Columbus Academy swimmer Jacob Eismann quietly sat on the edge of the pool deck Feb. 23, staring at the timing board at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Moments earlier, the junior had earned his first individual state title when he finished in a dead heat with Bellbrook's John Sampson in the 100-yard backstroke in the Division II state meet.
Eismann also set a program record of 49.34 seconds in the event.
"I'm tired," Eismann said after racing in his third of four events on the night. "I thought (winning a state title) was possible. (Being in lane 7 is) not where I really wanted to be going into finals in an outside lane, but I got the job done. ... Those under-waters felt good, the stroke felt really good and it led to the best result."
Eismann later helped cap a special night for the boys team as he anchored the 400 freestyle relay to a first-place finish in a program-record 3:06.95. He was joined on the relay by senior Max Dreisbach, junior Jack Campbell and sophomore Mike DeAscentis.
Eismann's efforts helped the Vikings finish third overall (166.5 points) behind Hunting Valley University School (219.5) and Gates Mills Hawken (211.5) as 54 teams scored.
It was the second consecutive third-place state finish for Academy.
"These guys did all the work, it's real nice," coach Craig Yakscoe said. "I'm proud of all these guys, especially senior Max Dreisbach. He's just phenomenal. He's really helped lead this team and brought us together. He's a fine young man and a great swimmer."
Eismann opened the finals by helping the 200 medley relay finish in a dead heat for third (1:34.99) with Hawken, as he was joined by Campbell, DeAscentis and junior Eric DeVore.
Eismann, who has committed to Kentucky, also was third in the 100 free in a program-record 44.54.
Dreisbach capped his prep career by finishing third in the 200 free (1:41.32) and seventh in the 100 butterfly (50.8).
"I'm just so happy right now," Dreisbach said after the 400 free relay. "To end my career as a state champ with these guys, it means everything."
DeAscentis was seventh in the 500 free (4:46.13) and 12th in the 200 free (1:43.85), and Campbell was 13th in the 100 back (53.85) and tied for 19th in the 100 fly (52.97).
Dreisbach, DeVore and juniors Jacob Beck and Ethan Nankervis were 11th in the 200 free relay (1:30.9).
A week earlier at Ohio University, Academy won its third consecutive district title by racking up 324 points, finishing ahead of runner-up Watterson (213) as 31 teams scored.
On Feb. 10, the Vikings finished first (326) of 18 teams in a home sectional, ahead of runner-up Granville (162). They also scored 334 points to win the 11-team MSL meet Jan. 27 at home, ahead of runner-up Grandview (187).
Eismann was league Swimmer of the Year and Yakscoe was Coach of the Year.
Divers Jordan Skilken and Esther Lawrence led the girls team at state, placing second (453.45) and fourth (448.7), respectively, on Feb. 21.
Lawrence, a senior, was a four-time state qualifier while Skilken, a junior, was competing in her third state meet.
"At every meet I try to have fun and stay relaxed," Skilken said. "I don't like being nervous because then I don't perform as well. Obviously, there are some nerves, but I like having fun and I always talk with my friends because I only get to see some of these people once a year, so it was nice seeing them."
Lawrence finished second (455.1) last season and fourth in 2016 (450.65) and 2015 (408.45), while Skilken finished fourth (428.1) last season and second in 2016 (459.75).
On Feb. 23, senior Jane Li, juniors Samantha Kass and Sarah Cabre and sophomore Annalise Grammel were eighth in the 400 free relay (3:39.72).
Also at state, Kass, Li and sophomores Whitney Hannallah and Abby Yakam were 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:50.22), Kass was 15th in the 50 free (24.66) and 16th in the 100 free (53.85), Cabre was 15th in the 200 free (1:55.65) and 17th in the 100 fly (58.47) and Yakam was 20th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.85).
Academy finished 12th (71) behind champion Hawken (345) as 50 teams scored.
The Vikings finished third (267.5) at district behind champion Columbus School for Girls (356) as 32 teams scored, and they were third (203.5) of 18 teams at sectional behind champion Hartley (227.66).
Academy (342) won the 14-team MSL meet, ahead of runner-up Bexley (220). Kass was Swimmer of the Year, Lawrence was Diver of the Year and Yakscoe was Coach of the Year.
Boys basketball team defeats North Union
The sixth-seeded boys basketball team improved to 19-4 with a 59-40 win over 16th-seeded North Union in the first round of the Division III district tournament Feb. 26 at home.
Dorrian Moultrie led Academy with 16 points.
The Vikings play host to 12th-seeded Northridge in the second round Saturday, March 3, with the winner playing third-seeded Ready, 18th-seeded Mount Gilead or 20th-seeded Liberty Union in a semifinal Tuesday, March 6, at a neutral site to be determined.
The district final is March 9 at Ohio Dominican.
Academy closed the regular season Feb. 20 with a 69-31 win at Northside Christian as Ryan Mitchell scored 14 points and Hayden Compton added 11.
Five wrestlers qualify for district
The wrestling team turned in a solid effort in a Division III sectional Feb. 24 at Madison Plains, advancing five competitors to district Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at Heath.
Advancing were Bobby Diller at 132 pounds, Eric Menq at 195, Josh Pearson at 220, Angus Soderberg at 170 and Chris Sugar at 126. Soderberg finished second at sectional while Sugar was third and Diller, Menq and Pearson finished fourth.
Academy placed sixth (81) of 12 teams behind champion North Union (186).
At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to state March 8-10 at Ohio State.
Girls basketball team earns postseason win
The girls basketball team earned its first postseason win since the 2008-09 season, defeating host Mount Gilead 45-30 in the first round of the Division III district tournament Feb. 22.
Sophomore guard Kiersten Thomassey led the 18th-seeded Vikings with 13 points and junior guard Shelemiah Crockett added 11.
Before defeating 16th-seeded Mount Gilead, the Vikings' last postseason win was a 47-42 victory over Fairfield Christian in a Division IV district game in 2009.
"We tell the kids to continue to fight and play together and coach and I, since the beginning of the season, have been really on the girls about staying together and just doing your jobs and being the best teammate you can be," said Ron McClendon, who shares coaching duties with JoAnne Adams. "It's great to see these kids and these seniors get this coming off of a (1-19) season last year. This is phenomenal."
Academy finished 11-13 overall with a 23-11 loss at 17th-seeded Johnstown in the second round Feb. 24. Senior forward Lexis Hughes scored seven points.
Academy went 2-8 in the MSL-Ohio to finish fifth behind Bexley (9-1), London (8-2), Worthington Christian (6-4) and Grandview (5-5) and ahead of Whitehall (0-10).
Reagan caps bowling season at district
Senior Michael Reagan concluded his prep career by finishing 52nd (416 three-game series) of 79 competitors in the Division II district boys bowling tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
The top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Friday, March 2, at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Reagan tied for 34th (480) of 185 bowlers at sectional Feb. 16 at HP Lanes as the top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district. He had a team-best 166.2 average for the season.
Freshmen Alexander Wood (399, tied for 82nd) and Cole Leis (352, 104th) and sophomore Michael Hoffman (328, 109th) also competed at sectional.
The boys team finished 0-11 overall and tied Thomas Worthington for 11th (0-10) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division behind champion Pickerington North (11-0).
Freshman Josh Tu also is eligible to return.
The girls team, which did not compete at sectional, finished 1-10 overall and tied Thomas for 10th (1-9) in the COHSBC-B behind champion Hilliard Darby (11-0).
Senior Izzy Bettinger finished with a team-best 117.8 average. Key bowlers eligible to return include juniors Mira Bhasin and Katie Wunsch, sophomore Nikki Turley and freshman Sanskruti Admane.
@ThisWeekFrankAt a glance
*Record: 11-13 overall, 2-8 (fifth) in MSL-Ohio
*Seniors lost: Tori Abell, Lexis Hughes and Skyla Johnson
*Key returnees: Shelemiah Crockett and Kiersten Thomassey
*Finishes: Boys -- Tied for 11th in COHSBC-B; did not score at sectional; Girls -- Tied for 10th in COHSBC-B
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Max Chavarria and Michael Reagan; Girls -- Izzy Bettinger and Jade Juniper
*Key returnees: Boys -- Michael Hoffman, Cole Leis and Alexander Wood; Girls -- Nikki Turley
SWIMMING & DIVING
*Finishes: Boys -- First in MSL; first at sectional; first at district; third at state; Girls -- First in MSL; first at sectional; third at district; 12th at state
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Zac Beck, Max Dreisbach, Chris Heermann, Luke Tiberi and Harry Zaye; Girls -- Esther Lawrence and Jane Li
*Key returnees: Boys -- Jacob Beck, Jack Campbell, Mike DeAscentis, Eric DeVore, Jacob Eismann and Ethan Nankervis; Girls -- Sarah Cabre, Annalise Grammel, Whitney Hannallah, Samantha Kass, Callista Popp, Jordan Skilken and Abby Yakam