CANTON — The Columbus Academy boys swimming and diving team and Columbus School for Girls led the area contingent in the Division II state meet that concluded Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium.
Academy finished third (166.5 points) in the boys meet behind Hunting Valley University School (219.5) and Gates Mills Hawken (211.5) as 53 teams scored, and CSG was fifth (136) in the girls meet behind champion Hawken (345) as 52 teams scored.
The Hawken girls won their 19th consecutive title.
Jordan Aurnou-Rhees led CSG, winning the 100-yard butterfly in a program-record 54.47 seconds and placing third in the 200 individual medley (2:02.94).
“I’m glad to have experienced standing on top of the podium now,” Aurnou-Rhees said. “(When I saw the scoreboard), I had partial disbelief. When I hit the wall, I wasn’t sure if it was real. It’s great to see all of that hard work pay off.”
The sophomore also was on the runner-up 200 medley relay (1:45.2) with Anna Ray Ziegler, Nyah Funderburke and Julia Lunt.
Also for the Unicorns, Funderburke placed fourth in the 100 fly (56.59) and fifth in the 50 freestyle (23.94), and the 400 free relay of Aurnou-Rhees, Funderburke, Lunt and Madeline Swoboda finished sixth (3:36.16).
Also in the girls meet, Hartley’s 200 free relay of Olivia Bergmann, Kayla Williams, Cara Luallen and Deanne Archambeau placed sixth (1:39.9), and Academy’s 400 free relay of Sarah Cabre, Annalise Grammel, Jane Li and Samantha Kass was eighth (3:39.72).
The Academy boys team was led by junior Jacob Eismann and senior Max Dreisbach.
Eismann, who has committed to Kentucky, won his first individual state title by edging Bellbrook’s John Sampson in a dead heat in the 100 backstroke (49.34) and capped the meet by teaming with Dreisbach, Jack Campbell and Mike DeAscentis to win the 400 free relay (3:06.95).
Eismann also finished third in the 100 free (44.54) and Dreisbach placed third in the 200 free (1:41.32) and seventh in the 100 fly (50.8). The two also combined with DeAscentis and Campbell to tie for third in the 200 medley relay (1:34.99).
Also for the Vikings, DeAscentis finished seventh in the 500 free (4:46.13).
“The boys did all the work. Very nice,” said Academy coach Craig Yakscoe, whose team also finished third at state last season. “I’m proud of all those guys, especially Max Dreisbach. He’s just phenomenal. He’s really helped lead this team and brought us together. He’s a fine young man.”
Also in the boys meet, Watterson’s 200 free relay of Thomas Clark, David Coss, Michael Vondran and Perry Finnegan entered the final as the top seed and performed to expectations by winning in 1:25.66.
“We had faith in everyone and it was everyone’s personal-best (time),” said Finnegan, who anchored the relay. “We just really wanted this.”
Also for Watterson, Clark finished seventh in the 200 IM (1:55.09) and Finnegan was seventh in the 50 free (21.43), while Grandview’s Calvin Furbee placed fifth in the 200 free (1:42.57).