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Pryor reaches state in diving

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ERIC GEORGE/THISWEEKSPORTS
Olivia Neff is a member of one of two relays for the Eagles girls swimming team, which advanced to the Division I state meet.
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Perhaps she was being humble, but Estee Pryor of the New Albany High School girls swimming and diving team said she finished second in diving by "like 100 points or so" in the Division I district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State.

As it turned out, Pryor's 529.85-point performance put her just 21.4 shy of champion Olivia Ball, her Ohio State Diving Club teammate from Olentangy Liberty. But the spread didn't matter, as both easily clinched berths to the Division I state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

"I did a really good front two-and-a-half, so I was happy with that," Pryor said. "It's hard to stay consistent with 11 dives, so overall I was just trying to be as consistent as I could and not go one good dive, one bad dive all day. Olivia was pretty consistent, so she won."

Freshman Nikki Watters was fourth (468.15), earning the final berth to state as the top four girls divers and top three boys advanced. The girls diving competition takes place Saturday, Feb. 21.

Pryor is seeded second at state, the place in which she finished last year. Watters, who also is a member of the Ohio State Diving Club, is seeded sixth in the 24-girl competition.

Watters said she didn't feel pressure, mostly because she was in fourth even before her final dive. She finished 27.75 points ahead of fifth-place Maggie Heller, from Dublin Jerome, creating a buffer in part by earning the first 10 score of her career on one of her dives.

"I was a little nervous, but I knew most of the girls diving. It was something where I had a chance to have fun with my friends," Watters said. "Getting to state was in my mind. I wasn't planning on it -- whatever happened, happened -- but I figured I could get this far if I performed up to my potential."

Boys diver David Dinsmore, who was fourth at state last year, scored 553.45 points to place second behind Cameron Thatcher of Liberty (558.85) and ahead of Pickerington North's Clay White (517.45).

Dinsmore is seeded third for his state competition, which takes place Thursday, Feb. 20, the same day as the swimming preliminaries.

Swimming finals will be Saturday, Feb. 22.

The top two placers in each district swimming event automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.

New Albany's boys tied Liberty for sixth (131) behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored. The girls scored 132 points and were seventh behind champion Upper Arlington (522.5) as 24 teams scored.

Two individual swimmers advanced. Carson Barnes was fifth in the 100-yard butterfly (52.5 seconds), just ahead of Brendan Murphy in sixth (52.54). They are seeded 22nd and 23rd, respectively, at state.

Barnes and Murphy also helped the 200 free relay to eighth (1:28.49) and an at-large berth. The relay, which also includes Blake Bergere and Nick Noe, is seeded 22nd.

From the girls team, the 200 free relay (1:39.27, fifth) and 200 medley relay (1:50.28, sixth) advanced. They are seeded 14th and 21st, respectively.

The 200 free relay consists of Taylor Berend, Amanda Jenny, Olivia Neff and Jessica Zaper. Berend, Jenny and Zaper also are on the 200 medley relay with Grace Taylor.

Boys basketball team ties for league title

An eight-game winning streak carried the boys basketball team to a share of the OCC-Capital Division championship, but the lack of a ninth win ensured the Eagles would not be outright league champions for the second consecutive year.

Khalil Iverson's putback of his own missed free throw as time expired gave Delaware a 38-37 victory over visiting New Albany on Feb. 15, tying both teams for the league title with 11-3 records. The Eagles and Pacers finished a game ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (10-4).

New Albany went 14-0 to win the OCC-Capital last year, and also won the league in 2010-11.

Alex Sparks had 11 points to pace the Eagles, who had defeated Delaware 57-40 on Dec. 10.

On Feb. 14, New Albany defeated Mount Vernon 47-38 in its home finale to earn no worse than a tie for the league title. Austin Schaub scored 14 points and the Eagles led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.

"We started focusing on (going) game-by-game rather than just worrying about the end result, and that really helped us," junior center John Miller said. "I just think we've really bonded a lot. We've been more comfortable with each other as the season's gone on. We've been playing a lot better on defense. It carries over to everyone."

New Albany was 13-8 overall entering its regular-season finale Feb. 18 at Westerville Central.

As if tying for the OCC-Capital title wasn't enough, the Eagles face a possible postseason rematch with the Pacers. Tenth-seeded Delaware plays host to 22nd-seeded Dublin Jerome on Saturday, Feb. 22, and the winner plays 18th-seeded New Albany in a second-round game Feb. 28 on the better-seeded team's home court.

Girls team hangs on for tourney win

Meche'la Cobb's 21 points and nine from Brooke Isabel helped the 18th-seeded girls basketball team fend off 27th-seeded Marysville 49-48 in a Division I district tournament first-round game Feb. 15 at home.

The Eagles led by seven late but had to hold on against the Monarchs, who missed a last-second heave from about 60 feet.

New Albany was 14-9 before playing 19th-seeded Westland in a second-round game Feb. 19. The winner plays top-seeded Reynoldsburg, 45th-seeded Columbus West or 47th-seeded Groveport in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Bloom-Carroll.

Wrestling season ends at sectional

No members of the wrestling team advanced from a Division I sectional Feb. 15 at Upper Arlington.

The Eagles scored 21 points and finished 10th of 11 teams behind champion Westerville North (237).

New Albany competed without wrestlers at 195 and 220 pounds and heavyweight. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Hilliard Darby.

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