Macy Spielman had yet to play a game for the Upper Arlington High School girls basketball team when coach Chris Savage handed down some lofty expectations.
Not only did Savage think Spielman could become the program's all-time leading scorer, but he thought she might be able to score 1,000 points before the end of her junior year.
"I was like, 'There's no way I can do it,' " Spielman recalled last week. "I knew it was something that I looked up to and hoped it would come somewhere along my journey."
With one goal achieved, Spielman is embracing the next.
The junior guard scored her 1,000th career point Feb. 6 during the third quarter of a 73-51 loss to Westerville South and is 111 points away from being the program's all-time leading scorer.
Spielman, a Miami University commit, needed 11 points entering the South game to hit 1,000. She reached the milestone on a free throw 36 seconds into the third quarter, joining 2004 graduate Michele DeVault and 2016 graduate Kortney Eisenman as UA's only four-figure scorers.
DeVault and Eisenman share the program scoring record with 1,129 points.
Savage, who said he knew when Spielman was in fourth grade that she would be his starting point guard as a freshman, did not keep the achievement a secret as it neared because he wanted Spielman to be recognized.
"I knew she was capable of it. She puts in the work. Her teammates do a great job surrounding her and supporting her. It's definitely a team accolade for her," Savage said. "I didn't give anything to her. She earned it. She was my starting point guard first game freshman year and she hasn't backed off since.
"To get (1,000 points) your junior year is a pretty amazing feat. On the court and shooting-wise, she has improved. She's making much better decisions."
The Bears are 17-5 overall after finishing the OCC-Central Division and regular-season schedules with a 52-45 win at Marysville on Feb. 9. UA finished 8-2 in the league, second behind Dublin Coffman (10-0).
Spielman admitted being nervous Feb. 6. She made just one of her first five shots from the floor but ended up with 10 points in the first half.
"I was just praying I would make at least one of those free throws," she said. "It was a cool experience. I tried not to tell people about it, but some people found out. It was nice to have the support. There were definitely some extra nerves."
Spielman is averaging 14.2 points through 72 career games. At that pace, she would break DeVault and Eisenman's record early next season unless UA advances all the way to this year's Division I state final, a quest it will begin Saturday, Feb. 17, when it plays host to 35th-seeded Grove City in the first round of the district tournament.
"That would be something. Kortney was a heck of a player and playing with her for one year was great," Spielman said. "She showed me the ropes and believed in me as a freshman. Breaking that record, that's the dream."
UA, which is seeded seventh in the 50-team district tournament, is seeking its third district championship in five years. The Bears won district titles in 2016 and 2014.
The UA-Grove City winner will play 31st-seeded Westerville North in the second round Feb. 23 at the home of the higher seed.
Citing familiarity, Savage picked the same bracket of the district tournament as top-seeded Newark and sixth-seeded Northland. UA, which lost to the Wildcats 51-29 on Nov. 29 and fell to the Vikings 46-35 on Dec. 9, would meet Northland in a district semifinal and Newark in a district final if seeds hold.
Newark was ranked first in last week's state poll but lost to Pickerington Central 60-38 on Feb. 10 to fall to 21-1.
"It's that two- or three-minute gap we've had in games with good teams that has cost us," Savage said. "Being even for (just) a while has been the problem. It's been the bad stretches that have killed us. Sometimes the bad stuff carries over and things go downhill. But if we can stay focused the entire time, I like our chances."
Boys basketball team prepares for rematch
Thirteen days after their first meeting of the season, the boys basketball team will go for the outright OCC-Central championship Friday, Feb. 16, when it plays host to Coffman.
UA, which defeated the Shamrocks 44-41 on Feb. 3 when Dane Goodwin made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, clinched at least a share of the league title Feb. 9 with a 72-38 win at Marysville. Goodwin had game-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds, Max Martz added 15 points and Josh Rushin scored 10 as the Bears improved to 19-1 overall and 9-0 in the league.
Coffman is 8-1 in the OCC-Central after a 66-61 win over Central Crossing on Feb. 9.
UA was ranked fourth in last week's Division I state poll.
The Bears also defeated Westerville South 66-46 on Feb. 6 as Goodwin scored 35 points and Martz added 14.
UA and Coffman have split their season series each of the past three years.
"It's always a dogfight," coach Tim Casey said. "You have two teams that are disciplined and well-coached and with invested guys. They're high-level games and they're always meaningful."
The Bears earned the second seed in the 48-team district tournament and will play host to 45th-seeded Franklin Heights in a first-round game Feb. 23.
Gymnastics team wins elusive title
The gymnastics team finished its domination of the OCC-Central by winning the league championship Feb. 10, scoring 131.325 points in the league meet at Hilliard Davidson.
Megan Crouse placed second on floor exercise (9.05) and tied for fourth on vault (8.15) to lead UA to its first league championship since 2004. The host Wildcats (129.875) were second, followed by Marysville (126.65), Grove City (109.05), Westland (106.275), Central Crossing (106.1), Coffman (73.675) and Franklin Heights (49.85).
Mia Tzagournis placed fifth on floor (8.725) and in all-around (32.475). Addy Pittenger was second on uneven bars (8.4) and Sydney Rose was fifth on balance beam (8.275).
The Bears went 7-0 in league duals and finished with 32 points, ahead of Davidson (28, 6-1), Marysville (24, 5-2), Grove City (18, 3-4), Westland (16, 3-4), Central Crossing (14, 3-4), Coffman (8, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (4, 0-7).
Divers Darling, Fidanza make state
Two days after the boys and girls swimming teams both advanced 14 individual qualifiers and all relays to the Division I district meet, divers Holly Darling and Julia Fidanza punched their tickets to the state meet.
Darling finished third (501.1) and Fidanza was fourth (496.5) in the girls district diving meet Feb. 12 at Dublin Community Recreation Center. The top four divers advanced to state Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Girls swimmer Dakota Elliott is the top seed in both the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, .27 of a second) and 500 freestyle (5:15.31) for the district meet Saturday, Feb. 17, at Ohio University, and Kendra Sheehan has the top time in the 100 backstroke (56.58).
Twelve girls swimmers and nine boys qualified in two individual events.
UA swimmers won eight events in their home sectional Feb. 10.
In addition to Elliott's two wins and Sheehan's first-place in the 100 back, the girls team got wins from the 200 medley relay (1:50.43) and 400 free relay (3:36.34). Winning for the boys team were Alec Caswell in the 200 free (1:46.14), Jack McHugh in the 50 free (22.35) and the 400 free relay (3:21.03).
Team scores were not kept.
The winner of each sectional event automatically qualified for district. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming 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 for each swimming event based on times statewide.
Divers did not compete at sectional.
The boys district diving meet was Feb. 13 at Dublin Community Recreation Center. The top five boys advanced to state Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium.
Hockey team has bye in tourney
The hockey team is seeded fifth of 24 teams in the district tournament and has a first-round bye.
UA will take on 14th-seeded Centerville or 18th-seeded DeSales in the second round Saturday, Feb. 17, at Chiller North. The winner faces third-seeded St. Charles, 11th-seeded Olentangy Orange or 23rd-seeded Mason in a quarterfinal Feb. 24.
The Bears, who are 14-14-1-2, defeated DeSales 7-1 on Dec. 2 at Chiller Easton but have not played Centerville this season.
UA lost its first-round game in the Blue Jackets Cup, falling to fifth-seeded Cincinnati Moeller 4-2 on Feb. 8 at Chiller Easton. A.J. Cleveland and Gordie MacDonald scored for the fourth-seeded Bears.
Bears athletes select colleges
Three student-athletes announced their college decisions Feb. 7.
Matt Hoke will play football at Denison, Dante Landolfi will play football at Columbia and Abbie Morris will play women's soccer at DePauw.
Below is the coming schedule for the Upper Arlington wrestling team:
*Feb. 15 -- Home vs. Westland
*League contestAt a glance
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Upper Arlington boys and girls swimming teams:
BOYS -- Alec Caswell: 200 free (1:46.14, fourth), 500 free (4:45.63, fifth); Hunter Dean: 100 back (58.31, 29th), 100 fly (56.93, 27th); Will Dierker: 500 free (5:03.41, 23rd); Ted Dimitrov: 100 breast (1:01.67, 15th), 200 IM (2:04.52, 17th); Jackson Gooding: 100 back (57.47, 24th); Hayden Jay: 200 free (1:48.13, 10th); Luke Landis: 100 fly (55.8, 20th), 500 free (4:58.94, 15th); Jack McHugh: 50 free (22.35, 11th), 100 free (49.31, 15th); Jimmy Ravine: 100 breast (1:02.36, 18th), 200 IM (2:05.62, 22nd); Reed Ray: 100 breast (1:02.38, 19th), 200 IM (2:02.63, eighth); Thomas Ray: 500 free (4:58.97, 16th); Antonio Ventresca: 200 free (1:51.54, 29th); Avery Voss: 50 free (22.36, 12th), 100 free (49.47, 19th); Gavin Voss: 50 free (22.78, 28th), 100 fly (54.85, 12th); 200 free relay (1:31.23, seventh); 200 medley relay (1:42.65, 11th), 400 free relay (3:21.03, sixth)
GIRLS -- Morgan Brewer: 50 free (25.56, 30th), 100 fly (59.52, 14th); Caroline Colombo: 50 free (24.6, eighth), 100 free (53.74, 10th); Abby Dunasky: 200 free (2:00.88, 18th), 500 free (5:15.31, seventh); Dakota Elliott: 200 IM (2:00.27, first), 500 free (4:51.46, first); Sophia Elliott: 100 free (54.59, 22nd), 200 free (1:58.23, eighth); Abby Hendershot: 200 free (2:01.14, 18th), 500 free (5:27.34, 13th); Alicia Howe: 100 breast (1:08.98, 13th), 500 free (5:16.9, eighth); Adeline Jay: 200 free (2:03.7, 27th); Lydia Muldoon: 100 back (1:02.34, 30th), 200 IM (2:17.72, 17th); Emily Reardon: 100 fly (1:01.76, 30th); Erin Reardon: 100 breast (1:07.17, sixth), 200 IM (2:11.6, sixth); Lindsey Rush: 100 breast (1:11.71, 24th), 200 IM (2:20.71, 25th); Emma Schueler: 50 free (24.62, 10th), 100 free (54.37, 18th); Kendra Sheehan: 100 back (56.58, first), 100 free (52.48, third); 200 free relay (1:39.63, fourth); 200 medley relay (1:50.43, sixth), 400 free relay (3:36.34, second)