Estee Pryor of the New Albany High School swimming and diving team has competed across the country and even around the world in recent months, but Branin Natatorium in Canton is uncharted territory for the sophomore.
Pryor and classmate David Dinsmore led the Eagles into the Division I state meet, winning their respective diving competitions at district and earning the top seeds for state, which runs Thursday, Feb. 21, though Saturday, Feb. 23.
Pryor won the girls district competition with a score of 539.6 on Feb. 16 at Ohio State, a day after Dinsmore scored 538.45 to win boys diving.
Both have participated in a handful of national and international events, including the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide, Australia, in October. Dinsmore won bronze in the boys group B platform, a few months after placing first in platform and second in 3-meter at the Junior National Diving Championships.
Also in Adelaide, Pryor teamed with Samantha Bromberg of Bexley to place eighth in the girls synchronized 3-meter.
"My meets have improved because of how I've prepared," Pryor said. "When this meet came up, I approached it the same way. I stay loose, like for anything else. A meet is a meet, so you just have to act calmer from that experience. Just get on the board. Don't worry about who is the stands."
Like Pryor, Dinsmore -- who was eighth at state last year (441.25) -- took the lead early in his competition.
"I think I was strong. I was consistent," Dinsmore said. "I've grown tremendously. I'm having a lot more fun with the sport. My coaches and I have been working on my come-outs and take-offs, trying to make sure I am consistent and that when I go to meets, I do really well."
Dinsmore and Pryor will be joined by the Eagles' girls 200-yard freestyle relay, which was fifth at district (1 minute, 40.24 seconds) and earned the 18th seed for state. That relay consists of seniors Elly Gleason and Haley McLellan, freshman Olivia Neff and sophomore Taylor Berend.
The boys team scored 73 points at district to place 14th behind champion Upper Arlington (380) as 24 teams scored. The girls scored 116 points to place ninth behind champion UA (491) as 24 teams scored.
Boys basketball team preps for Marysville
Boys basketball coach Sam Davis was flattered the Eagles earned the fourth seed in the Division I district tournament, but he hardly thinks his team's path toward a district title is smooth.
The Eagles play host to 34th-seeded Marysville in a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. If New Albany wins, it will play host to 28th-seeded and OCC-Capital Division foe Mount Vernon at 7 p.m. Feb. 28. New Albany didn't play Marysville during the regular season and swept Mount Vernon in two league meetings, winning 37-29 on Jan. 11 and 50-31 on Feb. 15.
The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal March 6 at Pickerington North against sixth-seeded Zanesville, 18th-seeded Olentangy Orange, 30th-seeded Franklin Heights or 36th-seeded Lancaster.
"(Our seeding) says something about how hard the kids have worked and how others around the area have recognized it," said Davis, whose team is 20-2 overall and went 14-0 to capture the OCC-Capital title. "It's a good draw, but it won't be easy."
Marysville entered the week 7-14 and finished 4-10 in the OCC-Central. Through 19 games, 6-foot-3 junior guard Logan Roston led the Monarchs in scoring at 13 points per contest, followed by 6-3 senior forward Steven Romesburg (12.5) and 6-0 senior guard Kody Davisson (9.9).
"They're very aggressive and they play a lot of kids. They trap all over the place," Davis said. "We're really going to be challenged and we have to be on top of our plan. With that said, it's the Division I tournament. They're all high school varsity teams and everybody has to play somebody."
The Eagles also welcomed back senior guard Jalen Rhea on Feb. 15. He missed the previous three-plus games with a high ankle sprain. Rhea is averaging a team-best 19.1 points, followed by senior guard Jack Serbin (10.2) and senior forward Devon Pitts (9.0).
"Some people might underestimate this team just because they see my numbers and don't know how capable these guys are of picking me up and picking up this team when they have the chance," said Rhea, an American University signee. "We get wins because those guys step up."
Girls basketball team wins tourney opener
Senior forward Kyasia Duling's 16 points and 10 rebounds led the girls basketball team to a 41-30 win over visiting Thomas Worthington in a Division I district tournament first-round game Feb. 16.
Senior guard Hannah Scipio added 11 points for the 13th-seeded Eagles, who improved to 15-8 and advanced to play 17th-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a second-round game Feb. 20 at home. The winner will play top-seeded Reynoldsburg or Columbus West in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at Bloom-Carroll.
The Eagles didn't play any of those teams during the regular season.
Wrestlers Fluty, Jones advance to district
Senior wrestler Nick Fluty finished second at 120 pounds and freshman Matthew Jones was fourth at 195 as both advanced from a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Westland to the district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hilliard Darby.
Fluty lost in a final to Central Crossing's Josh Wimer 6-4 in overtime.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class from each of the four sectionals advanced to district. From there, the top four wrestlers in each class qualify for the state tournament Feb. 28 through March 2 at Ohio State.
Also competing at sectional but failing to advance were freshmen Brian Woo (106, 0-2) and Alex Boffo (113, 0-2), juniors Frank Boscarillo (138, 1-2), Josh Mormol (145, 0-2) and Jeff Kim (182, 1-3, sixth), seniors Corey Mulvey (152, 0-2) and Gabe Sheets (170, 0-2) and sophomore Garrett Dildine (160, 0-2).