A slow start didn't keep Gahanna Lincoln High School junior Maycey Vieta from contending for the Division I state girls diving championship Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The 2017 state champion was in eighth place after the preliminary round and moved up to seventh during the semifinal round before saving some of her best performances for the end.
She ended up passing five competitors and came away with a runner-up finish (466.3 points) behind Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame senior Teagan Moravek (479.85), who led after the preliminaries and semifinals as well.
"I had an iffy start, but I thought about restarting and not thinking about it," Vieta said. "By the end I thought I did well."
Vieta totaled 17 points as the Lions tied Hilliard Darby for 28th behind champion Mason (236) as 55 teams scored.
Vieta didn't compete in the OCC-Ohio Division meet this season but finished with 524.7 points in the district meet Feb. 12 at Dublin Community Recreation Center to win the championship as the top four advanced to state. She was fourth at state as a freshman.
Her district performance helped the Lions total 68 points to place 13th behind champion Upper Arlington (274) as 30 teams scored in the meet, which concluded Feb. 17 at Ohio University.
The Lions didn't have any other state qualifiers but are eligible to return two girls swimmers who competed at district in junior Lydia Gilger (100-yard butterfly, 200 freestyle) and freshman Mackenzie Massmann (100 fly, 200 individual medley).
Payton Vogelgesang, who swam a program-record 52.84 seconds in the 100 free to finish 13th at district, and Hannah Snedden, who was 11th at district in the 100 backstroke (59.33), were the top senior girls.
Other girls eligible to return include junior diver Lina Alli, freshman diver Ashleigh Provan, junior swimmer Madison Gibson and freshman swimmer Rylee Slisher.
The girls were runners-up (249) in the league meet Jan. 25 at New Albany and Jan. 27 at Thomas Worthington behind Pickerington North (389) and ahead of Lancaster (229), Pickerington Central (133), Grove City (116) and Reynoldsburg (77).
The boys team scored 297 points to win its first league title since 2008, ahead of Lancaster (238), Reynoldsburg (200.5), North (178), Grove City (172) and Central (113.5).
The boys scored 25 points at district to place 21st behind champion Dublin Jerome (303) as 29 teams scored. Paul Padgett was 14th in the 100 back (54.86) and 17th in the 50 free (22.25) to lead the senior class.
Sophomore Johnny Belli should be the top returnee after placing seventh in the 100 fly (52.89) and 15th in the 100 back (55.05) at district.
Others eligible to return include juniors Logan Marks, Jacob Sherman and Austin Wharton, sophomore Derek Yu and freshmen McCord Riegler and Nathan Vogelgesang.
"The (seniors on) the girls (team) are going to be hard to replace, but with the boys we have (several) freshmen," coach Jeff Riegler said. "It's a young group and we lost a lot of really good swimmers last year, especially on the boys team."
Girls basketball team makes district semi
With a 79-61 victory over 26th-seeded Darby on Feb. 23, the girls basketball team moved within one step of making it to a second consecutive Division I district final.
The ninth-seeded Lions played eighth-seeded Hartley in a district semifinal Feb. 28 at Pickerington North, with the winner to face fourth-seeded Reynoldsburg or 14th-seeded Big Walnut in a district final at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at Ohio Dominican.
The district champion will play Pickerington Central, Eastmoor Academy, Olentangy Liberty or Hilliard Davidson in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at Otterbein, with the regional final set for March 9 at Otterbein.
Gahanna, which lost to eventual state semifinalist Newark 52-37 in a district final last season, was 17-7 before playing Hartley and on an eight-game winning streak.
In the second round against Darby, the Lions led 22-9 at the end of the first quarter and 37-28 at halftime. Anisja Harris made four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, and Edyn Battle hit two 3s and also scored 19.
Boys basketball team wins tourney opener
With a 77-55 victory over 38th-seeded Big Walnut on Feb. 24 in the first round of the Division I district tournament, the seventh-seeded boys basketball team advanced to a second-round game at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, at home against 41st-seeded Briggs.
If the Lions beat the Bruins, they will face ninth-seeded Pickerington Central or 22nd-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 7, at a site to be announced.
The winner of that game plays fourth-seeded Westerville North, 29th-seeded Mifflin, 30th-seeded Canal Winchester or 39th-seeded New Albany in a district final March 10 at Ohio Dominican.
Against Big Walnut, Elijah Thomas made three 3-pointers and had 19 points and Michael Reeves scored 17 as the Lions improved to 16-7.
The Lions didn't play Briggs or Walnut Ridge during the regular season but lost to Central 72-56 on Jan. 29 and 79-60 on Feb. 16 in OCC-Ohio contests.
The Tigers' Adrian Nelson scored 30 points in the first matchup and 27 in the second. The 6-foot-6 forward has committed to Detroit Mercy.
Girls bowling team wins sectional title
After taking third at sectional in 2016 and earning a runner-up finish in that round last season, the girls bowling team took another step forward Feb. 24 in the Division I sectional at HP Lanes.
The Lions bowled a 3,642 to edge Whitehall (3,617) for the championship.
"The girls felt that after four years of hard work, it finally paid off," coach Kelly Ferguson said. "It was great to stay at the top all day and take first. As their coach, I was proud of the way they handled themselves and stayed focused all day."
All five of Gahanna's competitors finished in the top 20, as senior Shannon Gonzales was fifth (552), seniors Briann McKnight and Delaney Ferguson tied for sixth (551), freshman Lilu Smith was 15th (519) and junior Taylor Burns placed 17th (505).
The Lions compete in the district tournament Saturday, March 3, at HP Lanes. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 10 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Last season, Gahanna placed fourth at district and sixth at state.
Boys bowlers place second at sectional
The boys bowling team also will compete in the Division I district tournament Saturday, March 3, at HP Lanes. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state March 9 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
In the 38-team sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, the Lions were runners-up (3,609) behind Westerville Central (3,836) as the top 12 moved on.
Nathan Minzler led with a 580 that placed him fifth overall, while Hunter Blankenship was 13th (553) and Sal Ferrante placed 14th (552). Also competing were Alex Minzler, Dalton Cararo and Hunter McKnight.
Wrestlers prep for district tourney
The wrestling team had five Division I district qualifiers from a sectional held Feb. 24 at Watkins Memorial.
The Lions compete Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, in the district tournament at Darby, where the top four in each weight class advance to state March 8-10 at Ohio State.
In the 10-team sectional, Charles Williams (106 pounds), Cristian Salazar (113) and Juan Porras (120) finished second and Anthony Lawson (145) and Nate Garbark (195) placed fourth to advance as Gahanna was sixth (125.5) behind champion Olentangy (259.5).
Placing fifth were Max Wright (152), Adam Grimard (182), Major Brown (220) and Dylan Brookings (heavyweight). Luke Garbark (160) and Brian Walthaw (170) were sixth.
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
SWIMMING & DIVING
*Finishes: Boys -- First in OCC-Ohio, seventh at sectional, 21st at district; Girls -- Second in OCC-Ohio, fifth at sectional, 13th at district, tied for 28th at state
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Preston Brown, Seamus Ginnane, Jared Mair and Paul Padgett; Girls -- Hannah Snedden, Payton Vogelgesang and Stefani Wasmer
*Key returnees: Boys -- Johnny Belli, Caleb Gilger, Casey Jordan, Logan Marks, McCord Riegler, Jacob Sherman, Nathan Vogelgesang and Austin Wharton; Girls -- Lina Alli, Kendra Dillon, Madison Gibson, Lydia Gilger, Mackenzie Massmann, Ashleigh Provan, Rylee Slisher and Maycey Vieta