Tucker Rinehart opened a new era for the Grandview Heights High School swimming and diving program.
The senior became the first Bobcats swimmer to qualify for state in an individual event since 1953 graduate Sid Hall twice achieved the feat.
Rinehart finished third in the 50-yard freestyle (program-record 22.08 seconds) and fifth in the 100 free (program-record 48.66) in the Division II district meet Feb. 14 at Ohio State. He knew getting at-large berths to state in either event was no sure thing, but he wound up advancing in both.
"I found out when coach (Patti Hoch) texted me (Feb. 15), and I was pretty surprised I made it," said Rinehart, who is seeded 18th in the 50 free at state and 20th in the 100 free. "I thought it was a stretch to get in the 50 free, but making the 100 free as well was just icing on the cake.
"I think there might be a little more pressure being in an individual event, but I'm really looking forward to it. This will be my last opportunity to do this."
The three-day state meet began Feb. 19 and concludes Friday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The top two placers in each district swimming event automatically advanced. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.
The Bobcats had a boys diver advance to state in 2010. Jack Davis finished eighth in Division II.
The boys team also qualified for state in the 200 free and 400 free relays. The 200 free relay of Willy Kramer, Zak Graham, Rinehart and Josh Smith was runner-up (program-record 1:31.15) at district and is seeded 15th at state.
"Breaking the (200 free relay) record really means a lot," Graham said. "It's been our goal all season."
The 400 free relay of Kramer, Peter Bonn, Smith and Rinehart was fourth (program-record 3:24.57) at district and is seeded 22nd at state.
"Finally getting a swimmer there for the first time since the 1950s is pretty amazing," Hoch said. "We're all pretty excited.
"But our primary goal is to get the 200 free (relay) into the final. We have never made it out of the preliminaries (in recent seasons) and we want to at least make the consolation finals (by finishing ninth through 16th in the preliminaries)."
Last season at state, the 400 free relay of Kramer, Smith, Bonn and Rinehart finished 23rd (3:25.83).
"This group of guys has been there before and we have higher expectations," Kramer said. "We want to be better this time."
At district, the boys finished fifth (162 points) behind champion Dover (259) as 41 teams scored. The girls did not have any state qualifiers and finished fourth (129) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (413) as 30 teams scored.
"We had a lot of freshmen girls who got some good experience," Hoch said. "We had 11 (program) records set with both the boys and girls, so we had a great (district) meet."
The other record-breaking performances were: girls 200 medley relay (1:58.06, fourth) with Mary MacLeod, Mimi Day, Calley Schmalz and Maddie Bills; girls 200 free relay (1:44.38, fourth) with Adrienne Bechtel, Schmalz, Ellie MacLeod and Halli Bair; girls 400 free relay (3:54.67, fifth) with Bechtel, Mary MacLeod, Ellie MacLeod and Bair; Bechtel in the 100 free (57.13, seventh) and 200 free (2:05.56, 10th); Mary MacLeod in the 100 backstroke (1:05.49, 17th); and Schmalz in the 100 butterfly (1:05.65, 13th).
Boys basketball team looks to stay composed
The boys basketball team was 15-4 overall but had lost back-to-back MSL-Ohio Division games before playing London in its league and regular-season finale Feb. 18.
Grandview is seeded third in the Division III district tournament and opens in the second round at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at home against 17th-seeded Marion Elgin, which entered the week 5-13. The winner plays fourth-seeded North Union, 18th-seeded Horizon Science or 19th-seeded West Jefferson in a district semifinal March 4 at Delaware.
The Bobcats lost at Whitehall 53-51 on Feb. 14 and fell to host Columbus Academy 55-43 one night later.
Before playing London, Grandview had clinched second place in the MSL-Ohio at 10-3. Whitehall won the league at 13-1.
"We lost our composure and we need to get it back," said coach Ray Corbett, whose team had won 10 consecutive games before losing to Whitehall. "We played with composure and made the plays when we needed them (during the winning streak)."
The Bobcats led Whitehall 49-48 with 1:12 remaining. They then committed two consecutive turnovers as the Rams took a 52-49 lead with 52 seconds left.
"Like I said the first time we played, Whitehall has a lot of quickness and that makes you do things that take you out of what you normally do," Corbett said, referring to a 56-53 win over the Rams on Jan. 17. "We were out of our comfort zone. ... We were out of sync all night."
Luke Miller led the Bobcats with 15 points, Hunter Schmalz had 13 and Ike Dunaway added 11.
Schmalz had 14 points against Academy, and Nick Eaton and Miller both scored eight.
The Bobcats defeated Bexley 60-44 in a league game Feb. 11. Schmalz scored 14 points, Miller had 12 and Nick Schopis added 10.
Bowling teams advance to district
The bowling teams compete in the Division II district tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes.
The boys advance the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams to the state tournament Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The girls advance the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams to state March 1 at the same site.
"Both the girls and boys varsity teams have a lot of experience this year, and that has been a key to our success," coach Tony Thivener said. "The girls have five seniors and the boys have four -- that means you should have a more mature, intelligent and seasoned team."
In the sectional Feb. 14 at Sawmill Lanes, the boys placed 13th (3,421) behind champion Buckeye Valley (4,195) as the top 14 teams advanced. Tristen Rose (544) led the Bobcats, followed by Jacob Bottorf (515), Max Pierson (507) and Austin Lewis (504).
The girls finished ninth (2,825) behind champion Buckeye Valley (3,572) as the top 12 teams advanced. Sarah Kaltenecker (443) led the Bobcats, followed by Josie Pommering (416), Hannah Jones (411), Kate Lewis (407) and Emma Berlin (406).
"This is the second year in a row that the girls have qualified for district," Thivener said. "It's the first time our boys team has qualified for the district. The expectation is that they continue to improve by beating their own sectional team scores."
Fitzgerald, Pinyerd qualify for district
The wrestling team has two competitors in the Division III district tournament Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Heath.
The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to state Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
In the sectional Feb. 14 and 15 at Cardington, sophomore Brendan Fitzgerald won the 120-pound title and senior A.J. Pinyerd was runner-up at heavyweight as the top four in each weight advanced and the Bobcats finished 13th (58) of 19 teams behind champion Hartley (190.5).
Fitzgerald went 4-0 with three pins, defeating Marion Pleasant's Preston Smith in 28 seconds in the championship match. He is 33-1 overall.
Pinyerd lost his final to defending state champion Patrik Garren of Ready by pin in 3:10. He went 2-1 at sectional to improve to 31-3.
Ben Jump went 1-2 at 132 to finish 15-15, and Benton Bair was 1-2 at 138 to finish 17-16. Sam Callison (170) went 2-2 to finish 17-12, and Preston Robson (195) went 0-2 to finish 2-20.
Last year at district, Fitzgerald was runner-up at 120 to advance to state. Pinyerd went 3-3 at heavyweight, but did not advance.
Girls basketball team set for tourney opener
The sixth-seeded girls basketball team is 17-5 entering its Division III district tournament opener at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at home against 10th-seeded West Jefferson.
The Roughriders are 15-7 and tied the Bobcats for second (10-4) in the MSL-Ohio behind Worthington Christian (13-1).
Grandview lost to West Jefferson 54-44 on Dec. 10 and defeated the Roughriders 42-34 on Jan. 24.
The winner advances to play second-seeded North Union or 21st-seeded Sparta Highland in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Worthington Christian Middle School. Highland was 3-18 and North Union was 18-5 before playing Feb. 19.
The district final is March 1 at Worthington Christian Middle School.
Megan McCauley is averaging 8.0 points to go with 5.3 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.7 rebounds, while Dareth Douglass is averaging 7.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Grace Palmer averages 6.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.