The Reynoldsburg High School swimming and diving program had its first Division I state qualifier since 2006 a year ago when Morgan McCafferty advanced to Branin Natatorium in Canton in the 100-yard backstroke.
Getting McCafferty back to state -- this time with some teammates -- is among the Raiders' goals this winter.
Reynoldsburg opened Dec. 4 with a dual meet against Central Crossing.
"I have a number of team and individual goals for my swimmers," second-year coach Stephanie Kiss said. "I would love to qualify more individuals for districts and take all of our relays to states. In addition, I expect to have Morgan McCafferty back at states in the 100 back and possibly in the 100 (butterfly) or 200 (individual medley)."
McCafferty placed fifth (57.46 seconds) in the 100 back in the district meet last year at Ohio State to advance to state, where she was seeded 11th and finished 12th (57.7).
In addition to the three individual events, McCafferty likely will swim the back on the 200 medley relay.
Sophomore Marisa Glusich is another member of the girls team whom Kiss expects to contend for a state berth. She will compete in the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle in addition to swimming the breast in the 200 medley relay.
Also on the girls team are senior Victoria Suitor, junior Sara Kohs, sophomores Bethany Dresbach, Sofia Jarrell, DrewAnne Maffett and Leah Svoboda and freshmen Katie Crawford and Acadia Garver.
The boys team is expected to be led by senior Josh Dorsett, who will compete in the 50 and 100 free as well as the fly on the 200 medley relay.
Also on the team are senior Connor Svoboda, junior D.J. Jenkins, sophomores Hayden Stratman and Devin Wooddell and freshman Christian Morgan.
Last season, the boys team finished fifth (116 points) in the OCC-Ohio Division meet, behind Pickerington North (365), Gahanna (227), Lancaster (211) and Grove City (151) and ahead of Pickerington Central (80) and Newark (5). The girls team also placed fifth (174.5), behind Gahanna (241), Pickerington North (238.5), Pickerington Central (220) and Grove City (198) and ahead of Lancaster (126) and Newark (1).
In the sectional at Upper Arlington, the boys team finished ninth (37) behind champion UA (397.5) and the girls team was seventh (73) behind champion UA (446).
At district, the boys team finished 25th (2) b ehind champion UA (435) and the girls team was 16th (46) behind champion UA (522).
"The season looks great already," Kiss said. "It seems like we're starting right where we left off at the end of last season. Everyone is working really hard and is focused on their individual and team goals."
Wrestling team out to overcome youth
With a senior class that included five eventual district qualifiers, wrestling coach Jared Ball entered his team in four regular-season tournaments outside the Central District last season.
The schedule this season features less travel, which should give a young Raiders squad an opportunity to grow slowly.
"We're just super young, although the kids are working hard," said Ball, who is in his fourth season leading the program. "This year we're going to (the Chagrin Falls) Kenston (Invitational on Dec. 28 and 29), but our schedule is not quite the caliber of what it has been when we've gone to places like (the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Holiday Invitational). A lot of teams around here are Division I caliber, but we've geared it to where we can help our young kids gain some confidence."
The Raiders opened Dec. 1 in the 13-team Wazie Classic at Mount Vernon, scoring 273 points to finish seventh behind champion Mount Vernon (629). They don't compete again until Dec. 14 against Licking Heights, New Albany and Watkins Memorial.
Back to lead Reynoldsburg are seniors Nick Johnston (160 pounds) and Jordan Reed (195) and junior James Love (170).
Last season, Reed went 24-17 and was a Division I district qualifier at 195, Johnston went 25-13 at 152 and Love was 22-15 at 170. Reed also was a district qualifier as a sophomore.
Other expected starters heading into the Wazie Classic were juniors Jalen Jones (126), Andrew McBane (145) and Alex Meeks (138), sophomore Blake Campbell (152) and freshmen Skylar Bray (120) and Dominic Hathaway (106).
Junior Nathan Smiley and sophomore Desmund Jones both are at 132, junior Raphael Turner and sophomore Mike Harville are at 220 and junior Justin Hamilton and sophomore Christian Eubanks are at heavyweight.
Senior Jeff Hensel should contribute at 152 or 160.
Last season, the Raiders went 3-4 in OCC-Ohio dual matches to tie Gahanna and Grove City for fourth, behind Lancaster (7-0), Pickerington North (6-1) and Pickerington Central (5-2) and ahead of Groveport (1-6) and Newark (0-7).
Reynoldsburg then finished fourth (162.5) in the 10-team sectional at Watkins Memorial behind champion Lancaster (220.5). Advancing to district by placing in the top four were Reed (second) and 2012 graduates Will Boykin (126, second), Greg Chang (113, third), Xander Straughter (120, first), Lawrence Tackett (132, fourth) and Kyle Teasley (heavyweight, fourth).
The Raiders then finished 26th (19) at district at Hilliard Darby behind champion Marysville (174) as 37 teams scored. Chang and Straughter each placed sixth to miss advancing to the state tournament at Ohio State by two spots.
"We are very young," Ball said. "We graduated a large senior class, so a lot of the juniors, with the exception of James Love, have limited experience."