Eddy Cordek of the DeSales High School boys swimming and diving team has had all week to analyze how he can shave tenths of a second off his times in the 100-yard backstroke and 50 freestyle in preparation for the Division II state meet.
The senior won the 100 back (54.48 seconds) and placed fifth in the 50 free (22.45) in the district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State to advance to state in both events. He is seeded 14th at state in the 100 back and 24th in the 50 free.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to state, which began Feb. 20 and concludes Friday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide. The top boys diver and top three girls divers also advanced to state.
"I could have been faster," Cordek said of the 100 back, in which he defeated runner-up Seth Stahl of Granville by 1.46 seconds. "The good thing is I know a couple things I did wrong, but I did enough right to win. I was fast enough. Those things I did wrong, I know I can fix them between (before state).
"My turns were a little slow. I took it out wide and my back 50 wasn't great. I need to be more technically sound coming into states, but it was still a really good race."
Cordek will be joined at state by sophomore Coleman McKinney of the boys team and senior diver Andrea Acquista and sophomore Anne Marie Cummins of the girls team.
Acquista, a University of Louisville signee, won the diving competition at district with a score of 476.75 and is the top seed at state. The diving competition took place Feb. 20.
Cummins placed third in both the 100 back (59.15) and 100 butterfly (59.2) at district. She is seeded 16th at state in the former and 17th in the latter.
"I feel better about this year," said Cummins, who placed 20th in the 100 back (1:01.76) and 23rd in the 100 fly (1:01.62) at state last season. "At this point last year, this was my big meet. Hopefully, I've learned from that. I know I'm more excited this time and I know what to expect."
McKinney finished third in the 100 free (48.93) at district and is tied for the 24th seed at state. He placed fourth at district in the 100 back (56.07) but missed a state berth.
The boys team scored 111 points to finish seventh at district, behind champion Granville (332) as 36 teams scored.
The girls team finished eighth (96), behind champion Granville (457) as 36 teams scored.
Boys basketball team earns time off
Encouraged by its recent play, boys basketball coach Blair Albright was glad his team closed the regular season with three games in five days.
The Stallions, who are 11-11 overall and finished 1-7 in the CCL, have at least an 11-day stretch between games. They are seeded 13th of 27 teams in the Division II district tournament and have a first-round bye. They will visit third-seeded Granville or play host to Sparta Highland in the second round.
The second-round game will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, if Granville wins. If Highland wins, the contest will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 28.
DeSales hasn't played either team this season but is 9-0 all-time against Granville.
"I wanted to avoid not playing that long, but as the 13th seed, our options were limited," Albright said.
"If we're creative with how we structure those 10 or 11 days, it'll keep us fresh and I think we'll have that much more of an opportunity to make some noise in the tournament."
Granville is 16-6 overall and is led by senior forward Ethan Schmidt, who is averaging 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds, and senior guard David Fraley, who is averaging 11.4 points.
DeSales lost to Watterson 58-33 on Feb. 15 in its CCL finale before closing the regular season with a 48-35 win at Arlington on Feb. 16.
"We're playing better and the spurts in which we're doing things well are lasting longer," Albright said. "We're still working on putting together a complete performance."
Girls basketball team wins tourney opener
The girls basketball team parlayed a 17-point, first-quarter lead into a 66-51 home win over 18th-seeded Licking Heights in the first round of the Division II district tournament Feb. 16.
Junior guard Maggie Simon scored 17 points to lead the sixth-seeded Stallions, who led 25-8 after the first quarter. Junior forward Coley Tuel added 16 points and sophomore guard Joenyia Herd-Middlebrooks scored 11.
DeSales improved to 15-8 and advanced to play host to 25th-seeded Lakewood in a second-round game Feb. 20.
The winner plays fourth-seeded Utica or 17th-seeded Columbus East in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Gahanna. The semifinal winner will play third-seeded Hartley, seventh-seeded Granville, ninth-seeded Licking Valley or 21st-seeded Whitehall in a district final March 1 at Gahanna.
DeSales defeated East 63-28 on Jan. 28 but did not play Utica during the regular season.
Four wrestlers advance to district
Senior Ian Ferguson won the 160-pound weight class in a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 16 at Licking Valley to lead four wrestlers who qualified for district.
Ferguson pinned Granville's Will Navin in 2:29 in the final. Freshman Jake Maynard (120) and sophomore Conner Cua (126) each placed third and senior Jeff Maynard (145) finished fourth at sectional.
The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional advanced to the district tournament Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Heath. The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament Feb. 28-March 2 at Ohio State.
Also competing at sectional were juniors Nick Myers (132, 0-2), Tyler Darling (152, 0-2) and Malik Gray (220, 0-2), sophomores Mitch Saunders (182, 0-2) and Nick O'Brien (285, 0-2) and freshman Nick Rafter (126, 0-2).
The Stallions scored 83 points in the 13-team sectional to finish seventh, behind champion Sparta Highland (182).
Singer advances to district in bowling
Senior Miranda Singer of the bowling team rolled a 454 series and tied for 22nd of 161 competitors in a girls sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Columbus Western Bowl, earning a berth in the district tournament Saturday, Feb. 23, at HP Lanes.
Singer tied Ready's Marina Sweet, as the top nine teams and top nine finishers not on a qualifying team advanced to district.
At district, the top three finishers not on a qualifying team advance to the state tournament March 2 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The boys team ended its season in a sectional Feb. 16 at Eastland Lanes, as it finished 22nd (2,097) behind champion Westerville South (2,701) as 30 teams scored.
Sophomore Tyler LaTorre led the Stallions with a 472 series to finish 47th of 168 competitors, followed by junior Amber Strohacker (468, 51st), sophomore Tony LaTorre (439, 67th) and junior Anthony Hayes (385, 88th).
Hockey team advances in district tourney
Freshman forward Sam Gray scored two goals to help carry the hockey team to a 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Springboro in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 17 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Seeded 10th of 23 teams in the district, DeSales improved to 19-13-1-1 and advanced to play third-seeded Dublin Jerome in the third round at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Ice Haus. The Stallions avenged a 5-4 loss to Springboro in the first round of the district tournament last season.
DeSales opened the tournament with a 12-0 win over 22nd-seeded Dublin Scioto on Feb. 16, as freshman forward Justin Antoncic and senior forward Joe Gray each had three goals.
The Stallions are 1-1-1 this season against Jerome, most recently losing 4-1 to the Celtics on Feb. 7 in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup.
The third-round winner will play second-seeded Olentangy Orange or seventh-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district semifinal at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Ice Haus.
The district final is March 2 at the Ice Haus.