Junior Rachel Rinaldi and senior Becca Taylor helped lead the Thomas Worthington High School girls swimming team to a second-place finish in its home Division I sectional Feb. 10.
Rinaldi was a sectional champion, winning the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 12.36 seconds to earn an automatic berth in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University.
"Rachel has had a really solid year and has worked real hard," coach Jim Callahan said. "I think we're about to see that work pay off now. I think this is just a steppingstone to get to state."
The winner of each sectional swimming event automatically advanced to district. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Rinaldi finished second in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.5) and is seeded seventh in the 200 IM and 11th in the 100 breast at district, where the top two finishers in each swimming event qualify for the state meet Feb. 23 and 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
In addition, 16 at-large berths will be awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.
Taylor placed second in the 200 freestyle (1:56.93) and third in the 100 butterfly (58.38) and is seeded fourth and seventh, respectively, in those events at district.
"Rachel and Becca are seeded well, but I also think Maddie Holub can be right there competing for a spot at state in the 200 IM and the 100 breast," Callahan said. "Maddie had an issue with one of her turns in the IM, so I think her times will be better at district."
Holub placed third in the 100 breast (1:08.59) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:18.24) and is seeded 12th and 18th, respectively, in those events at district.
In all, eight girls advanced to district and will compete in 11 swims covering seven events, including all three relays. The 200 medley relay of Emily Huber, Rinaldi, Taylor and Holub (1:51.51) and the 400 free relay of Audrey Taylor, Rinaldi, Holub and Becca Taylor (3:41.68) both placed third and the 200 free relay of Maria Lin, Nevin Woods, Katie Bozoti and Audrey Taylor was fifth (1:47.65).
The Cardinals totaled 173 points to place behind New Albany (401) in the 15-team sectional.
There was no diving at sectional. Peyton Hull finished 20th (222.8 points) in the district diving meet Feb. 12 at Dublin Community Recreation Center. The top four girls advanced to state Feb. 22.
Eli Short led the boys team, which placed third (186) of 12 teams, behind champion New Albany (300) and Delaware (203).
Short won the 50 free (22.37) and finished third in the 100 free (49.88). He is seeded 14th in the 50 free and 23rd in the 100 free at district.
"Eli had a strong day and he's just a freshman," Callahan said. "As a matter of fact, five of our six district boys qualifiers are either freshmen or sophomores, so we're really excited about the future."
Andrei Proca finished third in the 500 free (4:58.99) and fifth in the 200 free (1:50.26) and is seeded 17th and 20th, respectively, in those events at district.
All three relays placed third. The 200 medley relay of Sam Steele, Grant Simeone, Proca and Short (1:43.57) and is seeded 14th, the 200 free relay of Jack King, Derek Taylor, Simeone and Short (1:32.04) is seeded 10th and the 400 free relay of Proca, Taylor, Steele and King (3:24.4) is seeded 13th.
Steele placed fifth in both the 200 IM (2:06.44) and 100 back (57.33) and Simeone was fifth in the 100 breast (1:04.68). King, the lone senior qualifier, was sixth in the 200 free (1:50.49) and Taylor finished ninth in the 500 free (5:08.89).
In all, six swimmers will compete in 12 swims, covering 10 events, including three relays, at district.
The boys team had no divers at district.
Girls basketball team shares league title
The girls basketball team earned at least a share of its second consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship.
The Cardinals finished 9-3 in the league after losing to Dublin Scioto 50-40 on Feb. 6 and Hilliard Darby 74-73 in three overtimes Feb. 9. However, Scioto lost to Hilliard Bradley 51-40 on Feb. 9 and was 8-3 in the league before facing Dublin Jerome on Feb. 13.
"Other than the first quarter, we didn't shoot it well against Scioto," said coach Laurie Barr, whose team won its first league title in 21 years last season when it shared the championship with Bradley.
"Then, we were very disappointed to lose to Darby, but we learned before we got back on the bus to head home that Scioto lost, too, so we all called family and friends, told them to meet us at the gym and cut down the nets to celebrate our second title in a row. It wasn't the way we wanted to get it done, but our work through the entire season allowed us to be rewarded, so we'll take it. Plus, everyone who played against Darby made significant plays to keep the game going."
Against Scioto, the Cardinals led 10-0 after one quarter but were outscored 50-30 over the final three quarters. Jazzlynn Gaiters had 22 points and Breanne Beatty added eight.
Against Darby, Gaiters, who had 29 points and 16 rebounds, tied the score late in regulation to send the game to overtime. Beatty had 22 points, including a 3-pointer with two seconds left in overtime to force a second overtime, and Kelly Lewis made a 3-pointer with four seconds left to force the third overtime.
Thomas is seeded 18th of 50 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. The Cardinals will play sixth-seeded Northland or 42nd-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round Feb. 23 at the home of the higher seed.
"We have two girls banged up and a third just returned against Darby, so the time off before our tournament opener gives us a chance to heal and gives all of them time to rest a little mentally and physically," Barr said.
Gymnastics team ties for 4th in OCC
The gymnastics team placed sixth in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 10 at Hilliard Davidson but tied for fourth in the overall league standings.
The Cardinals (12 points, 3-3 record) tied Kilbourne (12, 2-4) and Delaware (12, 1-5) in the overall standings, behind Darby (28, 6-0), Bradley (24, 5-1) and Jerome (20, 4-2) and ahead of Scioto (4, 0-6).
Darby won the league meet (132.925), ahead of Bradley (130.45), Jerome (129.825), Kilbourne (121.875), Delaware (120.975), Thomas (120.2) and Scioto (79.475).
The top six finishers in each event and the all-around made the podium, the top five medaled and the top three earned all-league honors.
Regan Macerollo placed sixth on vault (8.05) and 17th in the all-around (30.175), Audrey Maxwell was 10th on vault (7.975), 11th on balance beam (7.85) and 16th in the all-around (30.375), Emma Zedeker was 10th on beam (7.9), Camryn Patton was 15th on beam (7.65) and Vicky Gomez was 21st in the all-around (28.2).
Boys basketball team getting set for Wolves
The boys basketball team will close the regular season Friday, Feb. 16, with an OCC-Cardinal contest at Kilbourne.
The Cardinals will be looking to avenge a 60-45 home loss to the Wolves on Jan. 20.
Ben Wight led the Cardinals with 13 points, Jamal Carter scored nine and Julius Mallory scored eight. The Wolves were led by Gavin Baker's 15 points and 14 from Zach Wilson.
The Cardinals are 4-17 overall and 1-10 in the league.
Thomas upset Scioto 40-36 on Feb. 6, overcoming a 25-8 halftime deficit and outscoring the host Irish 18-2 in the fourth quarter. Wight had 14 points and Maurice Collins scored seven against the Irish, who were 10-10 overall before Feb. 13 and are 3-8 in the league.
The Cardinals lost to Darby 43-38 in their home finale Feb. 9 and fell to Olentangy 65-55 the following day.
Carter had 11 points against Darby and scored 18 against Olentangy. Isaac Settles added 15 points against the Braves.
Thomas is seeded 40th of 48 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at 10th-seeded Reynoldsburg in the first round Feb. 24.
Athletes announce college decisions
Boys lacrosse players Dekaider Jackson and Max Nordquist announced their college decisions last week.
Jackson will play at Otterbein and Nordquist will play at Wittenberg.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas gymnastics, hockey and wrestling teams:
Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Marysville, Thornville Sheridan and Washington Court House Miami Trace
Feb. 16 -- 10th-seeded Cincinnati Elder in first round of district tournament at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Winner plays seventh-seeded Springboro or 24th-seeded Gahanna in second round Feb. 17 at Ice Haus. That winner advances to quarterfinal Feb. 24. The Cardinals are seeded 17th of 24 teams.
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
Feb. 17 -- Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles
*League contestAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Thomas boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- Jack King: 200 free (1:50.49, 21st); Andrei Proca: 200 free (1:50.26, 20th), 500 free (4:58.99, 17th); Eli Short: 50 free (22.37, 14th), 100 free (49.88, 23rd); Grant Simeone: 100 breast (1:04.68, 30th); Sam Steele: 200 IM (2:06.44, 26th), 100 back (57.33, 23rd); Derek Taylor: 500 free (5:08.89, 28th); 200 free relay (1:32.04, 10th); 400 free relay (3:24.4, 13th); 200 medley relay (1:43.57, 14th)
GIRLS -- Maddie Holub: 200 IM (2:18.24, 18th), 100 breast (1:08.59, 12th); Emily Huber: 100 back (1:01.36, 21st); Rachel Rinaldi: 200 IM (2:12.36, seventh), 100 breast (1:08.5, 11th); Audrey Taylor: 50 free (25.54, 28th); Becca Taylor: 200 free (1:56.93, fourth), 100 fly (58.38, seventh); 200 free relay (1:47.65, 17th); 400 free relay (3:41.68, ninth); 200 medley relay (1:51.51, eighth)