Leah Stamm chalked up her second trip to the Division II state girls swimming and diving meet as a learning experience.
The Bexley High School sophomore finished 19th in the 100-yard backstroke (59.69 seconds) in the preliminary round Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. She missed reaching the consolation final by three places, as Stefani Attewell of Cuyahoga Heights was 16th in 59.4.
"It's definitely something that I can learn from," said Stamm, who was seeded 22nd, entering state with a district time of 59.67. "I was rested and tapered for district (Feb. 16 at Ohio University) and I hoped the adrenaline would keep me going at state, but it didn't.
"I think mentally I was not into the swimming experience. I was sitting around all day waiting to swim. I was the only one representing Bexley, and it's nice to have your team there to support you (on the deck) in relays."
Stamm moved to Bexley from Grandview last summer. She placed 18th in the 100 back (59.19) last season at state and reached the awards podium as part of the Bobcats' seventh-place 200 freestyle relay (1:40.06).
She nearly advanced to state with some of her Bexley teammates, as she joined senior Libby Brown and freshmen Ally Grieshop and Olivia Mitchell on the 400 free relay that placed seventh at district in a program-record 3:50.49. Waynesville's time of 3:47.04 earned the 24th and final state berth.
"We wanted to be able to beat Grandview (at district) and when we didn't we wanted another chance at state, but didn't get that chance," Stamm said. "That's something for us to shoot for next year because we want to get some relays to state."
Grandview was seeded 23rd at state in 3:46.91.
The Lions did not score at state as Gates Mills Hawken (345) won its 19th consecutive title.
"I think Leah did a great job," said coach Sandy Sliwowski, who completed her fourth season. "She swam the best race that she could. She was seeded 22nd and got 19th."
Stamm was third in the 100 back at district as the Lions finished 10th (83) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (356) as 32 teams scored.
The boys team did not have any state qualifiers and finished 30th (5) at district behind champion Columbus Academy (324) as 31 teams scored. The Lions were led by junior John Niermeyer, who was 12th in the 50 free (23.98).
The girls finished second (220) in the 14-team MSL meet Jan. 27 behind host Academy (342) as Stamm won the 100 butterfly (1:01.72) and 100 back (1:01.2).
The boys were seventh (68) of 11 teams behind champion Academy (334). Niermeyer was third in the 50 free (25.02) and was on the fifth-place 400 free relay (4:10.03) with juniors David Tugend and Jack Zwick and sophomore Danner Rogers.
"I think the season went extremely well," Sliwowski said. "We started with some kids who were pretty new to swimming, but they kept lowering their times. We hope to only see more success in the future from them.
"I'm sad to see the seniors go. They helped to build the culture and the program since I took over three years ago. Hopefully they have instilled things in the younger kids that they can use to pass on to the other classes."
Clark, Robinson lead wrestlers to district
Seniors Eliot Clark and Grant Robinson won championships for the wrestling team in a Division II sectional Feb. 23 and 24 at Licking Valley.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at Uhrichsville Claymont. The top four in each weight at district qualify for state March 8-10 at Ohio State.
Clark won at 182 pounds with two pins and one technical fall to improve to 39-0. In the final, he pinned Caledonia River Valley's Cooper Graham in 1:52.
Robinson was the heavyweight champion, defeating Lakewood's Dane Black 6-1 in the title match. He also had two pins and went 3-0 at sectional to improve to 44-2.
Reece Wilson was third at 170, going 4-1 to improve to 35-5. He pinned Sparta Highland's Jonathan Sparks in 20 seconds in the consolation final.
Connor Brenner (113) and Eammon Sears (138) both placed fifth and are district alternates for the Lions, who finished fifth (102) of 22 teams behind champion River Valley (169).
Boys basketball team to begin district play
The boys basketball team opened the Division II district tournament Feb. 26 against 15th-seeded Bloom-Carroll.
The fifth-seeded Lions entered the game on a six-game winning streak and were 17-5.
The winner plays a second-round game Saturday, March 3, against eighth-seeded Granville at the home of the better seed. The Lions have not played the Blue Aces this season.
The district semifinal is Tuesday, March 6, at a site to be determined against top-seeded Beechcroft, 21st-seeded Utica or 22nd-seeded Marion-Franklin. Bexley has not played any of these teams this season.
The district final is March 10 at Africentric.
Girls team falls in district opener
The girls basketball team lost its Division II district tournament opener Feb. 23 at home to 11th-seeded Lakewood 42-33 in the second round.
The fifth-seeded Lions finished 16-7.
Amanda Frey led Bexley with 14 points and three 3-pointers, and Emma Dressel added 10 points.
@ThisWeekHennenAt a glance
SWIMMING & DIVING
*Finishes: Boys -- Seventh in MSL, ninth at sectional, 30th at district; Girls -- Second in MSL, sixth at sectional, 10th at district, did not score at state
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Zach Gillam, Gavin Levine, Casey Spangler and Sam Warner; Girls -- Libby Brown, Madison Brown, Rebecca Dashevsky, Katie Grunewald, Grace Hunley and Lily Rosenthal
*Key returnees: Boys -- John Niermeyer, Danner Rogers, David Tugend and Jack Zwick; Girls -- Ally Grieshop, Olivia Mitchell and Leah Stamm