Delaware Hayes High School junior Jessica Ward barely missed qualifying for the Division I state swimming and diving meet the previous two seasons.

Delaware Hayes High School junior Jessica Ward barely missed qualifying for the Division I state swimming and diving meet the previous two seasons.

This year, she made it.

On Feb. 25-26, Ward was scheduled to compete at state in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 medley relay after qualifying from district on Feb. 19 at Ohio State.

"I was extremely happy with all four of my swims (at district), and it feels great to finally get to state," Ward said. "I was so close the past two years, so to finally get past that and actually make it, it's a tremendous feeling."

The top three finishers in each swimming event at district, as well as the top four divers, automatically advanced to state at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Additionally, 11 at-large berths were awarded in each swimming event based on district times statewide.

Last season at district, Ward was 11th in the 100 backstroke and her time was the 24th-best in the state, but she was not among the 24 state participants because the Northeast District had an automatic qualifier with a slower time. As a freshman, Ward missed a state berth in the 100 fly by 0.64 of a second.

This year at district, Ward competed in four events that set school records. In the 100 fly, she finished sixth in 58.35 seconds, lowering the mark of 1:00.14 that she set at district in 2009.

Ward swam leadoff and was followed by freshman Brittany Puthoff, sophomore Lindsey Norris and freshman Regan DeWitt in the 200 medley relay that finished fourth in 1:48.93. The foursome beat the school mark of 1:51.93 that they set at sectional on Feb. 12 at Thomas Worthington.

"We knew we had a good chance of going to state in the medley relay, but it was still exciting," Ward said. "The best part was when we saw our time. That got us psyched up for the rest of the meet. When you do great in the first event of the day, that sets the tone.

"Being the first out of the water (in the relay), I get to see the rest of the event. It's really amazing to watch them do their thing. Seeing Brittany compete in the breaststroke is really a fun thing to watch. It's so neat that all four of us dropped times. We all need each other to succeed."

Puthoff earned the Pacers' only automatic state berth by finishing third in the 100 breast in a school-record 1:05.25. She set the previous mark of 1:07.14 at sectional.

"I really can't explain how it feels to go to state in an individual event and relay," Puthoff said. "It's just crazy. To post that time in the medley relay, we really celebrated that and I think we fed off that the entire day."

It was the first time the Pacers qualified two girls to state in individual events. The last individual state qualifier was Adie Curtner, who finished 17th in the 100 breast in 1995. That also was the last season Delaware's girls competed in the 200 medley relay at state.

The Pacers set two other program records at district but failed to advance in those events. Ward was 11th in 59.88 in the 100 back to better her time of 1:00.14 set at district in 2010. The 400 free relay of Ward, Abby Kremer, DeWitt and Puthoff was seventh in 3:41.76 to break the mark of 3:45.53 set by Kate Prengaman, Jenn O'Neill, Lexi Noice and Catey Dominguez in 2003.

"Coach (Bill Rietz) came to us before the 400 freestyle relay and told us that we needed to cut three seconds off to set a school record, and that if we could do that, it would be the first time we have ever set five school records in one meet," Ward said. "We dropped our best time by six seconds and beat the old record by over three seconds. We didn't make it to state, but it was such an accomplishment for the relay and for the team. It was just a wonderful day."

The Pacers finished ninth (100 points) in the team standings as Upper Arlington (505) won and 23 teams scored.

•The wrestling team qualified three to the Division I district tournament and finished seventh (70.5) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (239.5) in the 13-team sectional at Marysville on Feb. 19.

Junior Seth McCurdy was third at 119 pounds to qualify for his third district. He was joined at district, which was held Feb. 25-26 at Hilliard Darby, by seniors Mat Giannakos and Tyler Daugherty.

The top four in each weight class advanced to district. The top four in each weight class at district will compete in the three-day state tournament, which begins Thursday, March 3, at Ohio State.

McCurdy went 3-1 at sectional, beating Mount Vernon's Dakota Riley 5-3 in the third-place match to improve to 35-9. His loss was to Darby's Cameron Longwell, who finished second.

Giannakos finished fourth at 125, going 3-2 to improve to 30-16. He won his first two matches before losing 5-3 to eventual champion Eric Hoffman of Davidson. He beat Upper Arlington's Joe Mascari 3-1 in overtime to qualify for district then was pinned in 4:14 by Mount Vernon's Nick Yashnyk in the third-place match.

"I'm excited to get to wrestle at district, but truthfully, I'm upset to finish fourth," Giannakos said. "I lost to the sectional champion by two points and I was getting ready to turn him late in the third period, but I ran out of time. In the third-place match, I had just won an emotional match in overtime to qualify for district and I let a little fatigue set in in the third period and I got thrown. It was embarrassing."

Daugherty was fourth at 215 and entered district with a 28-17 record after going 3-2 at sectional.

He won his first two matches with pins before losing 9-0 to eventual champion Ryan Sanders of St. Charles. He then pinned Briggs' Zachary Morro in 3:47 before losing the third-place match to Davidson's Marshall Knoch 4-1.

Delaware's only other placer was junior heavyweight Zach Sumner, who finished sixth.

•After competing in the district bowling tournament as an individual last season, junior Ashleigh Keller had some company this season.

The Pacers girls qualified as a team for the district that was held Feb. 26 at HP Lanes in Columbus. The boys team did not advance, but Ray Getz qualified as an individual.

At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The girls tournament is Friday, March 4, and the boys tournament is Saturday, March 5.

In the sectional at Eastland on Feb. 18, Keller rolled the seventh-highest series (542) to lead the girls to a fourth-place finish (3,194) in the 21-team field. The top six teams and top six individuals not on a qualifying team advanced.

"Last year it was a little uncomfortable at district as an individual," Keller said. "It's a great feeling to qualify as a team because now we can cheer each other on and be there for support and to help each other make adjustments. A lot of us scored above our averages, and that's a great feeling."

Katie Fleming (519) and Tayler Kunce (454) followed for the Pacers. Westerville South (3,531) won the girls team title.

Getz earned the fifth individual district berth by posting a 584, but the boys team finished 12th (3,388) behind champion Hartley (4,231) in the 24-team field.


Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Hayes bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams, as well as the Delaware club hockey team:


Feb. 18 - Boys: Finished 12th (3,388) in Division I sectional at Eastland Lanes behind champion Hartley (4,231). Ray Getz (584) was the fifth of six individual district qualifiers. Also competing in three games for the Pacers were Josh Jones (518) and Alex Hohe (501). Girls: Finished fourth (3,194) in sectional behind champion Westerville South (3,531) as top six advanced to district. Ashleigh Keller (542) had the seventh-best score at the site. Also rolling three games were Katie Fleming (519) and Tayler Kunce (454). Feb. 26 - Girls team and Getz competed in district tournament at HP Lanes. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament March 4 (girls) and March 5 (boys) at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.


Feb. 26 - Competed in district tournament at Worthington Kilbourne. Top three teams advanced to state team tournament March 4 at Hilliard Bradley. Top eight individuals in each event, including the all-around, advanced to state March 5 at Bradley.


Feb. 19 - Boys: Finished 19th (24) in Division I district meet at Ohio State, won by Upper Arlington (432.5). None of the Pacers qualified for state. Eric Berry was 15th (265.30 points) in diving. Cameron Hackett was 23rd (1:00.34) in 100 back and 24th (57.66) in 100 fly. Also in 100 back, Thomas Lenhart was 24th (1:00.67) and Joe Kinney was 30th (1:03.63). Nate Planisek was 30th (2:02.92) in 200 free. The 200 free relay of Planisek, Kinney, Anthony Sanfillipo and Joel Simpson was 12th (1:34.33), the 200 medley relay of Kinney, Planisek, Hackett and Simpson was 14th (1:47.95) and the 400 free relay of Hackett, Sanfillipo, Simpson and Planisek was 15th (3:28.13). Girls: Finished ninth (100) at sectional behind champion Upper Arlington (505). Advancing to state were Brittany Puthoff in 100 breast (third, 1:05.25), Jessica Ward in 100 fly (sixth, 58.35) and Ward, Puthoff, Lindsey Norris and Regan DeWitt in 200 medley relay (fourth, 1:48.93). Also competing were Lindsey Norris (12th, 1:00.56) and Abby Kremer (23rd, 1:03.10) in 100 fly, Ward (11th, 59.88), DeWitt (25th, 1:02.78) and Norris (29th, 1:05.42) in 100 back and DeWitt (15th, 2:19.27) and Abby Hoovler (19th, 2:22.67) in 200 IM. Kremer was 13th (2:02.02) in 200 free and Susan Thomson was 19th (25.85) in 50 free. The 400 free relay of Ward, Kremer, DeWitt and Puthoff was seventh (3:41.76) and 200 free relay of Puthoff, Hoovler, Kremer and Thomson was disqualified. Feb. 25-26 - Qualifiers competed in state at Branin Natatorium in Canton


Feb. 19 - Finished seventh (70.5) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (239.5) in 13-team Division I sectional at Marysville. District qualifiers were Tyler Daugherty (215, 3-2, fourth), Mat Giannakos (125, 3-2, fourth) and Seth McCurdy (119, 3-1, third). Also competing were Joel Calfe (160, 0-2), Toby Cook (135, 0-2), Wyatt Davis (112, 1-2), Shawn Johnson (189, 1-2), Andrew Nesselroad (130, 1-2), Andrew Sierawski (171, 2-2), Derek Sumner (145, 0-2) and Zack Sumner (heavyweight, 1-3). Feb. 25-26 - Qualifiers competed in district at Hilliard Darby. Top four in each weight class advanced to state March 3-5 at Ohio State.


Feb. 18 - Lost to Westerville 8-0 in Blue Jackets Cup

Of note: The Tribe finished 2-28 overall.