With 34 athletes on its roster, the pool has felt especially busy so far this season for the Hartley High School girls swimming and diving team.
It's a good problem to have, according to 22nd-year coach Tony Phillips.
"Although practices are packed, they've been high energy," Phillips said. "We hope the competitive nature pushes each of them to some fast times."
Seniors Stephany Aeling and Maggie Phillips, juniors Deanne Archambeau, Cara Luallen and Kayla Williams and sophomores Olivia Bergmann and Mia Phillips all return after helping the Hawks place 30th in the Division II state meet last season.
Senior Lily McClung and sophomores Gabby Jackson and Ellie Tanner are other key returnees.
Sophomore Kayla Malone and freshmen Megan Luallen, Liza McClung and Emma Simone are newcomers who are making an impact, while senior Annie Robinson has switched from swimming to diving.
Hartley was runner-up (373 points) in the nine-team St. Charles Showdown on Dec. 2 behind Toledo St. Ursula (514) as Mia Phillips won the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 11.97 seconds) and Archambeau won the 100 butterfly (1:00.56).
At state last season, 2017 graduate Carly Archambeau finished 11th in the 100 fly (58.47), the 200 medley relay of Deanne Archambeau, Bergmann, Mia Phillips and Williams also was 11th (1:50.63), Deanne Archambeau was 14th in the 100 fly (59.13), Bergmann was 15th in the 100 fly (59.35) and the 400 free relay of Carly Archambeau, Aeling, Bergmann and Maggie Phillips was 16th (3:44.61).
"If our athletes can put forth consistent efforts from week to week, we'll look forward to some pleasant surprises in the postseason in February," coach Phillips said.
Junior Owen Kennedy and sophomore Chad Kegelmayer are returnees for the boys team, which had just five competitors a year ago.
Senior Lloyd Hawthorne and freshmen Sam LeMay, Dominic Motter, Leo Noll and Bobby Sisson are newcomers to the program.
"The boys' numbers are up slightly, so that gives us a little more depth in the lineup, plus some more options with relays," coach Phillips said. "Both Chad and Owen had a nice summer season, so we're hoping they can build on that to advance higher or further in the postseason."
Girls basketball team out to strong start
The girls basketball team won its first four games for the second consecutive season.
The Hawks' winning streak ended with a 63-61 loss to Washington Court House on Dec. 9, but they rebounded to beat Westerville North 60-40 on Dec. 13 and Big Walnut 53-44 on Dec. 16 to improve to 6-1 overall and are 1-0 in the CCL. They don't return to league action until Jan. 4 when they play host to Ready.
On Thursday, Dec. 21, the Hawks play host to the Cincinnati Trailblazers, a homeschool club team not affiliated with the OHSAA that split its first four games.
Hartley then will prepare to compete in the Motor City Roundball Classic at Detroit Northwestern Collegiate Prep. The Hawks face Detroit Country Day on Dec. 28 and Saginaw (Michigan) Heritage on Dec. 29.
"We'll definitely take the wins," coach Donald Dennis said. "What I like about the way we're playing right now is that the kids are getting along and we're really sharing the ball. Offensively, we just have to run more offense. We foul way too much, so that's an area defensively we really have to work on. "
Against Court House, senior guard Kennedy Taylor made three 3-pointers and had a career-high 37 points.
Taylor was averaging 18.6 points through five games, while junior guard Israel Strickland and junior forward Chia Nwokolo were averaging 9.6 and 9.4 points, respectively.
"I'm really excited about the way things have been going," Taylor said. "We've really been working as a team and are just trying to get as many opportunities as we can looks-wise. (Defensively,) we've really adapted to different teams and situations and have really grown through that."
Boys basketball team preps for Stallions
The boys basketball team will get its first look at DeSales on Friday, Dec. 22, when it travels to face the Stallions.
Hartley and DeSales split their two league matchups last season, with the Hawks losing 46-38 at home before winning 52-41 on the road.
Hartley slipped to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the CCL with a 68-48 loss to Ready on Dec. 15, while DeSales improved to 3-1 overall with a 71-59 win over Licking Heights on Dec. 16 and is 0-1 in the league, having lost to Watterson 45-38 on Dec. 15.
In the Stallions' 94-34 opening victory over Patriot Prep Academy on Dec. 4, junior guard Kayin Derdin and junior forward Danny Bogue each had 15 points as six DeSales players scored in double figures.
In the Hawks' 65-58 victory over Circleville New Hope Christian on Dec. 9, junior forward Morgan Safford had 20 points, senior post player Payton Collins scored 14 and senior guard Garrett Tipton added 13.
The Hawks then defeated Wellington 72-64 in overtime Dec. 11 at home. Collins had 20 points and Tipton scored 18 against the Jaguars, who were the Division IV state runners-up last season.
Against Ready, Collins sat out with an injury and Safford and senior wing player Mac Wieging were unable to play because of illness.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- St. Charles Showdown
Dec. 4 -- at Oakstone Academy
Dec. 9 -- Watterson at Mount Carmel Fitness and Training
Dec. 16 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 23 -- Dublin Scioto at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 5 -- at St. Charles with Pickerington North
Jan. 6 -- Granville at Licking County YMCA
Jan. 11 -- at Columbus Academy with Wellington
Jan. 13 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 20 -- Reynoldsburg at St. Charles
Jan. 27 -- CCL meet at St. Charles
Feb. 2 -- at St. Charles with Bexley and Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the Hartley boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Dec. 22 -- At DeSales
Dec. 21 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Trailblazers