Senior Alex Clay and sophomores Olivia Ball and Brittany Menninger of the Olentangy Liberty High School girls swimming and diving team chose not to try new techniques while competing in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State.

Senior Alex Clay and sophomores Olivia Ball and Brittany Menninger of the Olentangy Liberty High School girls swimming and diving team chose not to try new techniques while competing in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State.

Nevertheless, the Liberty trio easily took the top three spots in the diving competition, as Ball scored 482.85 points to win the event ahead of Clay (479.3) and Menninger (462.3).

"We're so excited to finish in the top three together here," Clay said. "We didn't change our lists at all. We just worked on our consistency. The three of us stood out for the most part, and we competed with each other for first place at the end of the meet."

Upper Arlington's Emmie Piscopo finished fourth (428.4), as the top four girls divers advanced to state. The Division I girls diving competition is Saturday, Feb. 25, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Ball is seeded second for state behind Centerville's Morgan Mullins, who scored a 486.25 at district. Clay is seeded third and Menninger is seeded fourth.

Junior Olivia Bently finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minutes, 6.54 seconds to also make the cut. Bently is seeded 21st for state.

The top two swimmers automatically advanced to the state meet, but 16 at-large qualifiers also were selected based on times recorded in all district meets statewide.

For Ball, this is her first high school postseason after she chose to compete in the USA Division Winter National Preliminary at the University of Iowa last winter.

"I had a really rough start and I was just hoping I'd make the first cut to 20 divers, after I had the second-to-last score on my first dive," Ball said. "I was very nervous and freaking out, but then I got in a good rhythm and started to make my dives. I knew I needed 51 points to win on my last dive, because Alex had a fantastic meet, and I was able to score 54 points on my inward double.

"For state, I'll be happy if I do my best, no matter where I end up. My teammates will definitely be in the running to win state, along with Taryn McLaughlin from (Hudson) and the other random girls who have their best day there."

Menninger also is making her state meet debut, after missing last year's postseason after having surgery on her right shoulder.

"I've never (competed) in a big meet like this before, so it was nerve-wracking," Menninger said. "I was afraid I wasn't going to have this good of a year after I had my shoulder surgery last winter, so it was really cool to finish in the top three. For state, it would be great to finish somewhere in the top three again."

Clay is hoping to fare better at state than she did last year, when she placed 22nd (157.75).

"I just hope that I dive as well as I did (at district), Clay said. "All three of us have a chance to win, but Olivia has the skill to blow everyone out of the water when she does her best. It would be a dream come true if all three of us made the podium. That would prove that we're one of the best diving teams in the nation."

The Patriots scored 128 points at sectional to place seventh behind champion Upper Arlington (522) as 27 teams scored.

The boys team finished 20th (20) of the 26 teams that scored in the Division I district meet Feb. 17 and 18 at Ohio State as Upper Arlington (435) won.

Freshman Alex Kowal scored 434.7 points to finish fourth in diving, one spot away from advancing.

"This was an awesome day for our divers," coach Laurie Karr said. "They put in a lot of hard work hard and deserve their success. Alex Kowal had a great day diving, too. Olivia Bently also swam well and our relays were stellar."

Neither Olentangy nor Orange had state qualifiers.

•Olentangy's boys team scored 72.5 points to finish 13th.

Senior Eric Evans finished seventh in the 100 breast (59.93) and 10th in the 200 individual medley (2:02.25).

Tyler Norris placed eighth in both the 200 freestyle (1:47.37) and 500 free (4:53.84).

Freshman Keanan Fomich, freshman Andrew Davis, junior Will Paull and Evans also finished 10th in the 200 medley relay in 1:43.31.

The girls team scored 77.5 points to finish 11th.

In diving, sophomore Colleen McHugh was seventh (373) and senior Julie Jefferis finished 10th (349.35).

Senior Madison Wolfe, senior Victoria Langwasser, junior Nicole Chase and sophomore Mara Nebraska finished ninth (1:52.42) in the 200 medley relay.

Wolfe also finished 17th (1:00.68) in the 100 butterfly.

"We had great swims from our younger kids and we dropped our times in almost every event," coach Steve Gipe said. "Our girls broke our medley relay team record, and Madison broke our 100 fly team record, so it was a great way to end our season."

•Orange's boys team scored six points to finish 23rd.

Freshman Carson Miller, junior Alex Chugh, freshman Ric Reynolds and senior Brad Haney finished 22nd in the 400 free relay in 3:36.1, and those same four boys finished 14th in the 200 free relay in 1:36.55.

Reynolds, senior Mark Gamble, Miller and Chugh also finished 22nd (1:51.56) in the 200 medley relay.

"All three of our boys team's relay broke school records, so it's nice to finish on a high note," coach Dan Harris said.

The girls team scored one point to tie Teays Valley for 26th.

Junior Brooke Pulkrabek, sophomore Haley Johnson, freshman Kara Miller and junior Ally Buchanan finished 24th in the 200 medley relay with a team-record time of 2:02.47.

"It feels good to end our season with such a nice accomplishment at district, because it's been a tough season," Buchanan said. "Breaking our school record here is exciting for us."