Columbus Academy swimmer Jack Campbell admits he still glances at a photo from last season's Division II state meet.
The photo shows the final stages of the boys 200-yard medley relay. The Vikings appeared to earn the program's first win at state, but the relay was disqualified for a premature start to the final stroke.
Photographs and television video taken of the event showed it was a questionable decision, which resulted in Gates Mills Hawken finishing first in 1 minute, 33.92 seconds.
"It motivates us and we can have a good laugh about it now, so I'm glad that we've been able to move past it," said Campbell, a junior. "We want to come back this year and see what we can do."
Campbell and his teammates begin their postseason push Saturday, Feb. 10, with a sectional meet at home.
Despite the disappointing result in the 200 medley relay, the Vikings went on to finish third overall at state with 146 points, behind Hawken (230) and Cincinnati Seven Hills (171).
Coach Craig Yakscoe and his team believe Hawken again will be the team to be beat, but the Vikings would like to at least place second.
"That's their goal," Yakscoe said. "Hawken is really solid numbers-wise. Even if our relay didn't get disqualified last year, we would have been in second, but by a substantial amount (behind Hawken). They're just strong (and) they have a lot of good kids."
A key member of Academy's relays is junior Jacob Eismann, who was the swimmer disqualified for the premature start. The Kentucky commit is looking forward to making up for the disappointing result.
"I take last year as a learning experience to not take anything for granted and just move on to the next one," he said. "It motivates the team to not let that happen this year and get as many points as we can."
Eismann set a program record in the 50 freestyle (20.86) in the first leg of the 200 free relay in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 16 at Ohio State.
Yakscoe also is optimistic about the girls team heading into the postseason.
"On paper, the boys are as strong as they were last year," he said. "The girls should be a little stronger on paper and they're really starting to come together as a group, and I'm liking the direction they're going."
Divers Esther Lawrence and Jordan Skilken both are looking for return trips to state, where Lawrence finished second (455.1) and Skilken was fourth (428.1) last season. They'll compete at district Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Dublin Recreation Center.
Lawrence set an MSL meet record Jan. 25 by scoring 572.8 points.
On Jan. 27, Samantha Kass set an MSL meet record of 25.11 in the 50 free.
"It's a little stressful time of the year because of all the competing and it's back to back, week after week, it's a series of three meets," said senior Jane Li, who will attend Harvard. "I'm sure we can make it all the way to state. It's lot of fun competing at that level."
Boys basketball team seeks league title
The boys basketball team slipped into a three-way tie for first place in the MSL-Ohio with a 55-48 loss to visiting Whitehall on Feb. 5 in a makeup from Jan. 12.
Chris Boyle led the Vikings with 15 points.
Academy, Whitehall and Grandview all are 6-2 in the league.
The Vikings, who are 15-2 overall, also lost at Bexley 50-35 on Feb. 2. Boyle led Academy with 13 points.
Grandview, which defeated Whitehall 67-54 on Feb. 3 with Academy coach Jeff Warstler looking on, has league games remaining against the Vikings on Friday, Feb. 9, and London on Feb. 16.
Whitehall and Academy meet again Feb. 16, and the Rams also play Worthington Christian on Feb. 9.
“Everybody (in the league) is so well prepared and everybody defends,” Warstler said. “Even if you think you have stuff that is working well for you, people can shut you off and you have to change some things. You’re constantly adjusting to what’s going on. … It’s a grind. It’s a great league. It’s what basketball should be.”
Pearson wins league wrestling title at 220
Senior wrestler Josh Pearson captured the MSL-Ohio tournament title at 220 pounds Feb. 3 at Whitehall, winning all three of his matches by pin.
"This helped me (prepare for the postseason)," he said. "These are strong boys. (Competing at) 195 is a tough weight class. It has speed, it has technique and it's got that strength aspect, so working with the 220s actually helped."
Pearson, who earned his 100th career win earlier this season, will compete at 195 or 182 in the postseason.
As a sophomore, Pearson qualified for state at 182 and went 0-2 to finish 26-7. Last season, he went 2-2 at district to finish 35-7.
"He wants to get to the state tournament and see if he can place," coach Paul Bukky said. "He's starting to come around. He's just starting to get into shape."
Thomas Jones finished second in the league tournament at 160.
Academy finished fifth (71) in the five-team event behind Bexley (195), London (192.5), Whitehall (161) and Grandview (133).
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Feb. 9 -- At Grandview. The Vikings defeated the Bobcats 52-44 on Jan. 6.
Feb. 12 -- At Northridge
Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial
Feb. 8 -- Home vs. Horizon Science
*Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Whitehall. The Vikings defeated the Rams 40-35 (OT) on Jan. 5.
Feb. 13 -- At New Hope Christian
Feb. 21 -- At 16th-seeded Mount Gilead in first round of Division III district tournament. The Vikings are seeded 18th.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 10 -- Division II sectional swimming meet at home. The winner of each event and 27 at-large qualifiers in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites advance to district Feb. 16 at Ohio University.
Feb. 13 -- Division II district diving meet at Dublin Recreation Center. The top three boys divers and top two girls divers advance to state Feb. 21 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Feb. 9 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll, Centennial and North Union
Feb. 13 -- At Thomas Worthington with New Albany and Whetstone