Brittany Anderson of the Wellington School girls swimming and diving team overcame adversity to place third in diving in the Division II state meet.
On her fourth dive, the senior and University of Michigan signee smacked the back of her left hand on the diving board while executing a one-and-a-half reverse pike. The mistake dropped her from second place to 17th in the event, which was held Feb. 19 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Making matters worse, Anderson's fingers, which were bleeding, swelled to the point that she could not clasp her hands above her head to properly break the water on her final seven dives.
"I was angry and irritated because I've worked so hard to put myself in a position to make it back to state and that was the worst possible time that I could have hit the board," Anderson said. "I was really worried and I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to place on the podium (top eight) after missing that dive so badly because my left hand looked like captain hook."
Despite the setback, Anderson continued to compete and battled her way back to place third (360.55 points), behind Kettering Alter's Clair Schuermann (414.35) and Cincinnati Summit Country Day's Allison Brophy (374.85).
"I think most people wrote me off when I hit the board, but I just kept doing my best and the people in front of me kept messing up," said Anderson, who had placed second at state each of the past two seasons. "I think the majority of people in my position would have scratched, so it makes me proud that I was able to come back and finish third in my last high school meet."
Anderson was the only state qualifier for Wellington, which tied two teams for 27th (16 points) behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (217) as 49 teams scored.
"For a lot of divers, it isn't uncommon to see them scratch from a meet or even quit the sport altogether after hitting the board like that," coach Bill Miller said. "But Brittany was determined to make it back on the podium and she showed a lot of intestinal fortitude by battling all the way back into third place with an injured hand. It makes you wonder what would have happened if she hadn't hit her hand."
Anderson had qualified for state by winning her second consecutive district title Feb. 14 at Ohio State, scoring a program-record 473 points.
Also at district, sophomore Sara Brubaker, seniors Gabrielle Berry and Abby Fleeter and junior Kate Miller placed eighth in the 200-yard medley relay in 2 minutes, 4.18 seconds.
"Brittany broke our school record in diving and all of our kids swam their best times at district," coach Miller said. "We're losing a lot of senior girls, but Kate Miller and Sara Brubaker will return to lead the team, and I'm hoping our younger girls will swim in the offseason and help us stay strong as a team next year."
Haring places ninth at state in diving
Michael Haring of the boys swimming and diving team placed ninth (329.45) in diving in the Division II state meet behind champion Noah Sterling (445.05) of Hunting Valley University School.
Haring, a junior who finished 11th (340.45) at state last year and 17th (234.45) at state as a freshman, was the lone state qualifier for the Jaguars. Wellington finished 39th (9) behind champion Dayton Oakwood (214) as 58 teams scored.
"I could have done better, but I think I dove pretty well overall," Haring said.
"I felt more relaxed because of the experience of competing at state twice in the past. Hopefully, I'll finish somewhere in the top five at state next year."
Haring scored a program-record 409.1 points to win the district title and was seeded sixth at state.
Also at district, senior Joe Campbell placed fifth in the 200 free (program-record 1:54.83) and sophomore Matthew Xin placed seventh in the 100 breaststroke (program-record 1:03.28).
"All of our boys swam their best times at district," coach Miller said. "Our boys team is losing a lot of seniors, but Matthew Xin and Trevor Kaufmann will get stronger and faster and they have the potential to become state-level swimmers."
Boys basketball team wins tourney opener
The 15th-seeded boys basketball team opened the Division IV district tournament Feb. 22 with a 39-23 victory at 14th-seeded Village Academy.
The Jaguars, who outscored Village Academy 20-6 in the second half en route to improving to 7-16, travel to top-seeded Harvest Prep for a second-round game Friday, Feb. 28.
Wellington lost to Harvest Prep 67-39 on Dec. 14.
The second-round winner faces eighth-seeded Tree of Life or 13th-seeded Morral Ridgedale in a district semifinal Monday, March 3, at Reynoldsburg.
The winner of that contest faces second-seeded Newark Catholic, sixth-seeded Gahanna Christian, 11th-seeded Fisher Catholic or 20th-seeded Delaware Christian in a district final Wednesday, March 5, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The Jaguars lost to Gahanna Christian 64-37 on Dec. 17 and lost to Delaware Christian 67-54 on Feb. 10.
Season ends for girls basketball team
The 18th-seeded girls basketball team lost to third-seeded Danville 92-17 in a Division IV district tournament second-round game Feb. 19 to finish 8-15.
Danville led 27-0 after the first quarter and 51-2 at halftime.
Sophomore forward Halle Jefferson had six points to pace the Jaguars, who had a first-round bye.
"Danville is a very good team," coach Bill Mitchin said. "They have great size and good athletes and they play fundamentally sound basketball. I was impressed with their team and how they played us."
The Jaguars won four of their first eight games before losing nine of their next 10. They then won three of their last four regular-season games.
"We started and finished the season strong and we won two more games than we did last season," Mitchin said. "We improved in seven of the 10 team statistics that we track. The biggest improvement was we reduced our number of turnovers by 170 down to (515), and that's a substantial margin."
Wellington loses two senior starters in post player Donnette Cox and forward Mallory Tannous.
Cox averaged team highs in points (8.4), rebounds (10.6) and blocks (2.3). Tannous started the first seven games, averaging 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds, before suffering an ankle injury. She appeared in only one of the final 16 games.
Jefferson, sophomore point guard Abbey Mayne and freshman forward Sophie Barbour started every game, and juniors Molly Anderson and Sydney Snow split starts in place of Tannous.
Jefferson averaged 8.3 points, eight rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.1 blocks, Mayne averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 steals, Barbour averaged 3.6 points and 5.4 rebounds and Anderson averaged 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.
"It's hard to lose both of our seniors, but a lot of our girls got to play high school basketball and we'll be better for it," Mitchin said. "Ten of our 14 players were freshmen or sophomores and a number of them grew quite a bit as players. Our eighth-grade team only lost one game all season, so I'm already looking forward to next fall."