Much went according to plan for the Watterson High School swimming and diving program in the district meet last weekend.

The boys (Division II) and girls (Division I) teams both have four athletes competing in the state meet this week at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

The Division II preliminaries are Thursday, Feb. 23, followed by the finals Friday, Feb. 24, and the Division I preliminaries are Friday, Feb. 24, followed by the finals Saturday, Feb. 25.

"It's very exciting," coach Megan Teeters said.

On Feb. 17 in the Division II district meet at Ohio State, the boys team totaled 180.5 points to place third behind Columbus Academy (353.5) and Dover (278.5) as 39 teams scored.

The next day in the Division I meet, the girls finished fifth (130.5) behind champion Upper Arlington (433.5) as 25 teams scored.

Leading the boys team was junior Thomas Clark, who won the 100-yard butterfly (51.62 seconds) and took second in the 200 individual medley (1:56.39) and is seeded eighth and ninth, respectively, at state.

Also advancing in two individual events was junior Perry Finnegan, who placed second in the 100 freestyle (47.85) and third in the 50 free (21.68) and is seeded 12th and 13th, respectively, at state. The other individual qualifier for the boys is junior David Coss, who placed fifth in the 50 free (22.03) and is seeded 22nd.

Coss, Clark and Finnegan will be joined at state by freshman Michael Vondran on both the 200 free relay, which won the district championship (1:28.05) and is seeded fourth, and the 400 free relay, which placed second (3:17.81) and is seeded 11th.

"It was a great team effort all the way around," said Finnegan, who set program records in the 50 free and 100 free.

Clark broke the program mark in the 200 IM.

"We were trying to break all of our records," Clark said. "We did really well. We want to try to get on the podium in everything (at state)."

The highest seed at state for the girls team is freshman Mia Brown, who placed fifth in the 50 free (23.95) and is seeded 11th. She also finished third in the 100 fly (57.1) and is seeded 21st.

Sophomore Elizabeth Intihar also qualified for state in an individual event. She placed fourth in the 500 free (5:02.43) and is seeded 15th.

"I dropped time in both of my events, so I was happy about that," said Intihar, who added an eighth-place finish in the 200 free (1:54.02).

Intihar was one of three swimmers from the Central District in the 200 free to finish with a faster time than the final two automatic state qualifiers, both of whom came from the Northeast District.

The 400 free relay of Intihar, Brown and juniors Cecilia Moore and Julia St. John placed fourth (3:36.33) and is seeded 19th.

Brown won a swim-off in 23.91 in the 50 free against Olentangy Liberty freshman Kate Saczawa (24.37) to give her a fifth-place finish.

Dempsey named
girls soccer coach

Scott Dempsey planned to meet with the players in the girls soccer program and their families this week after it was announced Feb. 17 that he had been named coach.

Dempsey coached Hartley to a 56-34-22 mark the last six seasons before stepping down Dec. 16. He was recommended to be Thomas Worthington's coach Jan. 9 but withdrew his name from consideration Jan. 13.

"I'm humbled and honored to have the opportunity to work with the Bishop Watterson program and to follow in the footsteps of so many other successful coaches who have built the traditions and developed the expectations of excellence there," Dempsey said. "Watterson girls soccer has a long history of success dating back to the 1998 state semifinal team and continuing through to the current run of championships in the CCL and appearances in the district finals."

Dempsey, who teaches in Hilliard City Schools, has a career record of 335-112-58 over 34 seasons. During a tenure at Bexley from 1998-2010, his teams won 10 league titles, 11 district championships and eight regional titles. Bexley lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 2-1 in the 2009 state final but later was awarded the title after it was ruled that Hathaway Brown had used an ineligible player.

Dempsey replaces Alyx Portier, who led the Eagles to a 10-5-5 record with a CCL title and a Division I district runner-up finish last fall. Under Portier, Watterson went 87-41-22 overall, including 31-1-1 in the CCL with seven league titles in eight seasons.

The Eagles have won 20 consecutive league games.

Also regarding fall sports, Max Miller recently stepped down after four seasons as girls volleyball coach. The Eagles went 54-53 and were a Division I district runner-up in 2015 under Miller.

Girls basketball team
begins postseason

The girls basketball team opened the Division I district tournament Feb. 21 at home against ninth-seeded Northland in a second-round game.

The fifth-seeded Eagles closed the regular season Feb. 14 by beating Westerville South 56-49 and were 19-3 before facing the Vikings.

The second-round winner plays seventh-seeded Westerville North, 38th-seeded Walnut Ridge or 40th-seeded Teays Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in a district semifinal at a site to be announced.

The district final is March 4 at Ohio Dominican University.

Watterson had won two games in a row before playing Northland after losing to Westerville North 47-33 on Feb. 4.

Against Westerville South, Giavanna Paradiso had 17 points, Paige Woodford scored 13 and Lauren Sawyer added 12.

Boys basketball team
set to face Bexley

The 12th-seeded boys basketball team will open the Division II district tournament Monday, Feb. 27, at home against 16th-seeded Bexley in a first-round game.

The winner plays at ninth-seeded Jonathan Alder in a second-round game March 4.

The Eagles were 7-14 before playing Hilliard Bradley in their regular-season finale Feb. 20. On Feb. 14, Watterson lost to Hilliard Davidson 30-24 as Nick Janning scored 12 points.

Bowlers prep for
sectional tourney

The boys and girls bowling teams will begin their respective postseasons this weekend.

In Division I sectionals at Sawmill Lanes, the girls team will compete on Friday, Feb. 24, and the boys will compete Saturday, Feb. 25.

The top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on qualifying teams at both sectionals advance to the district tournament March 3 at Sawmill Lanes.

Season ends for
hockey team

The 14th-seeded hockey team lost to 12th-seeded Cincinnati Elder 5-4 in overtime in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 17 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.

The Eagles finished 13-20-1 overall, which is a significant step up from a year ago when they won just two games.

Watterson also moved up a spot in the CHC-Blue Division with a third-place finish (4-11-0-1) behind Olentangy (7-5-2-2) and Cincinnati Moeller (6-7-0-3) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (2-11-0-3) under new coach Jay Graham.

The Eagles also lost in overtime in the first round of the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament Feb. 10 as the 13th seed, falling to 12th-seeded Moeller 4-3.

"Probably our biggest growing pain this year was learning how to win," said Graham, who formerly coached Upper Arlington and picked up his 350th career victory Jan. 29 in a 6-5 overtime win over Thomas Worthington. "That's something we've been learning through the course of the season. We weren't capitalizing on the (scoring) chances we had (against Elder). That's been one of our Achilles' heels."

Watterson is losing four seniors in defenseman Thomas Abrams and forwards Brandon Arens and Jake Shultz.

Junior forward Nick Kuraly and sophomore forward Adam Fallon both scored more than 30 goals and freshman goaltender Max Graham, the coach's son, finished with seven wins.

Others eligible to return include juniors Ian Callahan (defenseman), Jack Geswein (forward), Kyle Naderhoff (defenseman) and Keiler Rodil (forward) and sophomores Jack Kish (defenseman), Danny Kraft (defenseman) and Ryan Roark (goalie).

"As a coaching staff, we're extremely proud of this team," coach Graham said. "Next year holds a very bright future."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek