The Division I district diving championships last Saturday in Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion resembled Whetstone High School senior Wade Westbrook's regular season.

The Division I district diving championships last Saturday in Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion resembled Whetstone High School senior Wade Westbrook's regular season.

There was a slow start and some rough spots at times, but the end result was what counted.

After advancing to state for the first time a year ago, Westbrook finished with 341.95 points to earn the fifth and final state-qualifying berth among 24 competitors.

He competed at state last Wednesday in Canton's C.T. Branin Natatorium looking to top his 20th-place state finish (216.9) of last season.

"He was not diving well at the beginning of the year, but the last two or three weeks he started coming on," coach John DeRing said. "We were happy. I knew Wade would be in the top eight or nine pretty easily, and he ended up (qualifying for state) by five points."

After four dives last Saturday, Westbrook was in 14th place. He moved up to seventh by his seventh dive before eventually moving into the top five.

Westbrook edged Hilliard Davidson's Connor Richards (336.6) for the final berth, finishing behind champion Jacob Kasper (443.75) of Dublin Jerome.

"My first couple dives I didn't go in with the same intensity that I needed to, and I got more focused on my last couple," Westbrook said. "They weren't harder dives, but I just hit them well. It was really nice, especially since my coach and team were kind of expecting me to make (state)."

Also competing at district for the boys were the 200-meter medley relay of Kevin Blann, Karl Fredal, Nick Nottage and Pete Pajor (19th, 1:54.23), the 200 freestyle relay of Blann, Ivan Francis, Fredal and Pajor (20th, 1:39.39) and the 400 free relay of Blann, Alan Dill, Fredal and Nottage (20th, 3:42.46).

Fredal's split in the 400 free relay of 51.29 seconds was one of Whetstone's fastest times in several years, according to DeRing. He broke his personal-best by 1.3 seconds in his split of the 400 free relay and set a new personal-best split in the 200 free relay by 0.72 seconds as he finished in 23.12 seconds. Blann went 56.47 in his split of the 400 relay, setting a personal-best by 2.24 seconds.

For the girls team, the 200 medley relay of Audrey Bollas, Olivia Degitz, Courtney Foster and Jennifer Merker (24th, 2:10.5), the 200 free relay of Bollas, Alana Bruzzese, Degitz and Rachel Renick (18th, 1:51.18) and the 400 free relay of Bollas, Bruzzese, Foster and Renick (23rd, 4:14.13) also competed.

Bollas shaved 4.86 seconds off her personal-best in her split of the 400 relay as she swam 1:03.5.

•Senior Ben Leach followed his City League wrestling tournament MVP honor Feb. 13 at Columbus South by finishing second at 135 pounds at a Division I sectional last Saturday at Westland.

He will be joined at the district tournament Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Darby by senior Spencer Tuttle, who finished fourth at 119.

In opening district matches, Leach (32-5 record) will face Briggs' Riky Davis (35-9) and Tuttle (29-4) wrestles Pickerington Central's Josh Hunter (29-4).

Both Leach and Tuttle were district alternates last year.

Five of the top 10 seeded teams, including four of the top seven, also competed at Westland.

"All I've got to say is finally," Leach said. "This is what I've been working for. Since I was a freshman, this has always been the goal. It's fulfilling. (Being at the Westland sectional) makes going (to district) a little bit more rewarding. It makes me feel pretty good about next week and my chances because I got to see a lot of good wrestling."

Finishing with 1-2 records at the sectional were Marcus Moore (125) and Skylar Farley (152).

•The girls basketball team lost to second-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley 75-17 on Feb. 17 in the first round of the Division I tournament at Westerville Central to finish 2-18 overall.

The Braves closed the regular season with a 44-37 loss on Feb. 8 to Columbus East and finished seventh at 2-12 in the City League-North Division behind co-champions Brookhaven and Northland (13-1).

The only seniors were Kasey Althouse and Madison Matthews. Althouse averaged 6.3 points and scored in double figures three times. Matthews scored two points on the season.

Junior Haley Buskirk led in scoring average at 8.8 and sophomore Symiah Campbell (5.6) and junior Katie Fuller (5.4) also were among the top scorers. Other contributors eligible to return include juniors Shelby Schaefer and Brittaney Wilson, and sophomores Chivia and Brittany Bishop.

"There's no doubt the kids got better as the season went on, and their skills got better," said coach Doug Kohler, who completed his second season. "As for the future, we've got a lot of kids coming back. The biggest thing is that they have to put forth the effort during the offseason."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Whetstone boys basketball, boys and girls swimming and diving and wrestling teams:


*Feb. 11 -- Lost to Mifflin 84-71

*Feb. 12 -- Lost to Centennial 66-49

Feb. 18 -- Lost to Briggs 80-75 in double overtime

Last Tuesday -- Played Pickerington Central in first round of the Division I tournament. The winner plays at 6:!5 p.m. Friday at Jonathan Alder against fourth-seeded Upper Arlington. The victor advances to a district semifinal at 10 a.m. on March 6 in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Of note: The Braves were 4-16 overall before last Tuesday and finished tied for last with Linden in the City League-North Division at 1-13 behind champion Northland (14-0).


Feb. 12-13 -- Boys: Did not score at Division I sectional meet at Upper Arlington. All three of the Braves' relays advanced to district; Girls: Did not score at Division I sectional at UA. All three of the Braves' relays advanced to district.

Last Friday-Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished last (14) in 21-team Division I district meet at Ohio State behind champion St. Charles (399.5). Wade Westbrook finished fifth (341.95) in diving to advance to state; Girls: Did not score at district meet behind champion Upper Arlington (472)

Last Wednesday -- Westbrook competed in state diving championships in Canton's C.T. Branin Natatorium


Feb. 12-13 -- Finished fifth (126) in 14-team City League tournament at Columbus South behind champion Marion-Franklin (290.5). Ben Leach (135) was first and earned Most Valuable Wrestler honors for the tournament and Spencer Tuttle (119) was second.

Last Saturday -- Finished 11th (38.5) in 13-team Division I sectional tournament at Westland behind champion Pickerington North (224.5). Ben Leach (135) took second and Spencer Tuttle (119) was fourth.

Friday-Saturday -- Leach and Tuttle compete in district tournament at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each weight advance to the state tournament March 4-6 in Ohio State's Schottenstein Center.

*City League-North game