29) in a 12-team sectional Feb. 9 behind champion and host UA (463) and placed fifth (75) in the MSL meet Jan. 26, behind Granville (421), host Columbus Academy (273), Bexley (116) and Grandview (112) and ahead of Teays Valley (64), Heath (42), Bloom-Carroll (41), Circleville (29), Newark Catholic (27), Amanda-Clearcreek (20), Liberty Union (18), Fisher Catholic (14), Lakewood (2), Logan Elm (1) and Fairfield Union (1).
Meade had the Indians' highest finish in the league meet, placing second in the 200 free (2:05.79).
"We did good in the MSL meet and we got about half of our girls to the district meet, which was what we wanted," coach Pastor said. "We have all of our district qualifiers coming back and we've got some good middle school girls moving up, so I'm hoping to strengthen our team's depth for next season."
The boys team had one district qualifier in senior Wyatt Meade, who finished 10th in the 100 backstroke (54.27) and 13th in the 200 individual medley (2:01.78).
The Indians finished 22nd (11) at district behind champion UA (380) as 24 teams scored and placed 11th (21) in a 12-team sectional Feb. 9 behind champion and host UA (351) with Meade as their lone competitor.
Meade also was the Indians' only competitor when they placed ninth (29) in the MSL meet, behind Granville (299), Academy (166), Grandview (147), Bexley (143), Liberty Union (102), Bloom-Carroll (95), Teays Valley (83) and Lakewood (42) and ahead of Heath (25), Fisher Catholic (24), Amanda-Clearcreek (21), Licking Valley (19) and Circleville (13).
Meade won the league title in the 100 back (57.75) and placed second in the 200 IM (2:07.25).
Canal Winchester loses Meade and senior Rex Weiser but expects to return sophomore Ward Bright.
"Wyatt had a really good senior season, taking first and second at MSL and making it to district," coach Pastor said. "Ward's the only boy we have coming back, so I hope we can recruit some new boys and have enough that we can put together a relay next season."
Boys basketball team had its ups and downs
The boys basketball team had an up-and-down season, as it never won or lost more than two consecutive games after losing its first four contests, on its way to finishing 10-13 overall.
The Indians went 9-5 in the MSL-Buckeye Division to place second, behind Bloom-Carroll (14-0) and ahead of Logan Elm (8-6), Fairfield Union (6-8), Amanda-Clearcreek (6-8), Teays Valley (5-9), Circleville (4-10 and Hamilton Township (4-10).
Coach Kent Riggs considers league wins over Hamilton Township (58-52 on Jan. 8 and 65-63 on Feb. 9), Fairfield Union (46-43 on Jan. 12 and 51-49 on Feb. 15) and Logan Elm (53-51 on Jan. 22) to be among his team's highlights this season.
Canal Winchester won the second meeting against Fairfield Union on a layup by junior guard Jalen Smith with one second remaining, and the Indians rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Logan Elm, with sophomore forward Seth McCoy scoring the winning basket with three seconds left.
In the second meeting with Hamilton Township, senior point guard Thomas Nolan scored the decisive points by making two free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
Canal Winchester was seeded 29th of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament and lost to 23rd-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley 57-50 in the first round Feb. 23.
"We had some exciting, close wins in our league this season," Riggs said. "We would have liked to win more games overall, but it was nice to least get into double figures because we played a tough non-league schedule."
Canal Winchester loses five seniors, including two starters in Nolan and center Keenan Tate. Nolan was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
The Indians expect to return three starters in McCoy, sophomore forward Skyler Scott and junior guard Daltyn Colley. McCoy was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and Scott was honorable mention all-league.
Other key players expected back include Smith and junior forward Alex McCoy.
"We've got a lot of good players coming back, including Jalen Smith who was our first guard off the bench, as well as Alex McCoy, (sophomore guard) Brendan Snyder and (sophomore center) Kamon Craine," Riggs said. "But everyone will need to continue to make improvements for our team to get better."