Junior Gavin Mickelson has made an immediate impact in his return to the Marysville High School swimming and diving program.
Mickelson opted not to compete for the Monarchs last season, instead focusing his attention at the club level.
When Mickelson left the Springfield YMCA Swim Club earlier this year to join the United Swim Association club team based in Hilliard, he decided to return to high school swimming.
With the encouragement of first-year Marysville coach Craig Faircloth, Mickelson rejoined the boys team and already has set two program records.
"Last year I took a break (from high school swimming) so I could really do some hard training," Mickelson said. "With the new coach, Craig has allowed me to do both club and high school, so it's a good situation."
Mickelson set a program record while winning the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 50.7 seconds) in a meet against Dublin Jerome on Dec. 11 at Union County YMCA and then set the program record in the 500 free (4:58.63) during the NEK Pancreatic Cancer Crush meet Dec. 14 in Worthington.
Justin Kouri held the previous records of 1:51.35 in the 200 free and 4:58.74 in the 500 free, which he set in 2002.
"I sure hope there's more records coming," Mickelson said. "I have my eyes on a couple more. I'm trying to get as many Mickelson names up there (on the record board) as I can."
Mickelson's brothers -- Colin, Quinn and Ian -- are Marysville graduates who also hold program records.
Faircloth said it is important to allow swimmers to also compete at the club level, as long as they show a commitment to the high school team.
"Swimmers such as (Mickelson) that swim year-round have relationships with their club coach and I wanted to honor that relationship," Faircloth said. "We have a requirement that requires those who swim (outside the program) ... that they swim a minimum of 30 workouts -- that includes meets as well throughout the season -- to be able to letter."
Senior Morgan DeWitt of the girls team also competes for the USA club team.
"When we set up the high school program for this year, we just wanted to optimize each swimmer's opportunity to get the most out of swimming whether it'd be with a club coach or high school," Faircloth said.
Faircloth has been the aquatics and sports coordinator at Union County YMCA since July and has coached at the club level the past 16 years.
"I really like swimming under him," Mickelson said. "He's a really good coach. There's always stuff to improve on. I've been swimming for 10 years and he's still teaching me stuff."
As a freshman, Mickelson was a member of the 14th-place 200 medley relay and was 22nd in the 100 backstroke in the Division I district meet.
"My goal at the beginning of the season was to try and get some records and possibly make it to state if I can, and help the team out to win as many meets as we can, and we're getting real close," he said.
Marysville returns to action Jan. 4 when it competes against Olentangy Orange at Union County YMCA.
Wrestler Pfarr takes second at Ironman
Senior wrestler Austin Pfarr finished second at 220 pounds in the Ironman Tournament held Dec. 13 and 14 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
Pfarr went 3-1, losing to Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic's Edgar Ruano 3-2 in the final.
Junior Taleb Rahmani went 3-2 at 145, and seniors Hayden Lee (113) and David Sparks (138) both went 2-2.
"The Ironman is regarded as the toughest in-season tournament in the country," coach Shawn Andrews said. "To have our guys go there and win matches shows that they are headed in the right direction for reaching their goals at the end of the season. However, it also shows that there is still plenty of work to do between now and then. We are trying to focus week by week at getting better."
Gymnastics team competes in first meet
The gymnastics team competed in its first meet Dec. 13 and finished third (112.15) behind Buckeye Valley (124.55) and OCC-Capital Division opponent Orange (122.55).
"We were very excited," coach Amber Calvert said. "I would say it was a nervous excitement because we weren't even sure what to expect."
Senior Selena Sorensen finished first in the all-around (34.55). She was first on uneven bars (8.8), balance beam (8.5) and floor exercise (9.2) and fifth on vault (8.05).
Calvert said Sorensen did not perform her top skill on vault.
"Selena is a very talented gymnast and I expect great things from her and think she will have the ability to go to state and do well at state," Calvert said.
Senior Hannah Burns was sixth on vault (7.9).
The Monarchs competed without sophomores Emily Haudenschield (ankle injury) and Molly Tuchfarber (school commitment).
They return to action Jan. 7 at league opponent Jerome.
Boys basketball team loses at Coffman
The boys basketball team was 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Central before playing Thomas Worthington on Dec. 20.
The Monarchs lost their league opener at Dublin Coffman 83-74 on Dec. 13 despite Logan Roston scoring a game-high 28 points.
Javon Knox and Drew Mellen each scored 13 points and Case Chamblin had 12.
Girls basketball team looks to bounce back
The girls basketball team was looking to end a two-game losing streak when it played Thomas on Dec. 20.
The Monarchs were 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Central after losing at Olentangy Liberty 57-47 on Dec. 17.
Meranda Wilson scored 15 points and Hannah Long had 10.
"It was a very tough loss," coach Amanda Hackett said. "I thought we played hard and to our potential at times, but it was not the whole game. We need to be consistent the entire game to win in this conference."
The Monarchs lost at home to Coffman 46-34 on Dec. 13 as Taylor Eberhart scored eight points.
Wing to take over boys golf program
Pending school board approval, Jon Wing will be the next boys golf coach replacing Anthony Given, who resigned following his third season.
Wing is a 2005 graduate of Marysville, where he played golf for four years. He also played baseball and basketball at Marysville, as well as baseball at Capital University.