The New Albany High School boys swimming and diving team entered the season believing it had a good chance to have a strong 200-yard freestyle relay. The only question was who was going to be the fourth member.

The New Albany High School boys swimming and diving team entered the season believing it had a good chance to have a strong 200-yard freestyle relay. The only question was who was going to be the fourth member.

It wasn't until the Ned Reeb Invitational on Jan. 9 that the Eagles were sure they found their man in Chase Honeycutt.

New Albany, which competes in Division II in the postseason, finished seventh (107 points) to Hunting Valley University School (314) at the Ned Reeb. University School was the only Division II program to finish higher than New Albany in the team standings.

The 200 free relay finished second (1 minute, 29.42 seconds) to University School (1:28.73).

"We needed a fourth person and we think Chase Honeycutt is starting to fill that void," said Alex Alfonso, a member of last year's 400 free relay, which finished ninth (3:17.98) at state.

To get the 400 relay back to the state meet, the Eagles are looking for more of their younger swimmers to fill spots. Cullen Challacombe and Fredrick Jenny have shown promise as up-and-coming swimmers for the Eagles. Those two, along with Honeycutt and Robert Huey, helped the 400 free relay finish 16th (3:37.18) to University School (3:11.34) at the Ned Reeb.

Huey is also a valuable member of the 200 medley relay as he finished 15th (1:02.86) in the state last year in the 100 breaststroke, which is one of the tougher strokes to fill on the relay.

The 200 medley relay of Matt Gleason, Huey, David Huddle and Alfonso was fifth (1:40.24) to St. Charles (1:37.91) at the Ned Reeb.

At state last year, New Albany was fourth (168) behind champion University School (288). Alfonso, Huddle, Huey and Gleason returned with state experience. With those four back and the development of the younger swimmers, assistant coach Brad Burget said the Eagles should be shooting for a top eight finish at state.

After the Ned Reeb, that certainly seems possible.

"(The Ned Reeb) was a good environment," Huddle said. "(Finishing higher at state than last year's team) might be a little ambitious, but it's looking good. Possibly better than we thought."

The Eagles are looking to win their fourth consecutive OCC-Capital Division title. They have won the league every season since joining the OCC-Capital in 2006-07.

The diving competition will be held Friday at Dublin Recreation Center and the swimming competition will be held Saturday at New Albany.

The Eagles dominated last year's league meet, scoring 459 points. Mount Vernon (307) finished second, followed by Delaware (207), Olentangy Orange (85), Watkins Memorial (45) and Big Walnut (11).

•The girls team was without several key members at the Ned Reeb, including twin sisters Fanny and Franciska Mandy, both of whom helped the Eagles win the state title in the 200 free relay (1:39.85) last year.

The Eagles were state runners-up a year ago in Division II, scoring 213 points as Gates Mills Hawken (334) won.

At the Ned Reeb, the Eagles were 13th (60) behind champion Upper Arlington (294).

New Albany lacks a big point-getter such as Molly Dengler, who graduated after winning the state title in the 200 individual medley (2:05.34) and was second in the 500 free (5:02.94).

Jenna Young, who also was part of the state-champion 200 free relay (1:34.4), was second in the 100 backstroke (57.82) and third in the 200 free (1:54.67), chose not to compete this year.

For the rest of this season, the Eagles, who have moved up to Division I, are relying on a younger core that includes the Mandy twins, Jacqueline Barnes, Devin McGee, Haley McClellan, Stephanie Jones, Suzanne Sliwowski and Dominique Suarez.

"The girls have the potential to end up strong, we're just waiting to see where they are," Burget said. "We have a lot of depth on the girls side. We're a really good dual meet team right now."