The Whetstone High School swimming and diving teams will be challenged to continue their City League championship streaks this season, according to 18th-year coach John DeRing.
The boys team has won six consecutive titles and the girls have won five in a row.
"Our numbers have dropped off and we have a small roster on the boys side," said DeRing, who is being assisted by first-year coach Diane Barnhart. "We've got 10 guys and four are first-year swimmers, so I think we're in trouble on the boys side in the City. I think the girls team has a chance, but lots of things have to go right."
The boys team has returned six athletes in juniors Kai Hoenshell, Alex Marcum and Jake Marshall and sophomores Will Ave, Matthew Conroy and Javi Cruz.
In the Division I district meet last season, Marshall and Ave joined 2018 graduates David Maston and Francisco Soto on the 200-yard freestyle relay that placed 20th in 1 minute, 35.02 seconds, and Marshall and Marcum teamed with Maston and Soto to place 26th in the 200 medley relay (1:51.44).
"Alex has really come into his own this year and has been a tremendous help with the young guys," DeRing said. "He's like having a third coach out there. Last year was Jake's first year swimming and he's really improved in the (backstroke) and (breaststroke). He'll do anything we ask him to do."
Ave will miss much of the season because of academic ineligibility based on miscalculation of requirements, not grades, DeRing said.
"Will can be one of our top swimmers, so that will likely change our lineup quite a bit when he returns," DeRing said. "Matthew is quiet but leads by example and is willing to swim anything. Javi is always smiling and also willing to do anything.
"I love that about both teams. They will do anything we need regardless if it's their top event or an event they like to swim."
Newcomers to the team are senior Ben Bryson, juniors Emerson Gonzales and Connor Gott and sophomore Julian Ackerman.
The girls team lost all four of its district qualifiers from last season in 2018 graduates Mary Dougherty, Abi Schaefer, Rebeka Spulgis and Bryn Van Dommelen. The four combined to finish 26th in the 200 free relay (1:51.79) and 29th in the 200 medley relay (2:11.3).
The Braves have 16 athletes, including 12 returnees in seniors Carrie Legg, Hannah Schaefer, Iris Woodward and Amelia Zamonski, juniors Audrey Beers, Catie Flanagan, Emilie Johnson, Catherine Leahy, Alyssa Proudfoot, Leah Schaefer and Yaqi Schumacher and sophomore Lydia Schaefer.
Completing the roster are junior Olivia Ave and freshmen Nezzie O'Malley, Emma Schaefer and Rebecca Schaefer.
"We lost some workhorses, but we have some talent back and then we basically have three newcomers that will help a lot," DeRing said. "Iris Woodward was with us before, but spent last year as an exchange student in England. Emilie Johnson competed very little last year after being in concussion protocol, and Olivia Ave, Will's sister, is a transfer from Village Academy.
"I think the girls team has some flexibility and more depth and that gives them a chance to extend their City League championship streak. I know they'll put the work in and it'll be interesting to watch their improvement."
Girls basketball team routs International
The girls basketball team defeated International 69-1 in its City League-North Division opener Dec. 4.
It was the first win of the season for the Braves, who have been on the other end of lopsided contests.
Whetstone lost at Westerville Central 70-0 on Nov. 28 and fell to Watterson 69-7 on Dec. 6.
The Braves lost to East 48-32 on Dec. 7 and were 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the league before playing at Linden-McKinley on Dec. 11.
Against International, the Braves led 36-0 at halftime and 51-1 through three quarters. Le'Cara Josey had 15 points, Salamatu Kebe scored 14, Rain Jones scored 12 and Ellen Edwards scored 10.
Wrestlers open with two victories
The wrestling team opened Dec. 6 by defeating Beechcroft 41-12 and Linden 42-24 in a tri-match.
Winning two matches were Jack Zimmerman (126 pounds), Johnny Kincaid (132), Ford Buterbaugh (152), Preston Buterbaugh (160), Hassan Sesay (170), Abdourahman Sallah Sallah (182) and Huzi Shabana (195).
Kincaid had a pin and a 17-1 decision, while the others had at least one forfeit win. The Buterbaugh brothers and Sesay also had one pin apiece.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 26 -- Centennial and Hilliard Davidson at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 3 -- Delaware at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 10 -- Braves Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 18 -- Grove City at Grove City YMCA
Dec. 22 -- Wellington Holiday Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 7 -- Grove City and Portsmouth at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic Invitational at Branin Natatorium in Canton; Stars Invitational at Columbus Aquatics Center
Jan. 19 -- Wellington at Columbus Aquatics Center
Feb. 2 -- City meet at Columbus Aquatics Center
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14- Home vs. Beechcroft
*Dec. 18 -- At Northland
*Dec. 14 -- At Beechcroft
*Dec. 18 -- Home vs. Northland
*Dec. 17 -- Teays Valley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Dec. 19 -- Westerville South at Sequoia Pro Bowl
Dec. 19 -- At Northland with South