Even as she keeps one eye on the next step of her career, Hannah Olger of the Canal Winchester High School girls swimming and diving team hasn't shaken off the sting of a season that still feels incomplete.
Last year, Olger was part of the Indians' 200-yard freestyle relay that fell short of its third consecutive Division I state berth. Miaya Green, Olger and Kassidy Pastor were on the relay each year, with Grace Riddle joining in 2016 as a freshman.
This year, junior Leah Bates has joined Olger and Pastor, both of whom are seniors, and Riddle, now a junior, on the relay.
"I think we have some really good swimmers this year. We've rotated some girls in and I hope we've found the right mix," said Olger, who committed to Youngstown State University in December. "Everything is going well. I've really picked up my training this year, and (the) high school (season) is off to a good start. ...
"(After) what happened last year, we're just working that much harder this year. We have a long way to go, but I'm excited."
Olger, who also swims for Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio, is among the Indians' top freestylers. Her personal-best times are 24.23 seconds in the 50 free and 53.41 in the 100 free, both of which were achieved in club meets.
According to Canal Winchester coach Julie Pastor, Olger's fastest time in the 50 free with the Indians is 24.84.
"She's fast and she has room to get faster," coach Pastor said of Olger. "Hannah's a hard worker. I know she will keep improving, and for our relays to get to state, they'll definitely have to drop a little more time."
Olger, a sprinter by nature, settled on swimming in elementary school. She started with GCSTO at age 10, and also ran track and field in middle school and as a junior before again concentrating exclusively on swimming.
"I just decided to stick with swimming because I'm good at it," Olger said. "I'm definitely not a distance swimmer. I'm a sprinter. That's just how my body is built. I'm best at the freestyle and breaststroke. I've tried to work on my 200 (individual medley), but I'm not good at that at all."
In the Northeast Classic on Jan. 13 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, Olger helped the 200 free relay (1:42.5) and 400 free relay (3:45.96) to 10th-place finishes and finished 18th in the 50 free (25.23).
Blake Fry of the boys team placed second in the 500 free (4:49.17) and fifth in the 100 breast (1:00).
The girls team scored 37 points to finish 15th behind champion North Canton Hoover (259) as 36 teams scored, and the boys team finished 19th (36) behind champion Brecks-ville-Broadview Heights (286) as 31 teams scored.
Swimmers had to meet time standards to qualify for the Northeast Classic. Branin Natatorium is the site of the state meet, which will take place Feb. 21-24.
Olger, Pastor and Riddle also have hopes of making a postseason run in the 400 free relay. They finished 11th in the event at last year's district meet at Ohio State along with Green, a 2017 graduate whose spot usually has been filled by junior Karenna Reed.
Olger, who chose YSU over Bethany College and Bowling Green, recently incorporated boxing and yoga into her training regimen.
"My coaches have told me yoga is a lot like swimming. I think it's helped me with my stroke technique," she said. "Boxing gets you in better shape overall. I've seen more improvements because of both things."
Brown, Gallagher leading wrestlers
Wrestling coach Harrison Rosch was thrilled that his team earned six top-six finishes in the Kevin Cleveland Invitational on Jan. 6 at Dublin Scioto, partly because the Indians had only nine competitors at the tournament, five short of a full lineup.
"Anytime you can place that many guys relative to how many you have, that's a good day," Rosch said. "We lost a few close semifinals, but while they exceeded my expectations a little bit, it was also a little disappointing as well.
"It's been a good season so far. The more they wrestle, the more they are listening to what we as coaches are teaching. They're more coachable. We're wrestling hard and working hard in the practice room. Technique is probably our biggest improvement. We work more with fundamentals than technique, but the more they wrestle, the more they buy in."
Michael Gallagher placed third at 132 pounds in the Kevin Cleveland Invitational. Chance Brown (145) and Brack Byorth (195) both placed fourth, Matt Kamer (182) and Jared Mattox (152) both finished fifth and Cian Rose (106) was sixth.
According to Rosch, that was the first time Byorth had placed in a tournament.
Brown has Canal Winchester's best record at 16-6, followed by Gallagher (15-7).
Brown was runner-up at 145 in the Marion County Invitational held Jan. 12 and 13 at Marion Harding to lead the Indians, who finished 11th (115) of 17 teams, behind champion Milan Edison (308).
Canal Winchester began OCC-Capital Division competition Jan. 11 with a 37-32 home win over defending league champion Groveport.
"We sort of (scheduled that way) intentionally because going three days in a row is a lot like how it will go at the big tournaments, and it's our goal to wrestle with a lot on the line," Rosch said. "If you get to state, you'll potentially be wrestling Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's good to prepare your body and mind for something like that. If you aren't prepared, you don't know how you will respond."
Volleyball coach leaves for Berlin
Dana Stearns is leaving after three seasons as girls volleyball coach to take the same position at Olentangy Berlin, pending school board approval.
Stearns went 39-30 the past three seasons with the Indians, including 15-8 overall and 8-2 in the OCC-Capital last fall. It was the team's best league record since going 11-3 in the MSL-Buckeye in 2011.
Berlin is opening this fall.
The 1997 Bexley graduate played women's volleyball at Ohio State and played on the women's basketball team as a senior. She also was an assistant girls volleyball coach at Chicago Whitney M. Young Magnet (2008-10) and Park Ridge (Illinois) Maine East (2012-14).
"Dana is a perfect fit for us," Berlin athletics director John Betz said. "She has great experience and she's a guidance counselor, which says she's in it for the kids and understands their needs."
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 19 -- At Big Walnut. The Indians lost to the Golden Eagles 56-50 on Dec. 8.
*Jan. 20 -- At Newark in makeup from Jan. 12
Jan. 23 -- At Westland
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Big Walnut. The Indians defeated the Golden Eagles 49-47 (OT) on Dec. 8.
Jan. 20 -- Columbus South in Lady Nubian Classic at Africentric
Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Westland
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Newark in makeup from Jan. 12. The Indians lost to the Wildcats 54-35 on Dec. 4.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- Westerville South at Westerville Community Center
Jan. 20 -- Reynoldsburg at St. Charles
*Jan. 18 -- At Big Walnut
Jan. 20 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North