The Thomas Worthington High School swimming and diving programs will be represented in the Division I state meet this week at Branin Natatorium in Canton by the girls 200-yard medley relay.

Seniors Emily Huber and Becca Taylor and juniors Rachel Rinaldi and Maddie Holub earned the final at-large state berth after placing seventh (1 minute, 48.36 seconds) in the district meet that concluded Feb. 17 at Ohio University.

The relay is seeded 24th at state. The preliminaries are Friday, Feb. 23, followed by the finals the next day.

"This is such a great way to finish things because we're all close friends and we're just happy to be going back to state this year (in the event) after missing it last year," said Huber, who swims the backstroke on the relay. "We made it two years ago but came up short last year and that was frustrating. But we're just going to go out and have fun now."

At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically qualified for state. In addition, 16 at-large berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.

"I'm very excited for them because that group has been together for 10 years," coach Jim Callahan said. "They all came up together in the Worthington swim club program, and this was their final chance to compete at state together, with Emily and Becca being seniors. Plus, they were so disappointed not to make it last year after they made it the year before. So, yes, this is special. They have wonderful chemistry."

The girls team scored 111 points at district to finish eighth behind champion Upper Arlington (274) as 30 teams scored.

"The girls scored well and swam very well, but they just missed state berths in a couple of events," Callahan said. "Becca had a time of 57.48 in the 100 (butterfly), which is faster than four girls in the field (of 24 swimmers at state), but they were automatic qualifiers. The 400 freestyle relay had a 3:37.6 and I believe that was like the 25th-fastest time in the state, so they just got bumped."

Taylor finished sixth in the 100 fly and the 400 free relay of Audrey Taylor, Rinaldi, Holub and Becca Taylor placed eighth.

Holub placed fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:09.42).

The boys team finished 17th (28) at district behind champion Dublin Jerome (303) as 29 teams scored.

Eli Short had the top finish for the Cardinals, placing 11th in the 50 free (22.1). Other top performers included Andrei Proca in the 500 free (4:55.02, 16th) and 200 free (1:48.73, 17th), Sam Steele in the 200 IM (2:02.48, 16th) and the 200 free relay of Jack King, Derek Taylor, Grant Simeone and Short (1:31.53, 13th).

"I think Eli had some great swims, especially for a freshman," Callahan said. "Sam Steele and Andrei Proca also swam well. They're a young team that is just sowing seeds for the future."

Girls basketball team to face Vikings

The girls basketball team faces a difficult challenge in its Division I district tournament opener.

The 18th-seeded Cardinals will play at sixth-seeded Northland in the second round Friday, Feb. 23, after having a first-round bye.

The winner plays seventh-seeded Upper Arlington or 31st-seeded Westerville North in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 28, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is March 3 at Ohio Dominican University.

The Cardinals enter the postseason with an 11-8 record. Northland improved to 20-3 by routing 42nd-seeded Walnut Ridge 80-34 in the first round Feb. 17 behind 22 points from Alexandria Hamilton and 17 from both Jenna Weatherspoon and Charlea Henley.

Boys basketball team preps for Raiders

Charlie Mamlin made a 3-pointer with .7 of a second left to lift the boys basketball team past host Kilbourne 52-49 in the regular-season finale Feb. 16.

The Cardinals, who avenged a 60-45 home loss to the Wolves on Jan. 20, improved to 5-17 overall and finished 2-10 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Seeded 40th in the Division I district tournament, Thomas will open the postseason Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10th-seeded Reynoldsburg. The winner plays 37th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round March 2 at the home of the higher seed.

In the rematch with Kilbourne, Ben Wight had 17 points and Isaac Settles scored 11.

Wrestlers getting set for sectional

Chase Haimerl finished first in the Nye Cardinal Classic on Feb. 17 at St. Charles to lead the wrestling team, which finished seventh (108 points) of 14 teams, behind champion Lancaster (315).

Haimerl won the title at 145 pounds, while Josh Keese (171) and Charlie Kneessi (182) both finished third and Ethan Glasgow (160) placed fifth.

Thomas will compete in a nine-team Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 24, at Whitehall, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 2 and 3 at Perrysburg.

Johnson shining for boys bowling team

Even though the boys bowling team did not win a match during the regular season, sophomore Nate Johnson had the 23rd-best game average in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference.

Johnson takes a 200.6 average into the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 23, at HP Lanes. Lujka Srsic is second on the team with a 152.2 average.

Johnson had a 189 average last season.

Sophomore Samantha Haunty leads the girls team into the sectional Saturday, Feb. 24, at HP Lanes with a 132.2 average, an increase of more than 27 pins from last season.

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

The boys team finished the regular season 0-13 overall, 0-10 in the COHSBC-B Division and 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal, while the girls team finished 1-12 overall, 1-9 COHSBC-B and 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Hockey team falls in district opener

The hockey team was seeded 17th in the 24-team district tournament and lost to 10th-seeded Cincinnati Elder 3-2 in the first round Feb. 16 at OhioHealth IceHaus to finish 5-19.


At a glance

Below are the members of the Thomas boys and girls swimming & diving teams who competed at district but did not qualify for state:

BOYS -- Jack King: 200 free (1:51.46, 28th); Andrei Proca: 200 free (1:48.73, 17th), 500 free (4:55.02, 16th); Eli Short: 50 free (22.1, 11th), 100 free (50.2, 27th); Grant Simeone: 100 breast (1:05.38, 29th); Sam Steele: 200 IM (2:02.48, 16th), 100 back (56.01, 21st); Derek Taylor: 500 free (5:04.51, 25th); 200 free relay (1:31.53, 13th); 400 free relay (3:23.77, 14th); 200 medley relay (1:42.38, 14th)

GIRLS -- Maddie Holub: 200 IM (2:09.42, fifth), 100 breast (1:07.73, 12th); Emily Huber: 100 back (59.93, 15th); Peyton Hull: diving (222.8, 20th); Rachel Rinaldi: 200 IM (2:12.36, seventh), 100 breast (1:07.18, ninth); Audrey Taylor: 50 free (26.02, 30th); Becca Taylor: 200 free (1:55.65, sixth), 100 fly (57.48, eighth); 200 free relay (1:46.61, 17th); 400 free relay (3:37.6, eighth)


Below is the coming schedule for the Thomas gymnastics team:

Feb. 24 -- District meet at Kilbourne. Top three teams advance to state team meet March 2 at Hilliard Bradley. Top eight individuals in each event and the all-around advance to state individual meet March 3 at Bradley.