Lexie Meade had dreamed about competing in the state swimming and diving meet since watching her older brother, Wyatt, compete in the Division II state meet in 2011.
That dream became reality when the Canal Winchester High School junior placed 24th in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.74 seconds in the girls Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Meade was the lone representative for the Indians and did not score at state. Cincinnati Ursuline won the state championship with 281 points.
"I'm not really happy with how I swam at state, but it was good to get the experience of competing in that meet because it's something I've really wanted to do since I watched my brother swim there," Meade said. "It was an amazing experience because the stands were completely packed with about 2,500 people and the energy behind the blocks was incredible. I hope I can go back and do it again next year."
Meade had earned an at-large state berth by finishing sixth in the 50 free in a program-record 24.52 at district Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
She competed in three other events at district, placing 12th in the 100 free (53.85) and teaming with freshman Miaya Green and seniors Devon Shull and Kasey Pastor to finish 14th in the 200 free relay (program-record 1:45) and 15th in the 200 medley relay (1:56.59).
Also at district, Green placed 23rd in the 100 butterfly (1:02.68) and 29th in the 100 backstroke (1:07.15) and Pastor finished 25th in the 100 fly (1:03.17).
The girls team finished fifth (119) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Jan. 25 at Thomas Worthington behind Dublin Jerome (403), Westerville Central (197), Hilliard Darby (177.5) and Westerville North (133) and ahead of Westerville South (102.5), Hilliard Bradley (81) and Dublin Scioto (80).
"We did really well at OCC for it being our first season competing there," coach Julie Pastor said. "We're losing two seniors, Kasey and Devon, who swam on our A relays, but they will be replaced because we have at least three year-round club swimmers who will join our team as freshmen next season."
The boys team did not have any Division I district qualifiers and only two of its members competed in the Division I sectional meet Feb. 8 at Upper Arlington. Both junior Ward Bright and freshman Romey Noseworthy competed in the 50 free and 100 free.
The Indians did not score in the OCC-Cardinal meet, finishing eighth behind Darby (258), Jerome (240), Westerville Central (208), Scioto (179), Westerville South (171), Westerville North (151) and Bradley (62).
"We had five boys on the team this year, but there was only one meet where they were all there together," coach Pastor said. "Ward and Romey are both going to swim year-round this year, so they will be our top boys next year. We're hoping we can get (freshman) Anthony Suchan to return, and I'm not sure if the other two (sophomore Ryan Osborn and freshman Luke Schirr) will be back."
Hammond advances to state in wrestling
Nick Hammond of the wrestling team will be making his first state appearance.
The junior went 4-2 and placed fourth at 152 pounds in the Division I district tournament Feb. 21 and 22 at Darby to secure the final berth for state, which runs Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Hammond took a 7-1 lead over Lancaster's Jimmy Thompson in the third period of a consolation semifinal before winning the state-qualifying match by disqualification. He then lost to Marys-ville's Alex Sepeda 3-1 in overtime in the third-place match.
Hammond was Canal Winchester's only district competitor. His performance scored 16 points for the Indians, who tied Worthington Kilbourne for 27th behind champion Marysville (147.5) as 37 teams scored.
"I'm really happy to make it to state because that was my goal all year," said Hammond, whose is 38-8 on the season. "In my go-to-state match against Thompson, he was penalized a couple of points for punching me and then throwing me up against the wall before his coach pulled him from the match. I knew he was going to do something like that, so I just had to keep my composure.
"My next goal is to place (in the top eight) at state. I just need to focus on each match and make sure I keep moving forward against my opponents."
Boys basketball team begins postseason play
The boys basketball team opened the Division I district tournament in the second round Feb. 26 at sixth-seeded Pickerington Central.
The winner faces 13th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 17th-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at Westerville Central. The district final is at 4 p.m. March 8 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Indians, who are seeded 34th of 45 teams and had a first-round bye, were 7-15 before playing Pickerington Central.
Girls basketball team falls in tourney opener
The girls basketball team lost to ninth-seeded Dublin Coffman 72-38 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 19 to finish 7-16.
Taylor Thompson had 11 points and Raven Hamilton scored 10 for the Indians, who were seeded 37th of 47 teams and had a first-round bye.
"Dublin Coffman's the real deal," coach Gary Burke said. "They're very balanced and they have kids who are long and lanky, who shoot and pass the ball as well as any team I've seen in the past few years.
"Our kids never quit and they did some good things and played hard. Sometimes your best effort just isn't good enough."