For Mason Reid, swimming used to be all about the competition to perform at a high level, but that has changed.
The senior standout for the Olentangy Orange High School boys team found a new frame of reference when he reached the Division I state meet last year. He realized swimming is as much of a social sport as it is about being the first to finish a race.
"I definitely learned the impact my team has on me," Reid said. "I was the only one there (swimming at state for Orange), so I was alone. It was definitely eye-opening. Now swimming is about other people right now instead of just being for me."
Reid started swimming as a 9-year-old, which is three or four years after when many kids take up the sport. His first youth coach also happens to be his high school coach, J.R. Fourqurean.
"Mason has played the underdog role his entire life because he got into the game a little later than most of his peers," Fourqurean said. "He has that drive and determination from them being a couple steps ahead of him. That has been a quiet motivator for him through the years, and the kid works his tail off."
Reid worked out with his club team throughout most of his prep career, but he gradually started to attend more high school practices. As he entered his senior season, he decided to quit his Liberty Township/Powell YMCA club team to spend more time with his teammates on the Pioneers.
"When I first started swimming I liked how competitive it was. ... I wanted to be the best and I wanted to win," Reid said. "As I'm going into my final stretch as a senior I'm more interested in the camaraderie aspect of it. I'm going to practices to be with my team and train for my team instead of training myself.
"(Exclusively going to high school practices) has been good for me because it has allowed me to become more involved and I have become a leader. The underclassmen know who I am because I'm here and that's something that's been huge for me."
Reid finished 21st in the 100-yard freestyle (48.12 seconds) last season in his first trip to the state meet.
In the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Jan. 26 and 27 at Thomas Worthington, Reid placed second in both the 100 backstroke (program-record 53.69) and 100 butterfly (55.25) and was on the winning 200 medley relay (1:41.5) with Nicholas Chugh, Patrick Mahoney and Everett Halverson.
Luke Cheetham won diving with 413.8 points, helping Orange finish second (259) behind Liberty (400.5) and ahead of Olentangy (210.5), Westerville North (163), Westerville South (142) and Westerville Central (73).
The girls team was third (186) behind Liberty (279) and Olentangy (273.5) and ahead of Central (182.5), North (161) and South (145).
Reid also holds the program records in the 100 free (47.61) and 200 free (1:48.31) and is a part of records in two relays -- the 200 medley relay (1:39.72) with Chugh, Mahoney and Halverson and the 400 free relay (3:16.72) with Ronak Tripathy, Cullen Dickson and Mahoney.
"Mason is an extremely confident kid," Fourqurean said. "I think making it to the state meet last year gave him some confidence. He has confidence in himself and what he can do.
"He is one of the more coachable athletes that I have had in my eight years of doing this. You tell him to do something and he will believe with you as long as you believe with him."
Heading into a sectional meet Feb. 10 at Kenyon College, Reid is in the homestretch of his prep career. He has a 4.1 GPA and plans to attend Cincinnati or Ohio State, so college sports likely is not an option. Instead, he plans to major in chemistry or fashion design.
"If I was majoring in chemistry, my creative side might be repressed," he said. "Fashion is more of a passion. They always say that if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life, and I think it would be the way with fashion.
"I just think that (fashion) is a big passion for me. Whether you like it or not, people are going to judge you by the way you look. It's important for me to be cognizant of what I'm presenting to people around me. I think that it's a really interesting form of expression. The clothes you pick out show who you are and are a window into you."
Balance aids success for boys bowling team
Balance has been a key for the boys bowling team, which had three competitors averaging better than 180 per game through 10 matches.
Andrew Kicas (190.0), Jaden Wiebell (186.7) and Tommy Ciaciura (184.9) have led the Pioneers, who were 7-3 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-A Division and 4-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before facing Big Walnut on Jan. 31.
Other top competitors have been Brendan Tansky (178.5), Gabe Jacobs (174.1) and Tanner Davidson (162.8).
Raymie Shields (159.4) has led the girls team, which was 5-5 overall and in the COHSBC-A and 2-4 in the OCC-Buckeye before facing Big Walnut.
Haley Wemple (154.8), Mckenzie Peterson (153.8), Emma Storrer (141.7) and Remy Gray (135.3) have been other top competitors.
Boys basketball team wins two games in a row
The boys basketball team improved to 11-6 overall with consecutive victories after a five-game losing streak.
The Pioneers are 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye after defeating Westerville Central 67-65 in overtime Jan. 26. Jalen Bethel scored 30 points, including the winning layup in the final seconds. Matt McCollum had 14 points with four 3-pointers and Bryson Lane added 10 points.
Luke Ballinger scored 18 points with five 3s as Orange snapped its losing streak by defeating Dublin Coffman 66-62 on Jan. 23. McCollum had 15 points and Lane added 13.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics and hockey teams:
*Feb. 2 -- At Westerville South. The Pioneers defeated the Wildcats 57-54 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- At Franklin Heights
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. South. The Pioneers lost to the Wildcats 44-25 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
*Feb. 1 -- Delaware at Capri Lanes
Feb. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy at Capri Lanes
Feb. 7 -- At Marysville with Big Walnut and Olentangy
*Feb. 3 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Cincinnati Northland Ice Center. The Pioneers lost to the Crusaders 4-3 on Nov. 19.
*Feb. 4 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus