Blake Fry of the Canal Winchester High School boys swimming and diving team finished the 100-yard breaststroke in the Division I district meet Feb. 18 at Ohio State, then was relegated to scoreboard watching.

The freshman had dropped 3.78 seconds from his sectional time to finish in 59.02, but had no idea whether that would be good enough to qualify for state -- especially because he was in the second heat and all of the better seeds were in the third and final heat.

As it turned out, his times had been good enough all day.

Fry finished fourth in the 100 breast and sixth in the 500 freestyle (4:48.4) to earn at-large berths to state Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. He competed from the second heat in both races.

"I was standing right behind (Pickerington North's) Jason Mathews' lane and watching everybody," Fry said of the 100 breast race. "I took in everything that was happening. I was feeling good. I was happy."

Mathews, last year's state runner-up, won in a meet-record 55.04.

The top two placers in each swimming event at district advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.

At state, the swimming preliminaries are Feb. 24 and the finals are Feb. 25.

"I told him at the beginning of the year he was going to state," coach Julie Pastor said. "He was nervous coming into today, but I told him not to be nervous and just go out there and swim like you know how. And he did."

Fry's 500 free time was a 13.7-second drop from sectional. He is seeded 23rd at state in the 100 breast and 24th in the 500 free. There are 24 competitors in each race.

"My (Lancaster Youth Swim Team) coach, Heather (Parkman), has been working me really hard during practices for a while. Everything has been building up to this," Fry said. "I felt good when I tapered. I rested for sectionals and tapered for this."

Fry's performances earned Canal Winchester 28 points and a 19th-place finish behind champion St. Charles (302) as 30 teams scored.

He also helped improve the entire team's mood on what was a tough day.

Grace Riddle of the girls team fell just short of returning to state in the 100 backstroke for the second consecutive season. She was seventh in 59 seconds, .73 of a second off the final qualifying time to Canton.

The girls 200 free relay of Miaya Green, Hannah Olger, Kassidy Pastor and Riddle also came up shy of its third consecutive state berth as it finished 12th in 1:40.86, 1.15 seconds shy of the final state spot. The same foursome was 11th in the 400 free relay (3:44.57).

"I was disappointed, but I'm not going to dwell on it," said Riddle, a sophomore who also finished 13th in the 200 free in 1:56.84, .72 of a second from state. "I just have to try harder, train harder and fix whatever needs to be fixed. There were a lot of freshmen this year who were very fast. I was surprised by that."

Olentangy Liberty freshman Kate Saczawa won the 100 back in 56.16, a drop of 3.61 seconds from sectional. Riddle, who was seeded third in the event, pulled a similar upset last year when she won that race in 56.77.

Canal Winchester scored 38 points at district and finished 17th behind champion Upper Arlington (433.5) as 25 teams scored. The Golden Bears won their 18th consecutive district championship.

Girls basketball team
wins tourney opener

Arianna Coleman's career-high 19 points carried the girls basketball team to a 60-45 home win over 26th-seeded Centennial in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18.

Camryn Woodrow added 12 points for the 22nd-seeded Indians, who earned their first postseason win since Feb. 17, 2010, in what the coaching staff thought was the team's first tournament home game.

Video •Canal Winchester girls basketball player Braelyn Buchler makes a steal and assist on a basket by Mya Canelo during a 60-45 win over Centennial in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18.

Canal Winchester improved to 12-10 and advanced to play at 15th-seeded Grove City in the second round Feb. 21.

The second-round winner will play third-seeded Pickerington Central or 43rd-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal Wednesday, March 1, at a neutral site to be determined. The Indians did not play either team during the regular season.

The district final is March 4.

Boys basketball team
to visit Wildcats

After a regular season in which it tripled its win total from a year ago, the shorthanded boys basketball team will visit 14th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the first round of the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 25.

The 25th-seeded Indians are 12-10 overall and finished 4-6 in the OCC-Capital Division after an 85-45 loss to Newark on Feb. 17. Brady Snyder had 12 points and Cameron Metzler scored 10 for Canal Winchester, which lost center Matt Jones to what the coaching staff believed was a broken right ankle in the first quarter.

Jones had an air cast on his right leg and gave a thumbs-up to the Jimmy Allen Gymnasium crowd as he was taken to an area hospital.

Newark blew the game open by outscoring the Indians 35-8 in the second quarter.

The Indians did not play Davidson during the regular season. The winner plays host to 27th-seeded Central Crossing in a second-round game March 3.

Wrestlers prepping
for sectional

Although wrestling coach Jordan Cramer originally wanted his team to compete in the Division I sectional at Newark on Saturday, Feb. 25, he was not entirely unhappy when the Indians ended up at the Marysville sectional instead.

Cramer figures that either way, heavyweight Austin Wolfe, will be tested. Wolfe, whom Cramer expects to reach state, might end up seeing returning state-qualifier Ben Frye of Dublin Coffman, whereas at Newark, Wolfe could have met Zanesville's R.J. Harris.

"I am still happy with our draw," Cramer said. "Austin still gets to see Ben Frye. I wanted to choose one of the two (Marysville or Newark). We want to see what Austin is made of, and all of the other weight classes have one or two guys in them that are good. Chance (Brown) will see (Coffman's) Dominick Demas at 145 (pounds). It's a top-heavy sectional, but every team has a hole somewhere in their lineup that maybe can open the door for one of our guys."

Top teams at Marysville include second-seeded Coffman, the host and third-seeded Monarchs and sixth-seeded Delaware. The Indians, who went 1-4 in the OCC-Capital, are seeded 38th of 45 teams in the district.

At sectional, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 3 and 4 at Hilliard Darby.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave