Having young rosters that lack a lot of depth, the Groveport Madison High School boys and girls swimming and diving teams view the OCC-Capital Division meet on Saturday, Jan. 26, at New Albany as being a postseason tune-up for their top athletes.
The postseason begins Feb. 9 with a Division I sectional at one of three sites.
"We've got a handful of boys and girls we expect to swim well in the OCCs, but we have a lot of new swimmers and our depth is lacking," said Ilana Webber, who shares coaching duties for both teams with Kathleen Milling. "It is a team sport, but it's really not a team sport at the same time. With this being a building team, the lone goal for us in OCCs is just to do the best we can. After that, it truly breaks down to getting our best swimmers out of sectionals and into districts."
Senior Spencer Keane is the lone returning district qualifier for the boys team. He qualified for state last season in the 100-yard breaststroke, placing 22nd in 58.97 seconds. He also qualified for district in the 50 freestyle and placed 13th (22.22).
"I haven't swam the 50 free this year at all because I've been swimming the 100 free in addition to the breaststroke," Keane said. "We'll see what my times are at (the) OCC (meet) between my 100 and my split in the 200 free relay. Then I'll make up my mind about the sectional. But one (event) will be breaststroke.
"The season has gone pretty well to this point and I'm still increasing my load and rest. I'm hoping my taper will put me at the level I should be at the right time. I know I have better times in me."
Webber also expects good results from Jordan Murphy, Carl Giddens and Trevor Keane in the league meet.
"Jordan is a junior who should place in the 50 and 100 freestyles and Trevor has had a good freshman season," she said. "Trevor is very versatile and could cover a lot of events. He's strongest in breaststroke and freestyle and should place.
"Carl is a sophomore who really does a good job in relays with Spencer, Jordan and Trevor. He gives us a chance to score well in the medley relay and the 200 free relay."
Last season, the boys team totaled 74 points in the league meet to finish fourth behind New Albany (458.5), Big Walnut (278.5) and Canal Winchester (206) and ahead of Newark (55), while the girls team placed fifth (116) behind New Albany (459), Canal Winchester (295), Big Walnut (139) and Newark (126).
Webber is hoping juniors Madison Newsom and Jazlyn Winski and freshman Gabby Majaras have strong performances in the league and postseason meets.
"Madison is looking pretty good in the 500 free and she's also pretty versatile, so we haven't determined her other individual event just yet," Webber said. "Jazlyn will definitely be in the 100 breaststroke, but we're not sure if she'll go in the 50 or 100 free yet. Gabby will also be in the 100 breast and as well as the 50 free."
Joining that trio in the 200 free and 200 medley relays will be senior Haylee Ottman.
"Those are the two relays we think we have the best shot at," Webber said. "The 400 free relay is a little more difficult for the girls and boys teams."
Boys basketball team to play host to Indians
The boys basketball team will be looking to avenge a 66-44 loss to Canal Winchester when it plays host to the Indians on Friday, Jan. 25.
But that won't be easy, as Canal Winchester is one of the top teams in the district. The Indians were 14-0 overall before playing Westland on Jan. 22 and are 6-0 in the OCC-Capital.
In the first meeting Dec. 14, the game was tied at 25 at halftime.
The Cruisers improved to 9-6 overall and 3-3 in the league with a 72-42 win over host Franklin Heights on Jan. 18. Their game at St. Charles on Jan. 19 was postponed because of bad weather and has yet to be rescheduled.
Groveport, which played Pickerington North on Jan. 22, had four players score in double digits against Franklin Heights. Deahmi Guinn had 15 points to lead the way, followed by Scotty Lomax and Martez Knight with 11 points apiece and Javon Miller with 10. Elijah Monroe added eight points.
Girls basketball team notches fourth win
The girls basketball team defeated Franklin Heights 55-20 on Jan. 18 to improve to 4-12 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Capital.
The Cruisers, who lost to Whitehall 38-36 on Jan. 15, played Pickerington North on Jan. 22 and will visit Canal Winchester on Friday, Jan. 25.
Casey Humphrey had 14 points and Brooke Reese scored 11 against the Falcons, while Reina Rhone and Sha'Ron Whatley added eight points apiece.
Groveport led Whitehall 27-17 at halftime but was outscored 15-4 in the third quarter. Humphrey had 16 points and Reese scored 10.
Wrestling team rolls past Falcons
The wrestling team expected a tougher challenge at Big Walnut on Jan. 23 than it received in a 57-18 win at Franklin Heights on Jan. 17.
The Cruisers were 2-0 in the OCC-Capital before facing Big Walnut.
Groveport will compete in the Washington Court House Miami Trace Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26. The Cruisers were to compete in the Robin Drumm Invitational on Jan. 19 at Heath, but the event was canceled because of bad weather.
Against Franklin Heights, winning via pin were Jason Pinkston (113 pounds), Muhamad Conteh (120), Kaleb Thaxton (145), Jacob Cline (160), Johnathan Thompson (170), Skyler Mouser (182) and Jake Nelson (195).
Eli Jackson (106), Josh Aguon (126) and A.J. Joyce (220) won by decision.
Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester. The Cruisers lost to the Indians 66-44 on Dec. 14.
*Jan. 25 -- At Canal Winchester. The Cruisers lost to the Indians 56-26 on Dec. 14.
Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Horizon Science
*Jan. 25 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 28 -- Pickerington Central at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Capital swimming meet at New Albany
Jan. 26 -- Washington Court House Miami Trace Invitational