The Thomas Worthington High School girls swimming and diving team will have some holes to fill next season, but plenty of talent is expected to return.
The Cardinals scored 91 points to place 11th in the Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, behind champion Cincinnati Ursuline (234) as 55 teams scored. Their highest finish was turned in by the 200-yard medley relay, which placed second in a program-record 1 minute, 44.99 seconds.
Two members of that relay, Abby Jank and Maren Reeder, are part of a five-person senior class. Also on the relay were sophomore Kaylee Witkiewicz and junior Julia Valentine.
"We had a great group of seniors who all had older siblings who swam, so they've been involved in swimming most of their lives," said Jim Callahan, who coaches the boys and girls teams for Thomas and Worthington Kilbourne. "They did a wonderful job, and it's sad that they're moving on."
Several key swimmers are expected to return for the Cardinals, who placed second (250) at district Feb. 16 at Ohio State behind Upper Arlington (491) as 24 teams scored and finished first (311) in the 12-team sectional Feb. 9 at home well ahead of runner-up New Albany (239).
Also placing in the top six at state were Witkiewicz in the 50 freestyle (fifth, 23.76) and in the 100 backstroke (sixth, 56.28) and Valentine in the 100 breaststroke (sixth, program-record 1:05.5).
Also scoring at state were the 400 free relay of junior Cassandra Laios, sophomore Abby Wiet, Reeder and Witkiewicz (10th, 3:35.06) and the 200 free relay of Wiet, Valentine, freshman Rina Laios and Jank (15th, 1:39.87).
The Cardinals finished first in three events at district, with Witkiewicz winning the 50 free (23.56) and 100 back (55.65), setting program records in both, and Valentine winning the 100 breast (1:05.81), edging runner-up Reeder (1:05.87).
In the OCC-Central Division meet Jan. 26 at home, Thomas finished second (241) behind UA (452) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (185), Dublin Coffman (182), Hilliard Davidson (115), Central Crossing (52) and Marysville (48).
"We've got a real solid group coming back, although we have a few holes to fill in the relays," Callahan said. "We'd like to keep the medley relay because we were fourth last year and second this year."
Thomas boys team losing three seniors
The Thomas boys team loses three seniors in Trenton Harper, Anton Teufel and Mason Zurovchak.
"Our three seniors are headline swimmers and they will be missed big-time," Callahan said. "They were the keys to our team -- not only in the water, but out of the water as leaders."
Harper placed seventh in the 100 breast (57.29) and eighth in the 200 individual medley (1:54.87) at state, as the Cardinals finished 30th (22) behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (270) as 57 teams scored.
The 200 free relay of Harper, freshman Cameron Harper, Teufel and Zurovchak finished 19th (1:29.33) and the 200 medley relay of Trent Harper, junior Matt Reed, Zurovchak and Teufel was disqualified in the consolation finals.
"For Trenton to finish in the top eight in both of his individual events was impressive, and the 200 medley relay also was strong, even if we got a little anxious and (were) disqualified," Callahan said. "They got better with every meet. I thought the team did well because the seniors did a nice job with leadership."
At district, Harper won the 100 breast (program-record 57.21) and placed third in the 200 individual medley (1:54.64), as the Cardinals finished sixth (130) behind champion UA (380) as 24 teams scored.
Thomas placed second (208.5) in its 11-team home sectional behind Westerville South (216) and finished third (214) in the OCC-Central meet behind UA (428) and Liberty (229) and ahead of Coffman (200), Davidson (96), Marysville (72) and Central Crossing (51).
Expected returnees include Reed, Cameron Harper, junior James Miller, sophomore Tyler Girard and freshmen Evan Miller, Stuart Mueller and Jaxon Stiver.
Kilbourne girls to return state qualifier
The Kilbourne girls team loses just one senior in Emily Wallin.
The Wolves finished 34th (15) at state as sophomore Rachel Rubadue, who placed fourth in diving (448.35 points), was their only state qualifier.
Kilbourne finished 17th (42) at district as Rubadue placed fourth with a program-record 489.6 points.
"Rubadue set school records in both the six-dive format and 11-dive format," Callahan said. "(Kilbourne) only had eight girls, but they won four meets and they hadn't won a single meet in four years. For a small group, they did very well."
Sophomore Jackie Wachtel just missed qualifying for state in the 100 breast, as she placed eighth (1:07.47) at district, finishing .47 of a second behind the final at-large state qualifier.
Also competing at district were sophomore Courtney Fisher in the 200 free, freshman Elisia Manchester in the 100 free and 200 free and Wachtel in the 100 butterfly. All three relays also qualified for district.
Kilbourne placed fifth (120) in the sectional at Thomas and fifth (141) in the OCC-Cardinal meet Jan. 26 at Thomas, behind Dublin Jerome (341), Westerville Central (209), Westerville North (199) and Dublin Scioto (150) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (135), Westerville South (126) and Hilliard Bradley (0).
Winning league titles were Wachtel in the 100 breast (1:09.29) and Rubadue in diving (483.05).
Kilbourne boys team losing one senior
The Kilbourne boys team also will lose just one senior in Mitchell Guist.
The Wolves finished 15th (61) at district and did not have any state qualifiers. Junior Tanner Atha placed sixth in diving (378.25), the 200 medley relay of junior Riku Kaida, sophomore Justin Jiang, freshman Nick Ramos and Guist placed ninth (1:41.07) and Kaida finished 13th in the 100 back (program-record 55.41).
"Guist did a real nice job for four years and he will be sorely missed," Callahan said.
"There is a good corps of swimmers coming back who were swimming their best at the end of year. They also are a small team, but they've got some building blocks."
Kilbourne finished fifth (150) at sectional. Also advancing to district were Kaida in the 200 IM, sophomore Grayton Giesman in the 100 free and 200 free, Guist in the 100 back, Ramos in the 100 fly and the 200 free and 400 free relays.
The Wolves placed fifth (153) in the OCC-Cardinal meet, behind Jerome (226), Darby (195), Westerville South (187) and Westerville Central (166) and ahead of Westerville North (144), Scioto (143) and Bradley (26).