Pickerington Times-Sun

Swimming & Diving

North's Martin returns to state

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Asked whether Andrew Martin's times in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races in the Division I district swimming and diving meet would be enough for the senior to advance to state, Pickerington High School North coach Justin Dortch needed no time to think.

"I think he has to be in," Dortch said of Martin, an Ashland University signee. "He raced very well. Andrew knows what it takes at this level."

Dortch's assessment ended up being spot-on.

Martin was third in the 50 free (20.93 seconds) and fifth in the 100 free (46.59) on Feb. 15 at Ohio State, earning at-large berths to the state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. It will be his third consecutive trip to state.

The preliminaries take place Friday, Feb. 21. The finals are Saturday, Feb. 22.

The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.

The top three boys divers and top four girls divers also advanced.

Martin -- who is seeded fourth in the 50 free and 15th in the 100 free -- also will compete with the boys 200 free relay, which finished ninth (1:29.26) at district and is seeded 24th of 24 teams at state. The rest of the relay consists of Nate Campbell, Justin Mathews and Durkin Ross.

They will be joined in Canton by teammate Clay White, who was third (517.45 points) in diving and is seeded fourth at state. Boys diving will be held Thursday, Feb. 20.

"We had a great meet," Dortch said of district. "You look at Andrew, Clay and the relay ... they did a fantastic job. And what I'm really thrilled about with both teams is the youth of these teams is really what came through today. We had freshmen and sophomores and all the underclassmen. They stepped up and looked impressive. They're ready to take the next step."

Justin Mathews was 10th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.74) and 17th in the 200 individual medley (2:06.5) as North's boys scored 85 points, placing 11th behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored.

St. Charles snapped Upper Arlington's three-year string of district championships. The Golden Bears were second with 287 points.

The best individual finish for North's girls came from freshman Abby Grube, who was 16th in the 100 breast (1:08.98). The Panthers scored 31 points to place 16th behind champion UA (522.5), which won its 15th consecutive district title, as 24 teams scored.

Last year at state, Martin was eighth in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. White was ninth in diving.

As a sophomore, Martin was 22nd in the 100 back and was on the 400 free relay that finished 23rd.

Central's season ends at district

Neither Central's boys nor girls teams advanced any individuals or relays to state or scored at district.

The Tigers' best finishes came from Sidney Martin, who was 18th in the girls 100 fly (1:01.13), and the boys 200 medley relay, which was 18th (1:34.81) with Trace Eberhardt, George Melikian, Ben Rapley and Matthias Speidel.

"We still had some solid swims, especially when you look at Trace, who is a freshman and got here in two events (the 100 fly and 100 free) and that the entire girls 400 free relay was all sophomores," Dortch, who coaches both Central and North, said of Kallan Holzapfel, Valerie Orr, Haylee Sayre and Rachael Sentivany. "It's the youth movement that's happening on both teams."

In the OCC-Ohio Division meet Jan. 25 at Thomas Worthington, Central's boys were fifth (132) behind North (330), Grove City (232), Lancaster (211) and Gahanna (209) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (27). The girls were fifth (135) behind Gahanna (354.5), Reynoldsburg (222), North (221) and Lancaster (157.5) and ahead of Grove City (85).

Ashley Stewart was second in the 50 free (26.74) and third in the 100 back (1:08.13) to pace the girls. Matthias Speidel was second in the 100 back (1:02.94) to lead the boys. He is the boys team's only senior.

In the UA sectional Feb. 8, both teams placed eighth. The boys scored 50.5 points behind champion St. Charles (340.5) as 11 teams scored, and the girls had 58.5 points behind champion UA (494) as 13 teams scored

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