Swimming & Diving
Westerville South's Higdon returns to state
Jared Higdon of the Westerville South High School boys swimming and diving team is hoping the momentum he gained from winning his first district title carries over to the Division I state meet.
The senior finished first in the 100-yard butterfly in 50.58 seconds in the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State. He is seeded third for the state meet, which runs Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Boardman's Ryan Bailey (49.32) and Cincinnati Moeller's Greg Nymberg (50.51) are the top two seeds in the event.
"This feels good," Higdon said. "I've been going for a district championship ever since I started. It's really cool, but the big thing is (this) week. This gives me a great deal of confidence because district is a big step."
Last season at state, Higdon placed sixth in the 100 fly (50.77).
"I think he'll be better (at state than he was at district)," coach Kevin Kissling said. "He has a week of rest coming and he's going to shave. He was really good (at district) and he'll be a lot faster (at state)."
The only other state qualifier for the boys team was Higdon's brother, junior Calvin Higdon, who finished sixth in the 100 fly (51.67) at district and is seeded 17th for state.
The lone state qualifier for the girls team is senior Riley Buer, who placed sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:09.1) at district and is seeded 23rd at state.
A four-time state qualifier, Buer competed in the 100 breaststroke the past three years at state. She finished 22nd (1:07.2) last season, eighth (1:05.99) as a sophomore and tied for 12th (1:07.48) as a freshman.
She finished 10th in the 100 breast (1:07.87) at district and missed qualifying for state by .79 of a second.
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 times statewide. The top three boys divers and the top four girls divers also advanced to state.
The boys team scored 109 points at district to finish 11th behind champion Upper Arlington (380) as 24 teams scored. The girls team finished 19th (36) behind champion UA (491) as 24 teams scored.
North's Miller wins two district titles
Mason Miller, a transfer from California, will represent the North boys team at state.
The sophomore won the 50 freestyle (20.87) and 100 free (45.76), setting a program record in both events.
"Mason was a 14-year-old freshman, so he is a young sophomore," coach Jeff Riegler said. "He's definitely very talented."
Miller is seeded third at state in both events. He competed in four events in the California state meet last year, placing fifth in the 50 free (21.37).
"I thought I might make it to state," Miller said. "I think I'll do pretty well. The competition is going to be pretty rough, but I think I can do it."
The only state qualifier for the girls team is senior Rachel Jackson, who placed sixth in the 100 fly (57.84) at district and is seeded 20th at state.
The girls team scored 83 points at district to finish 11th and the boys team finished 12th (77).
"We did pretty good," said Riegler, whose teams did not have any state qualifiers last season. "We had some do really well, some do so-so."
Central's Thompson returns to state
Sally Thompson led the Central girls team at district, advancing to state in four events.
The senior placed third in the 50 free (24.45) and sixth in the 100 free (53.05) and is seeded 19th and 17th, respectively, in the events at state.
Thompson also advanced to state in two relays, teaming with Marissa Kramer, Alex Schuttinger and Dariyn Stedman to place sixth in the 400 free relay (3:39.11) and teaming with Kramer, Schuttinger and Kaylor Schuttinger to place sixth in the 200 free relay (1:40.43).
The 400 free relay is seeded 20th at state and the 200 free relay is seeded 21st.
"I can't believe (my prep career) is almost over," said Thompson, who will continue her swimming career at the University of Cincinnati. "I'm really sad. I love high school swimming and I wish it lasted so much longer."
Thompson is making her third trip to state. Last season, she finished 10th in the 100 free (52.78) and was part of the fifth-place 400 free relay (3:32.6) and seventh-place 200 free relay (1:38.23).
As a sophomore, she finished 23rd in the 50 free (24.74) and 21st in the 100 free (53.96) and was part of the seventh-place 400 free relay (3:34.5) and 14th-place 200 free relay (1:39.73).
Kramer also qualified for state in the 100 fly, as she placed seventh (58.04) at district and is seeded 22nd at state.
Gabe Whitaker led the boys team at district, placing second in the 50 free (21.17) and fifth in the 100 fly (51.55) to advance to state in both events.
The sophomore is seeded fifth at state in the 50 free and 13th in the 100 fly.
Whitaker also advanced to state in two relays, teaming with Jon Brooks, Justin Kay and Josh Nixon to place fourth in the 200 free relay (1:27.77) and teaming with Brooks, Nixon and Zach Cooke to finish fourth in the 400 relay (3:13.02).
The 200 free relay is seeded 14th at state and the 400 free relay is seeded 16th.
Last season at state, Whitaker was a member of the 200 medley relay that finished 13th (1:37.92) and Whitaker and Brooks were members of the 400 free relay that finished 15th (3:14.79).
The girls team scored 120 points at district to finish eighth and the boys team finished 10th (112).