Reynoldsburg High School sophomore Morgan McCafferty hopes that sometime soon she'll be swimming the 100-yard backstroke in 54 seconds or faster.
For now, she'll take the progress she's made the last two years as a sign that the goal is a realistic one.
In the Division I state swimming and diving meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, McCafferty swam 57.45 in her preliminary race to miss advancing to the championship final by one spot. She then improved that time to 57.14 during the consolation final to place 10th overall.
McCafferty was 12th (57.7) at state a year ago.
"I've been training to (swim in 54 seconds) all season but I'm just a sophomore," she said. "I have two more years to get a 54, 53 or a 52. I feel myself getting better every year.
"(I've improved my) starts, turns, finish, pretty much everything. I have so much more confidence this year than I did last year. I just feel like a better swimmer all around."
In the preliminary Feb. 22, McCafferty missed qualifying for the championship final by .16 of a second.
Her finish in the event helped the Reynoldsburg girls place 44th (7 points) behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline Academy (234) as 55 teams scored.
"I think that overall she thought it was a good swim (in the preliminary)," coach Stephanie Kiss said. "She had a great start. Her walls were a little shaky, but she's going to be working on that. Other than that, her stroke was really good."
"I just felt amazing," McCafferty said. "I felt great in the warm-up pool and I'm so happy with my time."
Girls basketball team advances to semi
The top-seeded girls basketball team easily advanced to a Division I district semifinal.
The Raiders, who opened the postseason with wins over Franklin Heights (105-11 on Feb. 16) and Columbus West (109-16 on Feb. 20), play 17th-seeded Olentangy Liberty at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at Bloom-Carroll.
The winner plays 14th-seeded Newark or 23rd-seeded Upper Arlington in a district final at noon Saturday, March 2, at Bloom-Carroll.
The district champion will meet North Canton Hoover, Canton McKinley, Uniontown Lake or Wooster in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Otterbein University. The regional final is 7:15 p.m. March 8 at the same site.
Liberty set up the matchup with Reynoldsburg by upsetting 13th-seeded New Albany 31-30 on Feb. 20 in a second-round game. The Patriots tied the program record for wins as they improved to 15-8.
Reynoldsburg is 22-2.
"I know (Liberty has) a good freshman point guard," coach Jack Purtell said of Alexa Fisher, who scored seven points during the final minute to lead her team over New Albany.
"Their style is a lot different than ours. They play a lot of zone (defense). We have to get them to play our speed rather than having us play their speed. Our kids have been in a lot of big games and I'm trusting my seniors to get everybody ready to go."
Against West, Reynoldsburg's starters played just seven minutes, according to Purtell.
Junior forward Nicole Orr had 16 points, junior guard Deshay Thomas and sophomore guard Chandlar Hines both scored 14, and senior guard Yamonie Jenkins and sophomore forwards Courtney Purtell and Sherice Kelley all scored 10.
Boys basketball team wins tourney opener
The eighth-seeded boys basketball team opened the Division I district tournament with a 71-44 win over Whetstone on Feb. 23.
The Raiders played host to 26th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a second-round game Feb. 27, with the winner advancing to play ninth-seeded Gahanna or 21st-seeded Olentangy in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Westerville Central. The winner will play second-seeded Westerville North, 13th-seeded Newark, 17th-seeded St. Charles or 40th-seeded Columbus West in a district final at 3 p.m. March 9 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Raiders improved to 18-5 by beating Whetstone, as senior forward Wendell Davis had 32 points and senior forward Mykel Traylor-Bennett added 12.
Bowlers end year at district
The girls bowling team and one member of the boys team ended their seasons at district last weekend.
On Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, the girls placed 14th (2,820) of 18 teams behind champion Cardington (3,682) as the top three teams qualified for state.
On Feb. 22 in the boys district tournament at HP Lanes, senior Zakery Aeling tied Westerville North's Nickolas Pannell for 54th (505) of 117 competitors as the top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
"With having four new bowlers (on the girls team), I'm not unhappy at all with how we did," coach Jean Martin said.
"(Aeling) had a couple decent games. It was great (for him to compete at district)."
Senior Angela Williams led the girls team at district, placing 31st (469) of 118 competitors.
She was followed by sophomores Emily Harrell (tied for 35th, 458) and Michaela Johnson (tied for 50th, 447) and senior Katlin Crow (76th, 390). Junior Amber Grigley (253) competed in two games and junior Courtney Quappe (86) competed in one.
In a sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Columbus Western Bowl, the girls were ninth (2,646) of 25 teams behind champion Briggs (3,757) to earn the final district-qualifying berth.
The boys finished 16th (3,267) in the 30-team sectional Feb. 16 at Columbus Western Bowl behind champion Newark (4,030).
Aeling was 24th (555) of 166 competitors, followed by sophomore Chad Szczepanski (tied for 37th, 520) and junior Nicholas Mahan (73rd, 467). Competing in one game apiece were seniors Canei Brent (141) and Matthew Scholl (175).