After winning the 50-yard freestyle last year in the Division I state meet, junior Mason Miller of the Westerville North High School boys swimming and diving team decided to try a different event this season.
Miller proved his versatility by winning the 100 butterfly at state Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Miller (48.32 seconds) finished ahead of Beavercreek's Henrik Pohlmann (49.01) in the final. He also finished third in the 100 free (45.51) after he was second in that event last season.
"We talked about it last summer, maybe switching just because the 50 free is two laps and you can't make any mistakes," coach Jeff Riegler said. "His fly has gotten a lot better. We knew he'd be able to be up there and plus he won the 50 (free) last year, so try and move on and win something else."
Miller was the Warriors' only state qualifier. He scored 36 points to give North a 17th-place finish behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (255) as 61 teams scored.
"It's pretty tough," Miller said of swimming two events. "I won't lie. You have to warm down right away and get ready for your next event. ... What I do works, so I am very happy with that."
Miller helped the Warriors finish 12th (80) at district Feb. 15 at Ohio State behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored. He won the 100 fly (48.3) and 100 free (45.57).
North was sixth (95) in the 11-team Upper Arlington sectional Feb. 8 behind champion St. Charles (340).
The Warriors finished sixth (151) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Jan. 25 at Thomas Worthington behind Hilliard Darby (258), Dublin Jerome (242), Westerville Central (212), Westerville South (172) and Dublin Scioto (171) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (63).
In addition to Miller, another key returnee should be junior Matthew Bernsdorf, who was sixth in the 500 free (4:48.23) and 10th in the 200 free (1:45.93) at district.
The team loses seniors Jacob Fowler and Luke Wetta.
The girls team did not have a state qualifier.
North was 20th (21) at district behind champion UA (522) as 24 teams scored and fifth (107) in the 13-team UA sectional behind champion UA (494).
At district, senior Morgan Bernhard, junior Kaylee Kendall, sophomore Bailey Bernhard and freshman Abby Jeffries were 12th in the 400 free relay (3:51.07).
Morgan Bernhard was one of four seniors.
The Warriors were fourth (133) in the league meet behind Jerome (403), Central (197) and Darby (177) and ahead of Canal Winchester (119), South (102), Bradley (81) and Scioto (80).
Higdon represents South at state
As South's only representative at state, senior Calvin Higdon finished 12th in the 100 fly (51.87) to score five points and give the Wildcats a tie for 50th with Morrow Little Miami, Fairfield and Mason.
"That was his last high school swim ever," Riegler said of Higdon. "That's always a little shocking when you come to that realization that your (prep) career is over."
Higdon, who was 11th in the 100 fly last season at state, will swim at Ashland University.
Matthew Johnson was the other senior on the South boys team, which finished 14th (57) at district and fifth (97) in the UA sectional.
The girls team, which did not have a state qualifier, was 23rd (7) at district and seventh (67) in the UA sectional.
At district, sophomore Libby Stadler was 21st in the 200 free (2:04.4) and 13th in the 500 free (5:25.22).
Anna Dunlope was the team's only senior.
Central boys tie for 32nd at state
The Central boys tied Cincinnati Sycamore for 32nd (18) at state.
Junior Gabe Whitaker was seventh in the 50 free (21.37) and junior Jon Brooks was 18th in the 200 individual medley (1:56.37).
Whitaker, Brooks, senior Josh Nixon and junior Ross Atchison were 14th in the 200 free relay (1:27.78) and 18th in the 200 medley relay (1:38.09).
Nixon was one of three seniors.
The Warhawks were 10th (89) at district and second (185) in the 11-team sectional at Thomas behind New Albany (211).
For the girls, freshman Maddy Kramer was 18th in the 100 fly (58.77) at state as Central did not score.
"We had great swims at the state meet," coach Austin Staab said. "I'm very impressed with everything our swimmers accomplished."
The Warhawks were 10th (96) at district and fifth (147) in the 13-team Thomas sectional behind champion Thomas (214).
At district, Kramer was fourth in the 100 fly (58.13) and sixth in the 200 free (1:56.56), and senior Alex Schuttinger was sixth in the 100 backstroke (59.45).
Schuttinger was one of five seniors.
"I'm very happy with the season overall," Staab said. "We accomplished a lot and can't wait for next season to start."