Leaving one school for another in the middle of the year was not the turbulent adjustment for McKayla Moffat that it might have been for someone else.
The New Albany High School sophomore attended school in the district until eighth grade, after which she went to Columbus School for Girls for a year and a half and won the Division II 100-yard freestyle state championship as a freshman.
But Moffat decided last fall she was ready to come back home, and the Eagles swimming and diving program is more than happy to have her.
Moffat tuned up for the postseason in style Jan. 28, winning the 100 free and helping the 200 medley and 400 free relays to first place in the OCC-Capital Division meet in the Eagles' home pool. Moffat won the 100 free in 53.68 seconds, and joined Mia Lachey, Lauren Lapsley and Emili Toppari on the 200 medley relay (1:55.19) and Jada Johnson, Abbie Linek and Jessica Zaper on the 400 free relay (3:38.87).
"It's great being with this team and it's great being in this swimming environment," Moffat said. "I am just now transitioning. This was the first big meet I've done with the team. I had to get used to the school even though I went to New Albany (schools) until eighth grade. I left because I wanted a change, and then I realized I wanted to come back. It was a transition to come back, but it's great to be back with my friends and be with this team."
Moffat also was fourth in the 200 free at state last year and was on the Unicorns' third-place 200 medley relay.
This is the second consecutive year that New Albany has added a state-caliber swimmer at midseason. Last year, Blake Broullire moved in from Florida after placing 15th or better in two events at that state meet in the fall, and she went on to help the Eagles' 400 free relay to ninth place and 200 free relay to 10th at state while placing 14th in the 200 free.
"McKayla is a great add to the team," coach Dave Wharton said. "She is a great addition from a competitive standpoint and she has mixed in well with the kids. There was no interruption or flow. I worry about the environment for that one athlete as well as the whole team when you add somebody at the middle of the season."
In the league meet, the girls team scored 519 points to easily defeat Canal Winchester (289), Big Walnut (130), Groveport (108) and Newark (97).
The boys team completed a sweep of the OCC-Capital for the second consecutive year, scoring 427 points to finish ahead of Big Walnut (285), Canal Winchester (156), Groveport (119) and Newark (37).
New Albany won 17 events in all, 11 on the girls side.
Other girls winners were Lexi Elkovitch in the 200 free (2:01.3), Lachey in the 200 individual medley (2:13.17), Linek in the 500 free (5:12.41), Kelly Shur in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.45), Toppari in the 100 butterfly (1:00.14), Nikki Watters in diving (447.6), Zaper in the 50 free (24.85) and the 200 free relay (1:41.95).
New Albany swept the top three places in the 100 breast and all four spots in diving.
Boys winners were Carson Barnes in the 500 free (4:52.17), Pearson Spychalski in the 100 backstroke (54.94) and 100 fly (53.58), Brennan Walsh in the 200 IM (2:12.13), the 200 free relay (1:33.02) and the 400 free relay (3:24.05).
"Our goal was for them to be racing," Wharton said. "We are fine-tuning and getting ready for sectionals in two weeks, so this was a matter of focusing on details and gearing up. They are tired, and I want to see them get the details right when they are tired so they nail them when they are rested."
Boys bowlers set
The boys bowling team broke its record for best team score for the fourth time this season in a 2,243-1,881 win over Olentangy on Jan. 25 at Gahanna Lanes.
Three of the top four single-match scores in the Eagles' three-year history have come this year. The Eagles racked up 2,220 pins Jan. 13 in a 481-pin loss to Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace, and 2,200 in a 43-pin loss to Gahanna on Jan. 18 at Gahanna Lanes.
New Albany was 5-6 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-North before a Jan. 30 match against Hilliard Davidson, and 2-4 in the OCC-Buckeye before taking on Olentangy Orange on Feb. 1.
"I'm more than pleased," assistant coach Keith Kresina said. "I think we are in the best division (of the COHSBC), and we've been very competitive. We've lost a few matches I thought we should have won, and we've won a few matches I thought we should have lost. This is one of those sports where you have it on a particular day. If you have it, just roll with it."
Kenneth Kresina was averaging 189.7 per game before Jan. 30, ahead of Evan Hammond (176.8), Brendan Cohen (172.2), Grant Kresina (165.6) and Joshua Allen (163.8).
"A lot of it was practice, not just with the team, but starting (individually) in August," Kenneth Kresina said. "A lot of people say you can just pick up a ball and bowl, but you can't. You have to train year-round, even if it's only once a week at the alley during the summer. It really helped me individually."
The first-year girls team was 1-9 overall and in the COHSBC-North before Jan. 30, and 0-6 in the OCC-Buckeye before Feb. 1. Adriane Hammond's 164.9 average through Jan. 25 led the team.
The girls' only win entering the week came in their first match, 1,431-1,186 over Thomas Worthington on Dec. 20.
Davis closes in on
The boys basketball team split two games last week against state-ranked teams, upsetting third-ranked Pickerington Central 51-45 on Jan. 24 but falling to second-ranked Newark 59-41 on Jan. 27.
New Albany outscored Central 33-12 in the second half to upend the Tigers and give coach Sam Davis his 498th career win. The soonest Davis could reach his 500th victory is Saturday, Feb. 4, at Logan, after an OCC-Capital game at Big Walnut on Friday, Feb. 3.
Jordan Nash scored 15 of his game-high 19 points on 3-pointers against Central. The Eagles made nine 3-pointers in all.
Tommy McDonald's 11 points paced New Albany against Newark, a loss that dropped the Eagles to 7-9 overall and 3-3 in the league.
Wrestling team still
perfect in league
The wrestling team lost its only match in the Division I state team tournament, but the Eagles quickly moved past that and inched closer to the OCC-Capital championship.
New Albany is 3-0 in the league after a 47-22 win over Canal Winchester on Jan. 26. They previously defeated Franklin Heights (41-26 on Jan. 11) and Newark (53-21 on Jan. 19), and have matches remaining at Groveport on Feb. 9 and at home against Big Walnut on Feb. 16.
The Eagles were seeded sixth in Region 5-A in the state team tournament and lost at third-seeded Big Walnut 48-24 in a second-round match Jan. 25.
New Albany got wins from Peter Ackley, who beat Phillip Roberto 10-8 at 170 pounds; Billy Lee, who pinned Shawn Hubbard in 1:27 at 220; Justin Mormol, who edged Josh Halbakken 5-4 at 145; and Jack Wilson, who pinned Josh Parker in 2:51 at 182.