Knowing that she had three dives remaining in her prep career and was 12.75 points out of first place in the Division II state swimming and diving meet Feb. 20, DeSales High School senior Andrea Acquista mixed anxiety with calm.
Attempting to calm her nerves at Branin Natatorium in Canton, she listened to one of her favorite songs, When I Was Your Man, by Bruno Mars.
"Usually in that situation, I'm listening to an upbeat song, but I already had too much adrenaline," said Acquista, a University of Louisville signee. "I needed something to calm my nerves."
Acquista got within .3 of a point of the leader, Wellington's Brittany Anderson, with an inward one-and-a-half pike on her ninth dive, took the lead after her 10th with an inward double tuck and sealed the championship on her 11th to finish with 419.25 points, 3.75 ahead of runner-up Anderson.
"I tried not to look too much at the leaderboard," Acquista said. "My 11th dive, I knew I had to nail it to win. I did a front, one-and-a-half full twist. That's my best dive and my favorite one. I knew it'd be my last dive in high school, and I knew if I approached it like I approached my dives in practice, I'd have a much better chance to do well."
Acquista, who placed fourth at state as a freshman (381.55) and sophomore (437.75), is the Stallions' first swimming or diving state champion since 2011 graduate Cooper Staton won the 50-yard freestyle title in 2010.
"I'm still kind of surprised," Acquista said the day after winning the state title. "I'm still trying to process the fact that I'm a state champion. All of the hours and work I've put in since I was a little kid, it's incredible to reach this. I knew I was seeded first (going into the state meet), but still, to win it is unreal."
Also competing at state was sophomore Anne Marie Cummins, who placed 14th in the 100 butterfly (59.35 seconds) and 19th in the 100 backstroke (59.95).
The girls team scored 23 points at state, which concluded Feb. 22, to place 23rd behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (321) as 47 teams scored.
The boys team was represented at state by senior Eddy Cordek and freshman Coleman McKinney.
Cordek placed 14th in the 100 back (55.03) and 23rd in the 50 free (22.53) and McKinney finished 23rd in the 100 free (49.43), as the Stallions scored two points to finish 54th behind champion Dayton Oakwood (288) as 58 teams scored.
In a Division II sectional meet Feb. 9 at Columbus Academy, the boys team tied Bexley for fourth (109) behind champion Granville (279) as 21 teams scored, and the girls team was fifth (73) behind champion Granville (339) as 24 teams scored.
At district Feb. 15 at Ohio State, the boys were seventh (111) behind champion Gran-ville (332) as 36 teams scored, and the girls were eighth (96) behind champion Granville (457) as 36 teams scored.
Both teams both finished fourth in the CCL meet Jan. 27 at Columbus School for Girls. The boys scored 174 points to finish behind St. Charles (417), Hartley (234) and Watterson (190) and ahead of Ready (8), and the girls scored 158.5 to finish behind Watterson (404), CSG (360) and Hartley (210.5) and ahead of Ready (1).
Ferguson advances to state in wrestling
Ian Ferguson was the only member of the wrestling team to advance to the Division II state tournament, which runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, at Ohio State.
The senior went 4-0 at 160 pounds at district Feb. 22 and 23 at Heath to win his weight class and improve to 37-4 on the season.
He opened by pinning Carrollton's Jonathan Dunlap in 2:43. He then beat Warsaw River View's Brendan Scherer 8-2 and Steubenville's Andrew Odell 9-8 before defeating Cambridge's Dillon Sunnafrank 3-0 in the final.
"I've been able to take guys down and keep control on top. That's what's been winning me matches this year," Ferguson said. "I definitely need to work on my work on bottom if I expect to be a state champion. I felt like I needed to prove myself this year because I didn't do nearly what I was capable of last year."
Also competing at district were senior Jeff Maynard at 145 (0-2, 4-7), sophomore Conner Cua at 126 (0-2, 13-17) and freshman Jake Maynard at 120 (2-2, 32-11).
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to state.
DeSales scored 32 points to finish 18th behind champion Uhrichsville Claymont (182.5) as 42 teams scored.
Singer heads to state in bowling
Senior Miranda Singer qualified for the girls state bowling tournament by rolling a 614 series to place second of 118 competitors in the district tournament Feb. 23 at HP Lanes.
Singer rolled games of 153, 247 and 214 to finish behind Westerville Central's Savannah Slark (625), as the top three individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced to state Friday, March 1, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Miltko qualifies for state in gymnastics
Kate Miltko of the gymnastics team won the all-around (36.375) in the district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The senior qualified for the individual state meet Saturday, March 2, at Hilliard Bradley in all four events and the all-around. She placed second on balance beam (9.375), tied for second on vault (9.225), fifth on floor exercise (9.0) and seventh on uneven bars (8.775).
The top nine finishers in each event and the all-around at district qualified for state.
DeSales placed sixth (125.55) behind champion Kilbourne (140.63) as 24 teams scored. Dublin Coffman (138.93) and Thomas Worthington (136.13) earned the other two qualifying spots for the team state meet Friday, March 1, at Bradley.
Girls basketball team advances in tourney
Sophomore guard Carli Codner-Pinto had 11 points and senior guard Miranda Johnson scored eight as the girls basketball team routed 25th-seeded Lakewood 52-21 in a Division II district tournament second-round game Feb. 20 at home.
The sixth-seeded Stallions led the Lancers 36-10 at halftime.
DeSales improved to 16-8 and advanced to face fourth-seeded Utica in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Gahanna. The winner plays third-seeded Hartley or seventh-seeded Granville in a district final at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Gahanna.
The Stallions defeated Granville 41-40 on Nov. 28 but went 0-2 against Hartley in CCL play, losing 41-33 on Jan. 12 and 31-30 on Feb. 9.
The district champion will play Carrollton, Millersburg West Holmes, Wintersville Indian Creek or Zanesville Maysville in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Zanesville.
Boys basketball team opens postseason
The boys basketball team opened the Division II district tournament with a second-round game at third-seeded Granville on Feb. 27.
The winner plays sixth-seeded Columbus South or eighth-seeded Centennial in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Newark.
The Stallions, who are seeded 13th and had a first-round bye, entered the postseason 11-11. They did not play South or Centennial during the regular season.
Season ends for hockey team
The hockey team finished its season with a 5-0 loss to third-seeded Dublin Jerome in the third round of the district tournament Feb. 23 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The Stallions, who were seeded 10th, finished 19-14-1-1.