The Olentangy Liberty High School gymnastics team delivered a confidence-boosting performance with the postseason approaching.
In the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Feb. 10 at Hilliard Davidson, the Patriots scored a season-best 128.15 points to earn a runner-up finish behind Olentangy (140.5) and ahead of Orange (124.75), Big Walnut (118.75) and Westerville Central (118.325).
The district meet is Feb. 24 at Worthington Kilbourne.
"We're usually scoring between 125 and 127," coach Tara Mays said. "Everybody hit their routines and there was just energy. They were building off each other. I had a sense after (uneven) bars, (which was the opening event), because they were cheering each other on. We're feeling really good for district."
Hannah Roy finished third in the all-around (35.15) to lead the way. She was runner-up on floor exercise (9.0) and fourth on bars (8.6), and Maia Kropp was sixth on floor (8.75).
Also in the all-around, Kropp was 18th (24.25), Chelsea Naples placed 19th (24.075) and Gracelyn Scheetz finished 20th (23.475).
"We all did really well in everything," Naples said. "To get a 128, that's amazing. I'm so excited. Honestly, I think we had all of our energy saved up for this meet. We were warmed up and we knew this was the real meet."
In the final league standings, Olentangy went 4-0 with 20 points, ahead of Orange (14, 3-1), Liberty (14, 2-2), Central (6, 1-3) and Big Walnut (6, 0-4).
Girls basketball team to again face Central
After splitting with Westerville Central during the regular season, the girls basketball team will get another matchup with the Warhawks.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, 23rd-seeded Liberty plays at 11th-seeded Central in the first round of the Division I district tournament. The winner advances to a second-round game Feb. 23 against 15th-seeded New Albany at the home of the better seed.
The Patriots lost to Central 55-45 on Jan. 5 but won the rematch 44-37 on Feb. 9 in their regular-season finale to improve to 11-11 overall and finish 6-4 in the OCC-Buckeye. Central is 6-3 in the league heading into its game Friday, Feb. 16 at Westerville South and was 14-6 under first-year coach Jim Morgan before playing Licking Heights on Feb. 13.
The Warhawks went 1-22 last season.
"I've got a lot of respect for (Central)," coach Sam Krafty said. "They've got a very good team and they play hard. It was pretty physical, so we're going to have to go over there and be ready to go. Defensively, they're as good as it gets in the halfcourt."
The rematch with Central represented the final prep home game for a six-member senior class that is led by Kennedy Kashmiry, who scored 10 points.
"We're all really close and hang out outside of basketball. It's a good senior group for sure," Kashmiry said. "In the first game with (Central) we got off to a really slow start in the first quarter. We did way better in the paint (in the rematch)."
Hockey team loses CBJ Cup final
As was the case a year ago, the hockey team lost to Dublin Jerome in the championship game of the Blue Jackets Cup.
The Patriots hope the coming postseason ends as well as last year's when they bounced back from a 7-5 loss to the Celtics to win the district title.
On Feb. 11, Liberty was tied with Jerome at 1 heading into the final period but lost 3-1 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The Patriots have gone 2-3 against the Celtics this season but are 25-6-3 overall.
"We hope to obviously see them again in the (district) tournament, but it's a little bit of a bitter pill right now," coach Jack Hoogeveen said.
Kevin Springfield scored early in the second period to tie the Cup final, but the top-seeded Celtics got a hat trick from Carter Patchett.
Liberty was the second seed and beat seventh-seeded Springboro 3-2 on Feb. 8 at the Ice Haus and third-seeded St. Charles 5-3 on Feb. 9 at Chiller Easton.
The Patriots also are seeded second for the district tournament and open Sunday, Feb. 18, with a second-round game against 16th-seeded Kettering Alter or 19th-seeded Beavercreek at the Ice Haus. The winner plays eighth-seeded Watterson, 12th-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier or 22nd-seeded Troy on Feb. 24 at the Ice Haus.
Postseason begins for swim program
The boys and girls swimming teams will compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University.
The top two finishers in each event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
On Feb. 12, girls divers Morgan Menninger, Libby Boothman, Maia Kropp and Mallory Patrick competed at district at Dublin Community Recreation Center but came up short of advancing to state.
Menninger finished fifth (486.4), Boothman was sixth (464.85) and Kropp placed seventh (414.85) as the top four moved on. Patrick was 13th (341.7).
On Feb. 13, Cameron Friedauer, Jack Matthews and Michael Boothman competed in the district boys diving meet at the same venue. The top five finishers advanced to compete at state Feb. 24.
In a sectional Feb. 10 at Kenyon College, the boys finished fourth (122.5) of 11 teams behind champion Jerome (270) and the girls were second (208) of 10 teams behind champion Dublin Coffman (274).
For the girls, Kate Saczawa won the 100-yard backstroke (58.71 seconds) and Rachel Peroni was runner-up in both the 100 butterfly (57.21) and 100 backstroke (59.07). They also swam on the runner-up 200 freestyle relay (1:40.28) and second-place 400 free relay (3:37.69) with Lila Leary and Abby Noonan.
Noonan added a third-place finish in the 100 back (1:00.51). Placing fourth were Hannah Beavers in the 100 back (1:00.92) and 100 fly (59.1), Saczawa in the 50 free (24.86), Leary in the 200 free (1:57.67) and the 200 medley relay of Beavers, Noonan, Allison Kenny and Avery Venetta (1:52.75).
For the boys team, John Bently was runner-up in the 200 free (1:45.84), the 400 free relay of Bently, Eli Grubbs, Christopher Tracewell and Alexander Wisler was third (3:17.98) and the 200 free relay of the same four swimmers was fourth (1:31.35).
Boys basketball team looks to sweep Braves
On Friday, Feb. 16, the boys basketball team will look to earn a season sweep of Olentangy when it plays host to the Braves in its regular-season finale.
Liberty beat Olentangy 73-66 on Jan. 31 as Ben Roderick scored 27 points and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career. That also is the game in which he suffered a season-ending left knee injury.
The Patriots have lost their last four since that contest, although they hung with Newark before falling 62-60 on Feb. 6. The Wildcats are the fifth seed for the Division I district tournament.
The Patriots are seeded 14th and open at home Feb. 24 against 20th-seeded Davidson in the first round.
On Feb. 10, Nick Nakasian had 21 points and Mitch Kershner added 19 but the Patriots lost to Cincinnati Hughes 80-70. Liberty was outscored 25-15 in the fourth quarter.
Wrestlers to battle for league title
On Thursday, Feb. 15, the wrestling team will play host to Westerville North with the OCC-Buckeye championship on the line.
The Patriots beat Westerville Central 69-9 on Feb. 8 to improve to 4-0 in the league.
The Warriors also enter the dual at 4-0 in the league.
Liberty athletes make college choices
Several Liberty athletes announced their college decisions during the February signing period.
In football, Matthew Webb will play for Otterbein.
In men's soccer, Wes Collins will play for Northern Kentucky, Colin McCort will play for Bowling Green and Stephen Psyhogios will compete for Findlay.
In women's soccer, Abby Jones will compete for Murray State and Olivia Sensky and Abby Townsend will play for Ohio University.
Cason Comer will play baseball for Alderson Broaddus.
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Liberty boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- John Bently: 100 free (48.48, ninth), 200 free (1:45.84, second); Andrew Gehring: 100 fly (55.53, 16th); Eli Grubbs: 200 IM (2:05.07, 19th); Isaac Iversen: 100 breast (1:01.72, 16th), 200 IM (2:05.8, 23rd); Max Miller: 100 breast (1:02.96, 22nd), 200 IM (2:04.82, 18th); Matthew Patterson: 100 back (56.95, 20th); Nick Sells: 100 fly (45.81, 11th), 200 IM (2:06.13, 25th); Christopher Tracewell: 200 free (1:51.14, 25th), 500 free (5:09.09, 29th); Alexander Wisler: 50 free (22.67, 24th), 100 free (50.0, 26th); 200 free relay (1:31.35, eighth); 200 medley relay (1:42.77, 12th); 400 free relay (3:17.98, third)
GIRLS -- Hannah Beavers: 100 back (1:00.92, 15th), 100 fly (59.1, 13th); Lila Leary: 100 free (54.71, 23rd), 200 free (1:57.67, seventh); Michaela Neal: 200 IM (2:20.73, 26th); Abby Noonan: 100 back (1:00.51, 11th); Rachel Peroni: 100 back (59.07, seventh), 100 fly (57.21, fourth); Kate Saczawa: 50 free (24.86, 14th), 100 back (58.71, fifth); Avery Venetta: 100 breast (1:10.24, 15th); Abigail Weis: 200 free (2:03.71, 28th), 500 free (5:25.99, 12th); 200 free relay (1:40.28, fifth); 200 medley relay (1:52.75, ninth); 400 free relay (3:37.69, fifth)