Licking County News

Watkins Memorial Roundup

Swim coach has realistic approach


Watkins Memorial High School swimming and diving coach Heidi Williams is realistic when it comes to her teams' chances of winning meets, particularly those involving several teams, such as the OCC-Capital Division meet.

With 24 combined swimmers in the program, she knows it is difficult for the boys and girls teams to outscore opponents that have much larger rosters and, thus, have more depth and can enter more swimmers in each event.

That's why Williams doesn't judge the Warriors' performance in a meet by their team scores.

"The beauty of swimming is, although it is a team sport, there are individual winners," she said. "If each individual goes out and swims their best, we'll be satisfied with that. We've got a number of great swimmers who are excelling. We may have fewer opportunities to score team points, but we're having an impact in meets."

With five of the 14 members of the girls team being club swimmers, the Warriors have been getting outstanding efforts.

"Miranda Gessner, Rachel Baughn, Kayla Fenimore, Jayna Hulse and Shelby Seas are not only great swimmers, but their club experience makes them exceptionally hard workers," Williams said. "That has carried over to the entire team. They are the leaders and everyone is seeing them work and following right along. They bring up the entire team morale.

"I think that's why we won the Pentathlon meet (Dec. 20 at Zanesville Rosecrans), the tri-meet at Coshocton with (West Lafayette) Ridgewood (Dec. 27) and two meets at the Licking County YMCA (in Newark). We've been rolling lately."

Gessner set a meet record in the 50-meter freestyle in the Pentathlon by winning in 26.25 seconds. Fenimore won three individual events in the same meet, finishing first in the 50 butterfly, 50 breaststroke and 100 individual medley.

Seas and Hulse led the Warriors when they defeated Newark, Newark Catholic and Lakewood on Dec. 29 at the Licking County Family YMCA. Seas won the 200 IM and 100 free and Hulse won the 200 free and 100 back.

"Kayla is so flexible and strong at multiple strokes," Williams said. "Shelby Seas also is versatile and Rachel Baughn is a real team player, too. All of the club swimmers are willing to swim any stroke. I've thrown all of the girls into different events. We're finding out who can do what and we're strengthening our relays.

"It's awesome that anyone on this team will compete wherever I ask them to compete. I also have been pleased with a few new swimmers in Chelsea List and Hailey Miller. They push themselves very hard and have shown great improvement."

Williams also is excited about the prospects of seeing time drops when the Warriors begin competing in yard-length pools instead of meter pools.

"The brothers, Skylar Chapman and Alan Chapman, have been posting great times for the boys," Williams said. "They've also had good time drops as well, so I can only imagine what happens when we get into yard pools."

Boys basketball team struggling for wins

The boys basketball team fell to 3-8 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Capital with an 80-45 loss to New Albany on Jan. 8, marking its fifth consecutive loss.

Watkins Memorial, which hasn't had a winning season since 1990-91, lost to Olentangy on 71-54 on Jan. 4 after losing to Licking Heights 72-66 on Dec. 28.

Entering their league contest against Olentangy Orange on Jan. 11, the Warriors' last win was on Dec. 18, 58-44 over Big Walnut.

Against Olentangy, senior guard Thomas O'Sickey had 14 points and senior post player Kevin Crawford scored 13. Against New Albany, senior guard Aarmanni Garnett had 13 points, junior forward Hunter Holton scored 10 and Crawford scored nine.

Girls basketball team falls to Eagles, Braves

The girls basketball team dropped a pair of OCC-Capital games last week and was 4-10 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Capital before playing Orange on Jan. 11.

The Warriors lost to New Albany 70-36 on Jan. 8 after falling to Olentangy 64-27 on Jan. 4.

Against New Albany, sophomore guard Ivy Durbin had 13 points and senior post player Brittany Bronder scored eight. Against Olentangy, senior point guard Lou Nickel had nine points.