Licking County News

Watkins Memorial Roundup

Confidence high for swimmers

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Daphne Snyder and the Watkins Memorial girls and boys swimming and diving teams are preparing for the Division I sectional meet, which is Saturday, Feb. 9, at Thomas Worthington.
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The Watkins Memorial High School boys and girls swimming and diving teams will compete Saturday, Feb. 9, in the Division I sectional meet at Thomas Worthington.

The winner of each event qualifies for the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites. Divers do not compete until the district meet.

Last season, the girls team finished seventh (94 points) behind champion and host Thomas Worthington (254).

"I think we have the capability to qualify to district in anywhere from five to 12 events depending on how we perform that day," coach Heidi Williams said. "We've got five girls who can qualify in their two individual events and then we'll find the right combinations for two of our relays, although I'm not sure just yet which of the two we'll go for."

The five girls to whom Williams was referring are senior Miranda Gessner, junior Rachel Baughn and sophomores Kayla Fenimore, Jayna Hulse and Shelby Seas. All five are club swimmers.

"Miranda has a chance in the (50-yard freestyle) and the 100 free and Kayla looks solid in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly," Williams said. "Shelby can make it in the 200 individual medley or the 100 breaststroke and Rachel will be in the 100 fly and possibly the 50 free or 100 backstroke. Jayna has a chance in the 200 free or 100 back.

"We're looking at combinations and last year's times in the relays to determine how we want to approach those. I will also seek the girls' input because they know their bodies better than I do."

Gessner said the girls work well together no matter which relays they concentrate on.

"We've all been good friends for a couple of years, so we'll see who wants to do what and let our coach make the final decision," Gessner said. "Personally, I'd like to focus on the 200 free and 200 medley relays. But all that matters to me is trying for career bests in my individual events and whatever relays we end up competing in.

"I've been happy with my season so far. I'm close to where I finished last year and we still have some time to work on things before sectional. I think I'll do pretty well and that we're going to do well as a team, too."

The girls team finished fifth (114) in the OCC-Capital Division meet that concluded Jan. 26 at Thomas Worthington, behind New Albany (312), Olentangy (274), Delaware (259) and Olentangy Orange (167) and ahead of Big Walnut (101) and Mount Vernon (63). Franklin Heights does not have a swimming and diving program.

Gessner placed fourth in the 50 free (26.45 seconds) and fifth in the 100 free (59.24), Fenimore was fourth in the 100 fly (1:07.33) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:27.91) and Baughn was sixth in the 100 fly (1:10.09).

"We performed well in our conference meet," Williams said.

"We had some big drops in times and much improvement was shown overall. Although we didn't have any first-place finishes, we did have some outstanding performances and several in the top 10."

The boys team finished 11th (29) at sectional last season behind champion New Albany (254).

Sophomore Alan Chapman and senior Charlie Grady advanced to district as part of three relays. Chapman is hoping to qualify individually this season.

"He's so versatile, so we're looking at a lot of options for him," Williams said of Chapman.

"He'll definitely be in the 100 breast, but I'm not sure about his other event. He's competed well in the 200 IM, the 100 back, the 500 free and the 100 fly. He's also a big part of the medley relay and the 200 free relay, both of which we should have a chance to qualify to district."

"I think the breast and fly are my top strokes," Chapman said. "I need a little extra pool time ... to get where I want to be, though."

Chapman had the boys' top finish in the league meet, placing third in the 100 breast (1:10.95).

The Warriors finished sixth (77) behind New Albany (335), Olentangy (274), Delaware (254), Orange (166) and Mount Vernon (77) and ahead of Big Walnut (74).

Boys basketball team wins consecutive games

The boys basketball team was 5-12 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Feb. 1.

Watkins Memorial won back-to-back games for the second time this season, defeating host Hilliard Bradley 55-51 on Jan. 22 and visiting Mount Vernon 56-45 on Jan. 25, before losing to Big Walnut 65-61 on the road Jan. 29.

Against Mount Vernon, guard Aarmanni Garnett had 11 points and guard Clay Gray and post player Jared Clark both scored 10 as the Warriors outscored the Yellow Jackets 29-14 in the second and third quarters.

Against Big Walnut, guard Thomas O'Sickey had 14 points, Clark scored 12 and Garnett scored 10.

The Warriors had opened the season with victories over Licking Valley (64-61 on Nov. 30) and Johnstown (50-41 on Dec. 4) before losing 11 of their next 12 games.

Wrestlers set for final OCC match

The wrestling team will close the regular season with an OCC-Capital dual match Thursday, Feb. 7, at Delaware.

Watkins Memorial is 4-2 in the league and are tied with Olentangy Orange for third behind Mount Vernon (6-0) and Delaware (5-1).

After facing Delaware, Watkins Memorial will prepare for the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 16 at home.

The Warriors are seeded 14th in the district and will be joined at their sectional site by sixth-seeded Thomas Worthington, seventh-seeded Pickerington Central, 10th-seeded Orange and 11th-seeded Bradley as well as Canal Winchester, Dublin Coffman, Olentangy, Reynoldsburg and Zanesville.

The Warriors played host to the Watkins Memorial Invitational on Feb. 2.

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