Wellington School divers Taso Callanan and Eric Jacques had reason to celebrate when they left the Division II state meet Feb. 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
A freshman and the district runner-up to Jacques, Callanan finished seventh (357.7 points) of 24 competitors to become the first boys diver in program history to reach the state podium.
Jacques, a senior, finished a personal-best ninth (339.8) while making his third consecutive state appearance as Cincinnati Indian Hill's Noah Vigran won the championship (584.45).
Jacques had finished 15th at state in 2016 and 18th a year ago.
"It was great," said diving coach Ron Kontura, who also coaches the divers for Kenyon College. "Taso made the podium, which is huge because he's a freshman and this is all new to him. He's only going to get better from this point on. For Eric, it was a great way for him to finish his senior year."
Callanan, who has competed in national competitions in boys gymnastics before recently taking up diving, was in fifth place after preliminaries and sixth place after the semifinal round.
"Going in, I felt very strong," Callanan said. "I felt confident on every single dive. I've gone to big meets in gymnastics, so I stayed calm. It was a really cool experience and hopefully I'll get into the top three in future years."
Jacques, who is considering competing in diving collegiately, was in eighth place after the preliminary and semifinal rounds before getting edged by Cleveland Benedictine's Luke Faulisi (353.55) for the final spot on the podium.
"It's my best finish at state, so I'm really happy," Jacques said. "I had a feeling it would be a good day, but I've been really sore lately so I just took it one dive at a time."
The Jaguars scored 21 points at state to finish 29th behind champion Hunting Valley University School (219.5) as 54 teams scored.
Jacques was one of three seniors on the boys team. The others are his brother, David Jacques, and Spencer Povoski, both of whom are swimmers.
The boys finished last (188.5) in a four-team sectional Feb. 10 at Upper Arlington behind champion Centennial (265), and the girls were runners-up (243) in the three-team sectional at UA behind Grandview (406).
Then at district, which concluded Feb. 16 at Ohio University, the boys scored 123 points to place seventh behind champion Columbus Academy (324) as 31 teams scored, and the girls were 17th (23) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (356) as 32 teams scored.
While Callanan is expected to lead the diving corps next season, freshman Heath Thomas should be the top returning swimmer for the boys team.
At district, Thomas placed third in the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 2.22 seconds) and fifth in the 200 free (1:50.38) but fell short of advancing to state in both events.
Thomas also joined David Jacques, Povoski and freshman Will Miller on the 200 free relay that finished 20th (1:45.99) at district and junior Evan Albers, David Jacques and Povoski on the 400 free relay that took ninth (3:40.8).
The expected return of Thomas and Albers, who was 21st in the 500 free (5:53.78) at district, would give the Jaguars a strong distance swimming nucleus next year.
Sophomore Sarah Anderson should be the top returnee for the girls team.
At district, she placed eighth in the 50 free (25.5) and 14th in the 100 butterfly (1:02) and joined junior Camille Simpson, sophomore Serene Abdelbaki and freshman Paige Bennett on the 200 medley relay that finished 26th (2:14.56) and juniors Erin Anderson, Soleil Tibbets-Barnes and Simpson on the 200 free relay that placed 24th (1:58.3).
Another expected key returnee is freshman Taylor Vargo, who placed ninth in diving (246.5) at district.
Boys basketball team opens tourney action
The fourth-seeded boys basketball team opened Division III district tournament play Feb. 26 at home by beating 21st-seeded Heath 61-45.
The Jaguars play host to 19th-seeded Fredericktown in a second-round contest Saturday, March 3. That winner faces seventh-seeded Grandview or ninth-seeded Johnstown in a district semifinal Tuesday, March 6, at a neutral site to be announced.
The district final is March 9 at Ohio Dominican.
Wellington improved to 18-4 with the win over Heath as Dallas Patrick finished with 19 points, John Faller scored 17 and Solomon Pierre-Louis added 12. The Jaguars outscored the Bulldogs 23-8 in the third quarter.
Fredericktown is 8-13.
Girls basketball team opens postseason play
Despite missing two players because of illness, the sixth-seeded girls basketball team blew past ninth-seeded Delaware Christian 55-29 in a second-round Division IV district tournament game Feb. 21.
Junior guard/forward Addie Shock and senior guard Jakaysha Williams remained out Feb. 24, but the Jaguars managed to beat fifth-seeded Granville Christian 37-30 in a third-round game.
The Jaguars played top-seeded Fairfield Christian in a district semifinal Feb. 28.
Wellington was 15-9 before playing Fairfield Christian. The Jaguars lost to the Knights 51-22 on Jan. 9 and 56-30 on Feb. 10.
Savannah Childress had 14 points and Jacquie Sierzpu-towski scored 12 against Granville Christian, as Wellington led 22-8 at halftime.
Against Delaware Christian, Childress had 27 points, Zoe Beatty scored 11 and Annie Taylor added 10.
"(Delaware Christian was) a tough team," coach Danielle Fleming said.
"Savannah Childress had a monster game. She did a little bit of everything, hitting a couple big (3-pointers) and making some nice jump shots."
The semifinal winner plays second-seeded Berne Union or fourth-seeded Danville in a district final Saturday, March 3, at New Albany.
The district champion faces Beverly Fort Frye, Sarahsville Shenandoah, Malvern or Bridgeport in a regional semifinal March 8 at Pickerington North.
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
SWIMMING & DIVING
*Finishes: Boys -- Fourth in MSL, fourth at sectional, seventh at district, 29th at state; Girls -- Fifth in MSL, second at sectional, 17th at district
*Seniors lost: Boys -- David Jacques, Eric Jacques and Spencer Povoski; Girls -- None
*Key returnees: Boys -- Evan Albers, Taso Callanan, Andrew Davis, R.J. Maryala, Will Miller and Heath Thomas; Girls -- Serene Abdelbaki, Sarah Anderson, Paige Bennett, Camille Simpson, Soleil Tibbets-Barnes and Taylor Vargo