CANTON - Her teammates on the Thomas Worthington High School girls swimming and diving team tried to give freshman Kaylee Witkiewicz a heads up on what to expect during her first trip to the Division I state meet Feb. 23-25 at Branin Natatorium.

CANTON - Her teammates on the Thomas Worthington High School girls swimming and diving team tried to give freshman Kaylee Witkiewicz a heads up on what to expect during her first trip to the Division I state meet Feb. 23-25 at Branin Natatorium.

However, there are certain things a swimmer just has to experience for herself.

"This is not like any other meet I've been to," said Witkiewicz, who finished eighth in the 100-yard backstroke in 56.53 seconds. "It's just crazy. I'm so used to age-group swimming where you're winning all the time. But here, even getting eighth is a big accomplishment."

Witkiewicz joined junior Maren Reeder, sophomore Julia Valentine and senior Katie Allison in the Cardinals' best state performance, finishing fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:46.25).

Thomas finished 13th (47 points) behind champion Upper Arlington (300.5), which captured its eighth consecutive state title, as 55 teams scored.

Allison was pleased with her performance in her final state meet.

"It's really exciting," said Allison, who was part of the 200 medley relays that finished eighth (1:47.62) last year and 14th (1:50.82) in 2010. "This is my senior year and this is the highest I've been on the podium. All of these girls have worked so hard."

Reeder placed 14th (1:06.83) and Valentine finished16th (1:07.35) in the 100 breaststroke, and sophomore Cassandra Laios, junior Abby Jank, Reeder and Witkiewicz placed 16th in the 400 free relay (3:38.23).

Witkiewicz tied Fremont Ross senior Sammi Miller for 20th in the 50 free (24.64) and Jank, Valentine, freshman Abby Wiet and Allison were 20th in the 200 free relay (1:40.42).

The Thomas boys didn't score as Cincinnati St. Xavier (297.5) won the title and 47 teams scored. Junior Trenton Harper placed 21st (1:00.0) and sophomore Matt Reed was 24th (1:00.38) in the 100 breast preliminaries Feb. 24.

Allison was the only senior among the Cardinals who competed at state. Coach Jim Callahan, who coaches both Thomas and Kilbourne, said the Cardinals' youth is positive.

"We had a good, solid state meet," Callahan said. "It's a great building block for Thomas next year."

•The Kilbourne boys tied St. Charles for 27th (21) at state.

After struggling with his ninth dive on Feb. 23, senior Hunter Atha was determined to have a strong finish.

He nailed an inward two-and-a-half tuck on his 11th dive, the final dive of his prep career, to place fifth (468.15) behind champion Alex Obendorf of Hudson (510.65).

"(After that ninth dive) I knew I went down a few places from where I had been the entire meet, but I finished strong," Atha said. "I really wanted to make top five, but if that didn't happen, I wasn't going to be too disappointed if I just made it onto the podium."

Atha, who placed ninth (413.6) last year and 22nd (144.15) as a sophomore, was the first member of the Kilbourne boys team to reach the state awards podium since Landon Marzullo won the diving title with 574.6 points in 2006.

Senior Keeler Callahan, the son of coach Callahan, placed 12th in the 200 free (1:42.9) and 15th in the 100 free (47.37).

"Overall, it was a good race," Keeler said. "I wanted to go out giving it my best since it is my last time (swimming in high school). I didn't go my fastest time, but I'm still really happy with how I did."