Rich Morris likes the direction the Westerville North High School swimming and diving program is heading in his third season as coach.
The Warriors return a state qualifier in junior Andrew Bernsdorf and gained two state placers in senior Jason Mathews and sophomore Janessa Mathews, who moved in from Pickerington North.
Jason Mathews, an Ohio State signee, won the 100-yard breaststroke (54.91 seconds) in last season's Division I state meet and was fifth in the 200 individual medley (1:51.67). His sister was third in the 100 breast (1:02.33) and 21st in the 200 IM (2:08.39).
Bernsdorf finished 10th in the 500 freestyle (4:37.42) and tied for 11th in the 200 IM (1:54.18).
"I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic," Morris said. "If a few of the kids continue to do what they have been doing, they will be rewarded for it.
"A lot of our kids trained in the offseason and it has been showing. They worked hard to get better and we're seeing the results."
Bernsdorf said he is prepared to work harder than ever before to improve on last season's performances.
"I have realized that a lot of people work harder than me in a way where their tempo is faster than mine or they have more kicks off the wall," he said. "So basically I (have to) fix that technique this year and work on what I noticed I did wrong last year."
The boys team has only 12 participants and the girls team has 25, including six swimmers with relay experience from last season's district meet.
Senior Cheyney Carr and sophomores Emma Bolen and Ariana Sanabria joined 2017 graduate Claire Wetta on the 17th-place 200 free relay (1:45.74), and Wetta, senior Tatiana Slesnick, junior Maggy Bolen and sophomore Christy Harper were on the 20th-place 200 medley relay (1:59.19). Carr, Emma Bolen, Slesnick and Wetta swam on the 22nd-place 400 free relay (3:54.83), and Maggy Bolen also was 24th in the 100 breast (1:10.97).
"We have a lot more people, especially freshmen, who are very good," Harper said. "We have a mix between experienced and inexperienced swimmers, which is great, and they are learning a lot and getting a lot faster. They're working hard to drop a lot of time."
The boys team returns two other district qualifiers. Junior Chris Lake was on the 16th-place 200 medley relay (1:45.09) with Bernsdorf and 2017 graduates Raymond Diep and Nick DeVore, and junior Matthew Benton was on the 25th-place 200 free relay (1:40.21) with DeVore and 2017 graduates Josh Clark and Kile Weisgerber.
"I think we compete very well as a team," Morris said. "They generally like each other and like competing for each other. We have tried to encourage a group-first mentality and that the individual comes second."
Key freshmen include Allie Thompson for the girls and Taylor Sanford and Hayden Yeager for the boys.
In the season-opening Worthington/Westerville Invitational on Dec. 1 at Thomas Worthington, Bernsdorf won the 200 free (1:44.57) and 100 butterfly (52.85) and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay (1:56.64) with Yeager, Lake and Sanford. Yeager also won the 200 IM (2:10.38) and 100 breast (1:08.08).
Thompson also qualified in the 50 free (fourth, 26.32) for the Ned Reeb Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Ohio State. Joining her from the girls team will be Maggy Bolen, Harper, Janessa Mathews and Slesnick, while Bernsdorf and Jason Mathews will represent the boys.
"Our No. 1 goal is to have 200 (personal records) and we had 35 PRs in our first meet alone, so I think we should surpass that goal," Morris said.
Balanced boys squad wins first three games
A balanced attack helped the boys basketball team win its first three games.
Senior guard Jeremiah Keene is averaging a team-best 12.0 points, followed by senior guard Julian Malone (11.7), junior forward Philip Alston (10.3) and senior forward Noah Voorhies (9.3).
North has outscored its opponents by an average of 61.3-50.3.
The Warriors won their OCC-Buckeye Division opener Dec. 8, defeating Westerville Central 51-48 as Voorhies had 15 points and Malone scored 12.
Worm leading girls basketball squad
Senior guard/forward Beth-any Worm entered the week averaging a team-best 13.4 points for the girls basketball team, which was 3-2 overall before playing Gahanna on Dec. 12.
Worm was followed by freshman guard Imari Martin (7.8) and sophomore point guard Alyssa Wright (6.8).
The Warriors won their OCC-Buckeye opener Dec. 5, defeating Olentangy Orange 51-40.
Worm led with 15 points, Martin had 13 and Wright scored 12.
Worm scored 15 points in a 43-34 league loss to Central on Dec. 8.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 -- Worthington/Westerville Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Dec. 9 -- Columbus Academy Relays
Dec. 15 -- Dublin Jerome at Westerville Community Center
Dec. 16 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 21 -- New Albany tri-meet
Dec. 23 -- Westerville Central and Westerville South at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 6 -- Gahanna at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 13 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 20 -- Pickerington North at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 26 -- OCC diving meet at New Albany
Jan. 27 -- OCC-Buckeye swimming meet at Thomas Worthington
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 15 -- At Olentangy
Dec. 19 -- Home vs. New Albany
*Dec. 15 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Dec. 19 -- At New Albany
*Dec. 15 -- Olentangy Orange at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 19 -- London at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
Dec. 15-16 -- Olentangy Liberty Classic