Spencer Keane plans to use what he learned in the Division I boys district swimming meet when he represents Groveport Madison High School in the state meet this week.
Despite recording a personal-best time of 22.22 seconds to place 13th in the 50-yard freestyle in the district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio University, the junior was disappointed.
"I thought I could get into the 21s," Keane said. "I wasn't happy about it, but I didn't dwell on it. I put it behind me and did everything I could possibly do in (the 100 breaststroke). I put all of my focus and energy into that. I tried to visualize everything, the dive, the swim, the turn."
Keane placed fourth in the 100 breast at district in a school-record 58.05. He is seeded 20th of 24 swimmers in the event for the state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The preliminaries will be held Friday, Feb. 23, and the finals are Saturday, Feb 24.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event qualified for state. In addition, 16 at-large berths were awarded in each event based on times statewide.
"We are a second-year program and it's an honor to make it to state and represent our school and our team," said Keane, who had the 14th-fastest time in the state in the 100 breast through Feb. 10. "I think I can drop some time again. I won't be as tired or distracted by other races and can put all of my energy into just this one event. I want to follow that same approach I had (at district)."
Keane, who finished 15th in the 100 breast (1:02.61) and 30th in the 50 free (23.54) at district last season, was the lone district competitor for the boys team. He totaled 17.5 points for the Cruisers, who finished 24th behind champion Dublin Jerome (303) as 29 teams scored.
Madison Newsom represented the girls team at district. The sophomore placed 21st in the 500 free with a personal-record 5:34.83.
The top 16 finishers in each event scored.
"I'm pretty happy with my time," Newsom said. "I dropped five seconds and it was great just to get to district. Last year, I barely missed getting to district. I had the 31st-best time in (all of the Central District sectionals), so this was monumental for me."
Last season, Newsom placed ninth (5:48.67) in the 500 free in a sectional at Upper Arlington.
"I'm just thrilled that (athletics director Steve Petros) allowed us to have a program last year," Newsom said. "... We have a lot of first-year swimmers who dropped crazy time, like over a minute, this year. We're just going to get better as a program. This is awesome."
Wrestlers repeat as league champions
After earning a share of its second consecutive OCC-Capital Division championship, the wrestling team has turned its attention to preparing for a Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 24, at Marysville.
The Cruisers defeated Newark 42-27 on Feb. 15 in their OCC-Capital finale to forge a first-place tie with the Wildcats. Both teams finished 4-1 in the league.
"I think, being such a young squad, that we've been building confidence in the second half of the season and then winning our second league championship in a row will really lift us heading into the sectional," coach Brian Brison said.
The top four finishers in each weight class at sectional qualify for the district tournament March 2 and 3 at Hilliard Darby.
Last season, Groveport won its first league championship in 25 years by finishing 5-0 in the OCC-Capital.
"With the amount of seniors we lost last year, to repeat as league champion is just an incredible thing," Brison said. "When we started this year with so many first-year wrestlers, I honestly didn't think we had much of a chance to do this. But the boys kept improving and listening and working and here we are."
Jacob Cline pinned Newark's Ian Wilson at 152 pounds to break a 24-all tie and secure the Cruisers' victory, as the Wildcats had to forfeit the final two matches at 171 and 185.
Other key victories in the match were posted by Tykel Hancock-Anderson (pin at heavyweight), Mahamad Conteh (3-1 at 113) and Clayton Saunders (6-5 at 120).
"The wins by Mahamad and Clayton were huge because both (matches) were close and we knew looking at the match entering the day that we'd have to get one of those two to win," Brison said. "To get both was very inspiring and put us in good position.
"Tykel is a first-year wrestler and a great athlete and you can see his potential, but you never know with young guys. That was a key win because it got us going."
The Cruisers are just scratching the surface, according to Brison.
"We're building for the future and trying to make nights like tonight more common," he said. "With so many young guys, our near future looks bright.
"We had a tremendous turnout, the best of the year. All these people out here were here for Cruiser pride, senior night and a championship match. There were a lot of football players, baseball players and basketball players here to support their teammates in other sports. This was such a positive thing."
Groveport finished sixth (119) in the 14-team Nye Cardinal Classic on Feb. 17 at St. Charles behind champion Lancaster (315). Cline and Jake Nelson (171) both placed fourth, while Saunders, Hancock-Anderson and Ethan Schleret (182) all placed fifth.
Boys basketball team preps for Warriors
The boys basketball team is preparing for the Division I district tournament after capping the regular season with a 64-61 league win over Big Walnut on Feb. 16 in what likely was the final game in its current gymnasium.
Groveport, which is 8-14 overall and finished 4-6 in the OCC-Capital, is seeded 35th of 48 teams in the district tournament and will play at fourth-seeded Westerville North in the first round Saturday, Feb. 24. The winner plays 39th-seeded New Albany in the second round March 2 at the home of the higher seed.
The Cruisers, who will play in a new gym next season when their new school building opens, have yet to play North this season. The Warriors are 18-4.
Antwon Hampton had 26 points against Big Walnut and Curtis Jacobs and Tyreese Cherry scored 16 and 15, respectively.
Season concludes for girls basketball team
The girls basketball team lost at second-seeded Dublin Coffman 90-11 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17 to finish 4-19.
Melia Walder scored all 11 points for the 46th-seeded Cruisers, who trailed 33-1 after the first quarter and 60-6 at halftime to invoke the running clock rule.
Coffman improved to 22-1.
Bowlers getting set for sectional
The bowling teams are preparing for the Division I sectional 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 in each sectional will advance to the district tournament March 3 at HP Lanes.