The Hilliard Darby High School boys swimming and diving team expects to have a good combination of returnees and newcomers this season.
In their opening meet Dec. 8, the Panthers finished 12th (67 points) in the Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State behind champion Hunting Valley University School (396.5) as 35 teams scored.
"We've got five district qualifiers back and five pretty solid freshmen who have some strong past experience," 20th-year coach Brian Dickmann said. "We also have some talent between those classes, so I think it's a pretty good mix. While we're young overall in terms of experience, I can't wait to see how things develop. I'm hoping as we move along, no one will be able to sleep on us."
The returning district qualifiers are seniors Maaz Baig and Luke Snider and sophomores Hayden Apel, Braden Bower and Malik Tarazi.
Apel represented the Panthers in the Division I state meet last year, finishing 19th in diving (260.75 points). He advanced to state by placing fifth (468.7) at district.
Also at district a year ago, Bower competed in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events in addition to the 200 and 400 free relays. Baig and Tarazi also were on the free relays and on the 200 medley relay with Snider. The Panthers are seeking to replace 2018 graduate Kendall Jones on the medley relay and 2018 graduate Riley Brokaw on the free relays. Both Jones and Brokaw also competed in two individual events at district.
"Hayden has the ability to be one of the best divers ever from Hilliard," Dickmann said. "Braden also will leave his mark before he's done. We've got a small but solid core group back."
Among those on the roster looking to fill relay spots are freshmen Erik Dickmann, Chase Ellis, Jared Hopkins, Casey Maruniak and Mason Peck.
"Ellis, Hopkins, Maruniak and Peck are very experienced swimmers and should have an immediate impact," coach Dickmann said. "My son, Erik, is returning after a three-year hiatus from swimming to compete in wrestling."
In the A-flight of the Ned Reeb meet, Peck finished second in the 100 butterfly (52.01 seconds) and sixth in the 100 backstroke (54.8). Maruniak was 11th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.34), the 400 free relay was 15th (3:32.9) and the 200 free relay was 18th (1:38.57).
Completing the roster are seniors Austen Delgado-Heaberlin and Greg Montgomery, juniors Ryan Herr, Robert Hessenauer and Nolan Willoughby and sophomore Jaafar Razzaq.
The girls team has returned three district qualifiers in senior Mackensie Stellrecht, junior Isabel Quimba and sophomore Natalie Wood. All three were on separate relays at district last season.
The Panthers lost state-qualifiers Lexie McDonald and Taylor Leone and district-qualifier Halli Reinhard to graduation. At state last year, McDonald placed seventh in the 100 free and 12th in the 50 free and Leone was 23rd in the 100 free. McDonald set school records in the 100 free (51.55) and 50 free (23.77) at district a year ago.
Sophomore Madyson Leone also did not return after being on the 200 free relay at district.
"We lost a lot on the girls side," coach Dickmann said. "Lexie and Taylor are the only two girls in program history to compete in individual events at state. We have five girls returning and six freshmen. It's good freshman group."
The other returnees are senior Ariana Spina and junior Margaret Lee. The freshmen are Madison Blue, Nina Collins, Kendal Gabel, Rachel Hopkins, Morgan Morcher-Thaller and Kelsie Saulino.
"I think the leadership of the returnees will be important for the young girls," coach Dickmann said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out."
Boys basketball team posts first victory
The boys basketball team defeated host Groveport 38-37 on Dec. 8 for its first win of the season. Parker Hambel led Darby with 11 points and Kyle Miller and Andrew Patrick both scored nine.
The Panthers lost their OCC-Cardinal Division opener to visiting Delaware 71-47 on Dec. 7, getting outscored 41-17 in the middle quarters. Patrick had a team-high 19 points.
Darby lost its season opener to Marysville 69-37 on Nov. 29 and was 1-2 overall before playing Olentangy Orange on Dec. 11.
Girls basketball team out to strong start
The girls basketball team was 4-0 overall before playing Orange on Dec. 11.
The Panthers, who beat Groveport 56-42 on Dec. 8, are 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal after beating Bradley 40-32 on Dec. 4 and Delaware 60-44 on Dec. 7. They opened the season Nov. 29 with a 55-35 win over Marysville.
Annie Rauch scored 22 points against Delaware and 12 against Bradley and Sydney Wyngarden had 15 points against the Pacers and 12 against the Jaguars.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 15 -- Westerville South at Hilliard YMCA
Jan. 4-5 -- Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan; Southeast Classic Invitational at Ohio University
Jan. 9 -- Worthington Sprint Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Jan. 12 -- Olentangy, Olentangy Berlin, Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange at Hilliard YMCA
Jan. 19 -- Bradley and Davidson at Hilliard YMCA
Jan. 25 -- OCC-Cardinal diving meet at Thomas Worthington
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Cardinal swimming meet at Thomas Worthington
Feb. 2 -- at Upper Arlington
Below are the coming schedules for the Darby boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 14 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Dec. 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Dec. 18 -- At Dublin Scioto
*Dec. 14 -- Reynoldsburg at Holiday Lanes
*Dec. 15 -- Pioneer Baker Bash at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 18 -- Groveport at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
Dec. 15 -- Hilliard Invitational at Davidson
*Dec. 13 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 15 -- Big Dawg Invitational at Dresden Tri-Valley