Delia MacLaughlin of the Dublin Scioto High School girls swimming and diving team is getting set to begin pursuit of a long-time goal.
A three-time district qualifier, the senior is seeking to make her first appearance in the Division I state meet. The postseason begins Feb. 10 with a sectional at Kenyon College.
MacLaughlin is hoping her development over the last four years will help her reach that goal.
"Not just time-wise, but strength and my mentality on swimming is just so different, so it's fun to look back on how little and naive I was (as a freshman)," she said.
Last season at district, MacLaughlin placed 16th in the 50-yard freestyle (24.73 seconds) and 19th in the 100 free (55.04), and teamed with juniors Emma Ferguson and Zoe Kington and sophomore Lauren Perry to finish 14th in the 400 relay (3:46.29).
As a sophomore at district, MacLaughlin finished 16th in the 50 free (24.83) and was on the 12th-place 400 free relay (3:47.14), as were Ferguson and Kington.
"It's crazy just to watch her grow up and how far she's come as a leader and a swimmer," coach Brian Worhatch said of MacLaughlin. "We're hoping this is her year (to qualify for state). We're being a little more relaxed with it, just trying not to put too much pressure on it and just have fun and see how fast we can swim."
As a final tuneup for the postseason, MacLaughlin and the Irish competed in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Jan. 27 at Thomas Worthington.
Scioto scored 154 points to finish fifth behind Jerome (264.5), Delaware (244), Thomas (204) and Hilliard Darby (172.5) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (137) and Hilliard Bradley (79).
The Irish closed the meet by winning the 400 free relay (3:47.47). MacLaughlin anchored the relay, which also included Kington, Perry and sophomore Ema Rennie.
"It should help boost their confidence coming down to tournament time, (with) sectionals coming up," Worhatch said. "We just finished our truly hard training, getting ready to start tapering and do our best."
Rennie won both the 50 free (24.88) and 100 butterfly (1:01.38), and MacLaughlin was third in the 100 free (55.35).
MacLaughlin, who earlier this season set the program record in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.8), has some basic goals as her prep career nears an end.
"Just dropping time at district, having a great time with my team and making memories. That's what matters the most, so that's my end goal," she said.
MacLaughlin, who has a 4.37 GPA, plans on swimming at the next level but has yet to make a college decision.
"It would be awesome to continue swimming and to make a new group of friends," she said. "I'd love to continue my swimming because I feel like I haven't quite hit my potential here."
The boys team finished fourth (145) in the league meet, behind Jerome (412), Delaware (222) and Thomas (150) and ahead of Kilbourne (137), Darby (115) and Bradley (60).
Mitchell Thomas was runner-up in the 100 free (49.97), while placing third were the 200 free relay of Thomas, Daniel Woo, Baker Lutz and Colson Wenzel (1:33.69) and the 400 free relay of Wenzel, Thomas, Woo and Jackson Wolford (3:31.48).
Girls basketball team battling for OCC title
The girls basketball team continues its pursuit of the OCC-Cardinal title Friday, Feb. 2, at Kilbourne.
The Irish were 10-7 overall before playing Big Walnut on Jan. 30 and are 7-1 in the OCC-Cardinal. They beat the Wolves 52-43 on Jan. 5 at home behind 18 points from Madison Heasley and 16 from Lauren Erickson.
Scioto then will visit Thomas Worthington on Tuesday, Feb. 6, for a league showdown. The Cardinals are 9-1 in the OCC-Cardinal and would earn at least a share of the league title with a win over the Irish.
Scioto rolled to a 76-54 win over Thomas on Dec. 22 at home behind 22 points from Erickson, 19 from Brianna Jordan and 15 from Natalie Hutras.
The Irish defeated visiting Delaware 61-44 in a league game Jan. 26 as Erickson had 21 points, Kennedie Lomax scored 16 and Hutras scored 11.
Scioto beat visiting Darby 62-42 in a league game Jan. 23 as Erickson had 18 points, Hutras scored 13 and Heasley added 12.
Boys basketball team rebounds from loss
The boys basketball team bounced back from a 50-41 loss at Delaware on Jan. 26 to rally past host Westerville Central 52-49 in overtime Jan. 27.
Noah Brechbuhler and Dapreis Owens each had 11 points and Victor Mwamba scored 10 for the Irish, who trailed 16-8 after the first quarter.
Scioto led Delaware 25-20 at halftime, but was outscored 30-16 in the second half.
Benjamin Lombardo led the Irish with 16 points and Brechbuhler scored 10.
Scioto was 9-7 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 30 and is 3-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Masterson named girls soccer coach
Kevin Masterson is looking forward to his next challenge as girls soccer coach.
Pending school board approval, he will replace Doug Williamson, who stepped down after two seasons.
"I'm very excited to get started with the girls," said Masterson, a special education teacher at Davis Middle School. "They're coming off a great season (9-7-3). The goal is to continue that."
Masterson spent the past six years with the Kilbourne boys program, serving as the junior varsity A coach and a varsity assistant the last five seasons after coaching the j.v. B team in 2012. He was the j.v. coach at Big Walnut in 2011 and also served as a coach with the Classics Eagles club program from 2011-14.
A 2001 graduate of Charles O. Dickerson High School in Trumansburg, New York, who went on to play four years at Keuka College, Masterson was coach of the boys team at Trumansburg High School from 2006-08.
Williamson compiled a 17-14-4 overall record and a 2-7-3 mark in the OCC-Cardinal with the Irish.
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne. The Irish beat the Wolves 46-43 on Jan. 5.
*Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington. The Irish beat the Cardinals 59-38 on Dec. 22.
*Feb. 2 -- At Kilbourne. The Irish beat the Wolves 52-43 on Jan. 5.
*Feb. 6 -- At Thomas. The Irish beat the Cardinals 76-54 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 3 -- Coffman, Jerome and Olentangy at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading
Feb. 7 -- At Coffman with Central Crossing, Franklin Heights, Grove City, Jerome and Westland
*Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
Feb. 3 -- Rayland Buckeye Local Classic