Centennial High School swimming and diving coach Maria Stead is hoping to have all 11 members of her boys team for the City League meet Saturday, Feb. 2, at Columbus Aquatics Center.
Because of injuries and illnesses, the Stars have yet to have their entire roster compete in a meet, Stead said.
"We're expecting this meet to be really close between us, Whetstone and Northland for first place because we have similar-sized teams with a similar amount of experience," she said. "We're down to 11 boys on our team this year and we'll need all of them to be healthy together for the first time all year to win the City meet, because it really hurts our team score when you take even one or two boys out of our lineup."
Last season, the Stars scored 150 points to win the five-team City League meet for a second-consecutive season, finishing ahead of runner-up Northland (139).
Centennial is 0-2 against both Northland and Whetstone in multiple-team meets this season, most recently scoring 231 points to place fourth of six teams in the Stars Invitational on Jan. 19 at Columbus Aquatics Center behind Olentangy Orange (296), Whetstone (240) and Northland (239).
Winning events for Centennial in the Stars Invitational were Aaron Maharry (50-yard freestyle, 23.53 seconds), Danny Schlosser (100 butterfly, 1:03.34) and the 200 free relay of John Beyer, Trace Watkins, Schlosser and Maharry (1:38).
"We were right behind Whetstone and Northland, but we were missing two boys who could have made the difference," Stead said. "Our boys dropped a lot of time at the Stars Invitational and we're hoping they can continue to drop time at the City meet. I definitely think our relays will score well, and I think we will score well in the 50 free and 100 butterfly again, too. I just hope we're injury- and sickness-free for a change."
Girls swimmers target another City title
The girls swimming and diving team is aiming for its fourth consecutive City championship.
Last season, Centennial finished first (179) of five teams in the City meet ahead of runner-up Whetstone (147), marking its third league title in a row.
"We train for this meet all season and it's our biggest motivation to work hard during practice," junior Lexie Herron said. "It was really awesome when we won the City League meet last time because it was the first time our girls team had ever won (three) consecutive league titles. We talk about doing our best and winning it again all the time because it would mean a lot to us to keep our streak going."
Centennial has placed first or second in every meet so far this season, going 2-0 against both Northland and Whetstone in multiple-team meets along the way.
The Stars won Whetstone's six-team Braves Invitational on Dec. 10 at Columbus Aquatics Center, scoring 160 points to finish ahead of Marysville (130), Grove City (83), Whetstone (78), Northland (55) and Marion Harding (14).
Centennial also won the seven-team Stars Invitational, scoring 366 points to finish ahead of Orange (362), Wellington (343), Whetstone (326), Northland (163), Marion Harding (48) and Morral Ridgedale (36).
"Our girls have been working hard, dropping their times and finishing well, so I just want to see them continue to do what they've been doing all season," Stead said. "Our girls have had only a few disqualifications all season, so I feel good about our chances because we have a lot of depth.
"Our depth gives us a big advantage, because even when we don't take first in an event in the City meet, we're likely to take second and third in that same event."
In the Braves Invitational, Lexie Herron won the 50 free in a program-record 26.36, breaking her own mark of 26.6.
In the Stars Invitational, Julia Brooks, Sam Meanor, Glorianna Fleming and Herron teamed to win the 200 medley relay in 2:03.33. Their time fell just shy of the program's record, 2:03.05, which they set in the Division II district meet last year at Ohio State.
"It felt great to beat my own school record in the 50 free, and I hope I can do it again because I've swam faster times during my splits on our relays," Herron said. "Winning the Stars Invitational gave us a confidence boost because it's basically a preview for the City meet. But we can't let it go to our heads to the point where we get overconfidence, lose focus and goof around."
Boys basketball team loses key league games
The boys basketball team went 0-2 in City League-North Division games last week to drop to 9-5 overall and 8-2 in the league.
The Stars lost to Columbus East 65-38 on Jan. 22 and Northland 65-45 on Jan. 25 to fall further behind the Vikings in the race for the City-North title.
Guard Christian Cumberlander and point guard Elias Osborne each had 10 points against Northland, but 6-foot-3 senior forward Armani Towns had 22 points and 6-3 junior forward Derrick McKeiten scored 16 for the Vikings, who were 15-0 overall and 11-0 in the City-North before playing East on Jan. 29.
Against East, Osborne had 13 points and guard Gyai Gyamerah scored eight.
The Stars travel to Brookhaven on Friday, Feb. 1, for a league contest. They beat the Bearcats 62-60 on Dec. 7, as Gyamerah had 14 points, including two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining and the game tied at 60. Cumberlander had 13 points and forward Jamal Slappy scored 11.
Post player Deiondray Martin had 20 points to lead Brook-haven, which was 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the City-North before playing Beechcroft on Jan. 29.