Several members of the St. Charles Preparatory School swimming and diving program were players on the state championship water polo team this fall.
That winning experience might be beneficial in terms of a championship mentality, but it may have put the athletes behind in their conditioning for their winter sport.
"We're coming off water polo and we're a little behind (in training)," said senior Jon Sugar, the state's Player of the Year in water polo after the Cardinals defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 17-6 in the championship game Oct. 27 at Mason. "We only have been training about a month, so I'm excited to see what we can do early this season."
Sugar is a returning Division I state qualifier after finishing 23rd in the 50-yard freestyle (22.01 seconds) last season. He also was on the fifth-place 200 medley relay (1:34.47) with sophomore Mitchell List and 2018 graduates Patrick Pema and Michael Gutman, and Sugar, Gutman, junior Alex Nash and senior Griffin Beam were 13th in the 200 free relay (1:27.18).
"I think the guys are a little stronger than last season," Beam said. "We have a pretty young nucleus with only a handful of seniors who contribute for us. We're mostly sophomores and juniors, and we have a couple strong freshmen."
Young swimmers made their marks in the season's first big test: the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
Sophomore Will Elsrod led the way by winning the 200 individual medley (1:55.25) and placing fourth in the 100 breaststroke (59.65). Nash was fifth in the 100 butterfly (53.01), and freshman Spencer Aurnou-Rhees placed 11th in the 200 free (1:46.36) and 500 free (4:48.53).
Sugar was 11th in the 50 free (21.79) and 15th in the 100 free (49.24), and Beam finished 11th in the 100 backstroke (54.8) and 13th in the 200 free (1:47.72). Junior Thomas Lennox placed 12th in the 100 back (55.61), and Ryan Seidt was 13th in the 100 back (55.74). Sophomore Chase Bateman finished 20th in the 100 free (50.29).
"The Ned Reeb is the first really big midseason swim meet that we suit up for," Beam said. "It's a fast meet and it shows us where we're at for this point of the season."
St. Charles won its 20th consecutive CCL title last season.
"We're a young team, but we have started well," Sugar said. "It's my senior year and with that comes a lot of responsibility. That's something that (10th-year) coach (Geoff) Gear has prepared me and every one of us for this. We should have a good year."
Bowling team looks to repeat CCL title
The bowling team returns two starters from last season in seniors Grant Flory and Dominck Koeth.
The Cardinals finished 13-4 overall and tied DeSales for first (6-2) in the CCL to win their first league title. They were third (9-3) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-D Division behind Whitehall (12-0) and Walnut Ridge (10-2).
"We have 15 on the roster and only two of them are seniors," second-year coach Bill Pritchett said. "It has been a learning process for a lot of them because most have never bowled before. Grant Flory has been with us for four years and Dominck Koeth has bowled for three years. We just have a lot of newbies to the sport."
The Cardinals were 1-1 overall and in the COHSBC-D before facing Independence on Dec. 10. They were 0-1 in the CCL before facing Hartley on Dec. 12.
St. Charles opened Dec. 3 with a 2,132-2,126 loss to DeSales, although Flory was medalist with a 438 series. Koeth had a 379, followed by juniors Teague O'Brien (365) and Jack Anderson (330). Juniors Dino Cloasurd (152) and Vince Foresta (134) both rolled one game.
Flory also was medalist with a 444 as St. Charles defeated Mifflin 2,273-1,589 on Dec. 5. Koeth (416), Anderson (389) and Foresta (320) also rolled three games.
Juniors Reeve Boyden, Giovanni Cocchiarale, Lincoln Geist, John Melliere and Doc Rogers and sophomores Nicholas Bastaja, Nick Lusky, Brody Sullivan and Max Taylor round out the roster.
Sophomore Alex Etheredge started last season but did not return to the program.
Furuta takes over wrestling program
The wrestling program now is led by Chris Furuta, a former longtime assistant coach who replaced Mike Flusche after one season.
The Cardinals return two Division I district qualifiers in seniors Sean Grim (170 pounds) and Steve Metzger (152). Both went 1-2 at district as Grim finished 25-9 at 160 and Metzger was 27-20 at 145.
Senior Marvin Moore expects to make an impact at 220.
"We have 23 kids and we only had 14 last season," Furuta said. "It's a friendly learning environment and that helps a lot. I have my inexperienced wrestlers learning from the experienced guys. If you have two inexperienced guys learning moves with each other, they butt heads, crack elbows and don't learn to do the things the right way. They also get injuries that we normally would not have."
The Cardinals opened Dec. 1 by finishing fifth (201) in the 12-team Mount Vernon Bad Apple Brawl behind the champion and host Yellow Jackets (459). Moore won a title and Grim and Metzger both were runners-up. Junior Caleb Kish (160) and sophomore George Cottrill (195) both placed fourth.
"I have 10 kids that are around 180 pounds, so we probably won't be able to fill all of the weight classes," Furuta said.
"We're trying to figure out who can go where and who can make the cut."
Sophomore Liam Smith (182) and freshman Joe McCarthy (132) also have competed on varsity.
*Dec. 3 -- DeSales at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 5 -- Mifflin at HP Lanes
*Dec. 10 -- Independence at Eastland Lanes
*Dec. 12 -- Hartley at HP Lanes
*Dec. 18 -- Africentric at HP Lanes
*Dec. 21 -- Linden-McKinley at HP Lanes
*Jan. 7 -- DeSales at HP Lanes
*Jan. 8 -- Walnut Ridge at Eastland Lanes
*Jan. 10 -- Ready at HP Lanes
*Jan. 15 -- Watterson at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 17 -- Columbus East at HP Lanes
*Jan. 23 -- Watterson at HP Lanes
*Jan. 24 -- Eastmoor Academy at Eastland Lanes
*Jan. 30 -- Ready at Game of West Columbus
*Feb. 1 -- Hartley at Holiday Lanes
*Feb. 7 -- Beechcroft at Sequoia Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- vs. Lakewood St. Edward
Dec. 1 -- St. Charles-Columbus School for Girls Sprint Showdown
Dec. 7 -- Hunting Valley University School and Toledo St. Francis at Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 15 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius and Rocky River Magnificat
Jan. 12 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton
Jan. 18 -- Pickerington North at Columbus School for Girls
Jan. 19 -- vs. Columbus Academy, Olentangy Berlin and Olentangy Orange
Jan. 25 -- vs. Big Walnut, DeSales, Madison Christian and Village Academy
Jan. 26 -- CCL meet at Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 1 -- Mount Vernon Bad Apple Brawl
Dec. 5 -- at Westerville North with Columbus South and New Albany
Dec. 8 -- Worthington Kilbourne Wolfpack Duals
Dec. 21 -- at Columbus Academy tri-meet
Dec. 28-29 -- Marion Harding Invitational
Jan. 18-19 -- Catholic Invitational Tournament at Toledo St. John's
Jan. 26 -- New Albany Duals
Feb. 1 -- St. Charles tri-meet
Feb. 7 -- at Bexley tri-meet
Feb. 13 -- CCL tournament at Ready
Feb. 16 -- Nye Cardinal Classic at home
Below are the coming schedules for the basketball and hockey teams:
Dec. 15 -- Home vs. Columbus East
Dec. 14 -- Parma Padua in Parma Padua Holiday Tournament at OBM Arena in Strongsville
Dec. 15 -- Lakewood St. Edward and Shaker Heights in Parma Padua Holiday Tournament at OBM Arena in Strongsville
Dec. 16 -- TBA in Parma Padua Holiday Tournament at OBM Arena in Strongsville