Martina Moncolova goes about her business to make herself and her teammates on the Grandview Heights High School girls swimming and diving team better in practice.
The soft-spoken senior has competed in relays at the Division II state meet in each of her first three seasons, and now she wants to finish her prep career by returning to the podium.
As a sophomore, Moncolova reached the podium in the 200-yard freestyle relay, which finished seventh in a program-record 1 minute, 40.06 seconds. It's the only time the girls team has finished in the top eight at state.
"Martina has come in ready to work, and she is an inspiration for others," coach Susan Ferguson said. "She motivates everyone to work in a quiet way. She's a silent leader who likes to keep everyone moving. She has goals, and she's working to meet those."
Another of Moncolova's goals is running down the program record in 50 free. Her personal-best is 24.88 as she tries to eclipse 2017 graduate Adrienne Bechtel's record of 24.64 in 2017.
"I really like the 50 free. It's a good sprint," Moncolova said. "I would like to get the 50 free record before the end of the season."
Moncolova is part of two relay records with the program: the 200 free relay from state two years ago and the 400 free relay of 3:46.33 in her freshman season.
"I would say the relays are fun, but I also like swimming in the individual events and pushing myself to do my best," she said. "The 200 free relay is our best (this year) but it's pretty competitive so we might do better in the 400 (free relay).
"I like the individual aspects of the sport when you are controlling your own swimming and you are also pushing yourself every day. There also is a sense of team where in relays you need to swim well for yourself and your teammates. I also like that."
Moncolova and her teammates took part in the Northeast Classic on Jan. 12 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, which is the site of the state meet. The 200 free relay of Moncolova, senior Adelle Bechtel, junior Annie Volker and freshman Phoebe Ferguson finished 11th in 1:41.74.
"They did a great job of swimming at the Northeast Classic," coach Ferguson said. "That time, which wasn't tapered, can get them to state and we hope to get back there."
Moncolova has been swimming since she was 6 years old as a member of the Grandview Gators and with the Ohio State Swim Club. She sometimes competes in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly.
"The toughest thing about swimming is keeping up with the training," she said. "After two hours of practice you always are tightening up, but you still have to go strong at the end. Coach has taught me how to push forward through the end of practice."
The Bobcats compete in the MSL meet Saturday, Jan. 26, at Columbus Academy. Last season, the boys team was second (187 points) behind Academy (334) and the girls team was third (181) behind Academy (342) and Bexley (220).
Moncolova carries a GPA of better than 4.0 and plans to major in a science- or mathematics-related field in college, where she likely will swim at the club level.
"I will definitely miss my teammates and coaches and being at the bigger swim meets and the experience of those," she said. "I'm still nervous to swim in big meets, but I feel a little more comfortable now in those environments. Hopefully, we'll be going back to state. That would be great."
Boys basketball team looks to get on track
The boys basketball team lost to Worthington Christian 43-32 on Jan. 18 to snap a two-game winning streak in the MSL-Ohio Division.
Since starting 3-0, the Bobcats have a pair of two-game losing streaks to go with a three-game winning streak and the recent two consecutive victories. They are 8-5 overall and 2-3 in the league entering their game Friday, Jan. 25, at Bexley, which beat the Bobcats 49-29 on Dec. 14.
Luke Lachey returned Jan. 15 after missing five games with mononucleosis. The junior forward scored 16 points in a 73-68 overtime win at Westland. Brian Collier led with 26 points and Manny Day had 20.
Jump continues to soar on mat
Hudson Jump remained unbeaten on the season and became the first member of the wrestling program to win a title in the Top Gun Invitational on Jan. 18 and 19 at Alliance.
Jump went 4-0 to finish first at 220 pounds and improve to 13-0 overall.
The Bobcats finished 33rd (35.5 points) behind champion Aurora (194.5) as 43 teams scored.
In the championship match, Jump defeated Bellefontaine's Bruno Pattison by a 25-10 technical fall. The senior won three matches by tech fall and another by pin.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 26 -- At Bexley. The Bobcats lost to the Lions 49-29 on Dec. 14.
*Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Whitehall. The Bobcats lost to the Rams 51-44 on Dec. 15.
Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Olentangy
*Jan. 25 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes
*Jan. 29 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
Jan. 25-26 -- Marion Pleasant Sally George Invitational