The New Albany High School swimming and diving program sent 12 competitors to the Division I state meet, double its total from 2013.
Thanks in large part to the Eagles' youth, swimming coach Dave Wharton is optimistic there could be an even larger representation next year.
Freshman Carson Barnes was 19th in the 100-yard butterfly (52.45 seconds) and helped the 200 freestyle relay to 17th (1:27.93) with seniors Brendan Murphy and Nick Noe and junior Blake Bergere. Murphy also was 23rd in the 100 fly (53.28).
None of them made the finals in the state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
On the girls side, freshman Jessica Zaper was on the 200 medley relay that placed 15th (1:50.04) with sophomores Taylor Berend and Grace Taylor and senior Amanda Jenny. Berend, Jenny and Zaper joined sophomore Olivia Neff on the 17th-place 200 free relay (1:40.22).
"A lot of times, a freshman year is dedicated to getting a feel for high school competition and participating on relays," Wharton said. "Overall, our younger swimmers did a real nice job of racing. They got in there and raced. They were in their element."
On the strength of its divers, the boys team scored 16 points and finished 34th behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (255) as 61 teams scored and the girls tied for 17th (37) behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline (281) as 52 teams scored.
Each of the Eagles' divers earned top-three finishes. Junior Estee Pryor was second (521) in the girls competition, followed by freshman Nikki Watters in third (486.1) behind three-time champion Olivia Ball of Olentangy Liberty (553.85).
In the boys competition, junior David Dinsmore was third (547) behind repeat winner Stephen Romanik of Macedonia Nordonia (565.1).
Pryor is an Ohio State recruit.
According to diving coach Selene Kelley, Watters' performance is another sign that New Albany's diving pipeline continues to lengthen.
"A lot of these kids started in the lesson program at New Albany High School or the summer program at New Albany Country Club," Kelley said. "That's one of the reasons we are so strong, and there are kids coming up. Every year, they keep coming. It's very exciting."
Pryor and Dinsmore both were second and Watters placed fourth in the district meet that concluded Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
The boys team tied for sixth (131) behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored and the girls were seventh (132) behind champion Upper Arlington (522.5) as 24 teams scored.
In a sectional Feb. 8 at Thomas Worthington, the boys were first (207) ahead of runner-up Westerville Central (183) and the girls were seventh (132) behind champion Thomas (212.5).
Both teams finished second in the OCC-Capital Division meet Jan. 25 at home, snapping lengthy league title streaks. The boys were second (246) behind Olentangy (263) and the girls scored 282 points to finish behind Olentangy (298).
The boys had won seven consecutive league titles, and the girls had won five in a row.
"Most of our kids are used to swimming at a high level, and they've proved they're able to take initiative," Wharton said. "We talk about what they need to do to focus, but as the year goes on they learn it more on their own. They're going to have a lot of motivation going into next year."
Boys basketball team falls to Delaware
Austin Schaub scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half Feb. 28, but the boys basketball team's season came to an end with a 38-36 loss at Delaware in a Division I district tournament second-round game.
The 18th-seeded Eagles trailed the 10th-seeded Pacers 13-12 at halftime and were down by as much as seven, at 35-28, midway through the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer from Schaub got New Albany within 35-33, and an Avery Schneider 3-pointer trimmed the Eagles' deficit to 37-36.
Phillip Frentsos made three of four free throws in the final 19 seconds for Delaware. Khalil Iverson had 11 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three assists to lead the Pacers into a district semifinal March 5 against eighth-seeded Westerville Central.
The win was Delaware's 14th in a row and second over New Albany in 13 days. The Pacers defeated the Eagles 38-37 on Feb. 15 to forge a tie for the OCC-Capital championship. Both teams were 11-3 in the league.
Schneider added 11 points for New Albany, which finished 13-10 overall.
Wrestling season ends at sectional
Junior Jeff Kim's fifth-place finish at 182 pounds in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Upper Arlington led the wrestling team, whose season ended that day.
William Seward recorded the team's most wins with a 28-16 record at 138, in which he was sixth at sectional. Kim was 2-2 at sectional and finished 24-16.
New Albany scored 21 points and was 10th of 11 teams behind champion Westerville North (237).
Josh Mormol, who like Seward was one of the Eagles' five seniors, went 17-17 at 152 and was 1-2 at sectional. Others with double-digit wins were freshman Justin Mormol (120, 13-19), senior Cameron Brooks (113, 12-21) and junior Hayden Estey (170, 12-25).
New Albany went 1-6 in OCC-Capital duals, finishing sixth behind Delaware (7-0), Olentangy Orange (6-1), Mount Vernon (5-2), Olentangy (4-3), Worthington Kilbourne (3-4) and Big Walnut (2-5) and ahead of Franklin Heights (0-7). The Eagles got their league win in their regular-season finale, defeating Franklin Heights 60-18 on Feb. 6.