Juniors Kael Gannon and Paul Carter won individual sectional titles to lead the Delaware Hayes High School boys swimming and diving team into the Division I district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio University.

In a sectional Feb. 10 at Thomas Worthington, Gannon won the 100-yard butterfly (54.01 seconds) and Carter finished first in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.19).

"I was very happy because everyone dropped a bunch of time," said Gannon, who set a personal-record time in the 100 fly to finish ahead of teammate Zach Ward (54.78) and also placed second in the 50 free (22.53). "I was aiming to get into the 53s (in the 100 fly), but to win and to set a PR was exciting and to have Zach be right there for a 1-2 finish was great."

The Pacers took a contingent of 10 boys and eight girls to district, where the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically qualified for the state meet Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.

"I was very excited and happy for them," said coach Jordan Nicol, whose boys team totaled 203 points to finish second behind New Albany (300) in the 12-team field. "I didn't think we had much of a chance to finish second with only about 10 boys, but they did. The boys were very excited because the girls swam well that morning, and then they started off with a great 200 medley relay that really fired them up.

"Most of them weren't tapered for sectional and Paul still had a significant time drop of three seconds in the 100 breast. Everyone will be tapered at district."

The Pacers won both the 200 medley relay (1:39.04) and 200 freestyle relay (1:30.21). The medley relay lineup consisted of Ward, Carter, Gannon and Andrew Parker and the 200 free lineup was comprised of Gannon, Ward, Parker and Lucas Pape.

The winner of each sectional swimming event automatically advanced to district. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.

Also advancing were Parker in the 100 free (second, 49.42) and 50 free (fourth, 22.75), Ward in the 200 individual medley (third, 2:03.11) and the 400 free relay of Ethan Hall, Andrew Sarna, Caleb Bucher and Aidan Stojkov (fifth, 3:32.95).

There was no diving at sectional. Sam Sulek finished 10th in boys diving (348.6 points) at district Feb. 13 at Dublin Community Recreation Center, where the top five finishers advanced to state.

Like the boys team, the girls squad also qualified all three relays for district.

At sectional, the 200 free relay of Danielle Ward, Valerie Keller, Lauren Ertz and Rena Ouyang placed second (1:40.34), the 200 medley relay of Ward, Maddie Richardson, Ouyang and Keller was fourth (3:57.24) and the 400 free relay of Elizabeth Abahazi, Kelly Godfrey, Ertz and Katie Amrine finished sixth (3:57.24).

"All of the girls swam well, too," Nicol said. "The medley was strong and everyone in the 200 free relay had personal-best splits. I thought Rena was great in both of her relays."

Abahazi, Keller and Ward also qualified individually in two events apiece. Abahazi placed third in the 500 free (5:32.01) and eighth in the 200 free (2:02.38), Ward finished fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.82) and seventh in the 100 fly (58.86) and Keller was ninth in the 100 free (55.72) and 10th in the 50 free (25.45).

Ouyang also advanced by placing 10th in the 100 fly (1:00.79).

The Pacers, who had no divers compete at district Feb. 12, placed fourth (142) of 13 teams at sectional, behind champion New Albany (401).

Mays leads gymnasts in league meet

Elise Mays led the gymnastics team to a fifth-place finish in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Feb. 10 at Hilliard Davidson.

The junior won the league title on balance beam (8.8) and finished second on floor exercise (8.95) en route to placing sixth in the all-around (32.9). Mays also finished fifth on vault (8.1) and 17th on uneven bars (7.05).

The top six finishers in each event and the all-around made the podium, the top five medaled and the top three earned all-league honors.

"It was a good day, for the most part," Mays said. "I wasn't expecting to win the beam or finish as high as I did because there are a lot of good gymnasts here. This is pretty exciting. I just wanted to go out there and do my best, so this is pretty special."

The Pacers scored a 120.975 to finish behind Hilliard Darby (132.925), Hilliard Bradley (130.45), Dublin Jerome (129.825) and Worthington Kilbourne (121.875) and ahead of Thomas Worthington (120.2) and Dublin Scioto (79.475).

"Our season best is a 122.2," coach Heather Besselman said. "But my goal for them at district is a 125. "If they can stay on the beam and hit what they can do on bonus connections, they can reach that this year."

The district meet is Saturday, Feb. 24, at Kilbourne. The top three teams advance to the team state meet March 2 at Bradley, while the top nine individuals in each event and the all-around advance to the individual state meet March 3 at Bradley.

Also in the league meet, Liz White finished ninth on beam (8.0) and 15th in the all-around (30.625) and Chelsey Co was 16th on beam (7.55) and 19th in the all-around (29.05). Caitie Lipps (22nd, 27.825) and Sophia Hance (23rd, 27.45) followed in the all-around.

Delaware (12 points, 1-5 record) tied Thomas (12, 3-3) and Kilbourne (12, 2-4) for fourth in the overall league standings, behind Darby (28, 6-0), Bradley (24, 5-1) and Jerome (20, 4-2) and ahead of Scioto (4, 0-6).

Boys basketball team preps for tourney

The boys basketball team is seeded 32nd in the 48-team Division I district tournament and will open the postseason Saturday, Feb. 24, at 11th-seeded Westerville Central.

The winner plays 24th-seeded Whitehall in the second round March 2 at the home of the higher seed. The Pacers did not play Central or Whitehall in the regular season.

Delaware was 8-12 overall before playing Buckeye Valley on Feb. 16 and Marion Harding in its regular-season finale Feb. 17 and finished 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal after a 42-39 loss at Jerome on Feb. 9.

Terin Kinsway had 17 points and Nate Griggs scored 16 against Jerome, which outscored the Pacers 13-7 in the fourth quarter.

It marked the seventh game this season that Delaware lost by four points or fewer, including its sixth loss by three points or fewer.

Kinsway had 24 points and Addison Harvey and Griggs scored eight and seven, respectively, in a 54-49 win over Marysville on Feb. 13.

Girls basketball team begins postseason

Seeded 40th of 50 teams, the girls basketball team played at 13th-seeded Watterson in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17.

The winner plays 16th-seeded Teays Valley or 29th-seeded Olentangy in the second round Friday, Feb 23, at the home of the higher seed. That winner likely would face top-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Feb. 28.

The Pacers finished the regular season 8-14 overall after beating visiting Mount Gilead 57-41 on Feb. 10. They lost to Jerome 47-19 on Feb. 9 to finish 1-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Jessica Walker, Rachael Bourget and Karli Theis all scored 10 points and Piper Adkins scored nine against Mount Gilead.

Wrestlers preparing for postseason

The wrestling team closed the regular season Feb. 15 with matches against Mason, Teays Valley and Watkins Memorial.

The Pacers now are preparing for a 10-team Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 24, at Newark, where the top four finishers in each weight class qualify for district March 2 and 3 at Darby.

Delaware finished 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to visiting Bradley 40-28 on Feb. 8, but still would have earned a share of the league title if the Jaguars (5-0) lost to Darby (3-2) on Feb. 15.

Bowlers getting set for sectional

The bowling teams are preparing for the Division I sectional later this week at HP Lanes.

The boys will compete Friday, Feb. 23, and the girls will compete Saturday, Feb. 24.

The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team at sectional advance to the district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek