Senior Hannah Beavers isn't having trouble finding motivation this winter.
The 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke specialist for the Olentangy Liberty High School girls swimming and diving team committed to the University of Toledo during the offseason and understands that if her times continue to improve, it could add to her scholarship money.
Having to battle through a right knee injury isn't tempering her goals either.
"Currently I have a knee injury, so I've been in physical therapy," Beavers said. "It's more training. Sometimes I'll have to take a step back and regroup, but I feel like this year I've been able to work harder than in the past. Just because I have an injury doesn't mean I'm not going to be able to compete as fast. I try not to make a big deal about (the injury)."
Beavers has had to overcome obstacles in the past as well.
As a freshman, she turned in a ninth-place finish in the 100 fly (58.77 seconds) in the Division I district meet, but she didn't advance individually to district as a sophomore as she battled bronchitis.
Last winter at district, Beavers swam nearly the same time in the 100 fly that she did as a freshman, finishing in 58.78, but placed 17th and also was 17th in the 100 back (1:00.69). In addition, she swam the fly portion of the 200 medley relay that placed 10th (1:52.13) and featured three other athletes who were lost to graduation.
On Jan. 12 in the Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton, the Patriots finished 18th (30) of 48 teams behind champion North Canton Hoover (243) as the 200 medley relay of Beavers, juniors Lydia Colvin and Kate Saczawa and freshman Kirin Loughrey placed 14th (1:54.02).
Saczawa was third in the 100 back (56.78) and seventh in the 50 freestyle (24.33), and the 200 free relay of Saczawa, sophomores Holly Gabriel and Brooke Kleinschmidt and freshman Meggie Gehring placed 16th (1:44.72).
"We had some big losses (to graduation from last season), but with me and Kate Saczawa, we've been able to hold the team (together)," Beavers said. "Our goals for relays are to make it to district and then hopefully make it to state. This year my goal is to make it to state (individually). I'm faster at butterfly, but my backstroke is pretty comparable with the place I usually get."
Beavers will compete in her final OCC-Buckeye Division meet Saturday, Jan. 26, at Thomas Worthington after both the boys and girls teams won league titles last season.
Seniors Christopher Trace-well and Alexander Wisler have helped guide the boys team this winter.
In the Northeast Classic, the boys scored 121 points to place ninth of 42 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome (232) as sophomore diver Jack Matthews led with a runner-up finish (502.15). Junior John Bently was fourth in the 100 free (47.38) and seventh in the 50 free (21.71), junior Max Miller was 16th in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.49), Wisler was 17th in the 100 fly (53.18) and 18th in the 50 free (22.37), Tracewell was 19th in the 200 free (1:49.43) and junior Eli Grubbs was 19th in the 200 individual medley (2:04.21).
In addition, the 200 free relay of Tracewell, Grubbs, junior Blake Overly and sophomore Christian Hosler was eighth (1:30.52), the 200 medley relay of Bently, Grubbs, Wisler and junior Max Miller placed sixth (1:38.97) and the 400 free relay of Bently, Hosler, Overly and Wisler finished seventh (3:17.13).
"It's been going really well," said Tracewell, who is hoping to walk on to Miami University's swimming team next year. "I've seen a lot of improvement this year with our work ethic, and that's showing in our times. I think our medley relay is really strong and we have a lot of good 50 freestylers and 100 flyers."
Wrestlers prep for Wadsworth tourney
The wrestling team should face some of its toughest competition of the regular season when it plays host to Massillon Perry on Friday, Jan. 25, and then travels to the Grizzly Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Wadsworth.
Last season, the Patriots lost to Perry 35-32.
The field at Wadsworth will include perennial Division II power St. Paris Graham as well as strong teams from northeast Ohio such as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Chagrin Falls Kenston, Aurora and Ashtabula Lakeside.
"It's a grinder," coach Mark Marinelli said.
The Patriots improved to 3-0 in the OCC-Buckeye with a 62-11 victory over Westerville South on Jan. 17. They conclude league action Feb. 7 at home against Westerville Central and Feb. 14 at Westerville North.
Junior Kaden Tong (220 pounds), who missed about a month with injury, recently returned to add depth to a lineup that has been led by seniors Carson Kharchla (182) and Connor Brady (170). Brady and Kharchla are undefeated.
Senior Brady Kuhn (heavyweight), junior Austin Bensman (138) and sophomore Jayce Fitzpatrick (145) also have been standouts, according to Marinelli.
"Our whole team, we're pretty happy with," Marinelli said. "I wouldn't say we've maximized our performance yet, but we're getting close to that. We're getting to where the kids are overachieving instead of underachieving. We've got a few other kids that are hopefully going to surprise some people."
Gymnasts tuning up for league meet
The gymnastics team has just one additional meet Feb. 4 at Hilliard Davidson before the OCC-Buckeye meet is held Feb. 9 at Thomas.
Liberty has been scoring between 115 and 122 most of the season.
On Jan. 12 in the McGee Invitational at Jerome, the Patriots finished 13th (118.25) of 17 teams behind champion Mentor (139.525). They scored 122 to finish seventh in the 12-team Worthington Kilbourne Invitational on Jan. 5 behind champion Hudson (137.275) and had a 122.075 in a meet Jan. 2 at Dublin Scioto.
Seniors Abigail Archer and Chelsea Naples, junior Noelle Meeker, sophomore Katie DiSalle and freshmen Beth Finn and Kenna Henry have been among the team's top scorers.
In the McGee Invitational, Naples scored 8.45 on floor exercise and led the Patriots' all-around with a 30.9 to place 37th. DiSalle scored 8.05 on vault, Henry had an 8.2 on floor and Archer scored 7.9 on floor.
On Jan. 9, Liberty scored 115.8 to finish behind Olentangy (134.7) and ahead of Westerville Central (108.05) and Big Walnut (106.85) as Naples scored 8.1 on floor, 8.1 on vault and 7.65 on balance beam and Henry added an 8.05 on floor.
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Westerville South. The Patriots beat the Wildcats 69-62 on Dec. 14.
Jan. 26 -- Pickerington North in Ohio Scholastic Play by Play Classic at Pickerington Central
*Jan. 25 -- At Westerville South. The Patriots lost to the Wildcats 67-46 on Dec. 13.
*Jan. 24 -- Orange at Capri Lanes
Jan. 26 -- Jaguar Baker Marathon at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl
*Jan. 29 -- Big Walnut at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 25 -- New Albany at Chiller North. The Patriots lost to the Eagles 3-1 on Nov. 30 and beat the Eagles 4-3 in overtime Jan. 5.
*Jan. 27 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Northland Ice Center
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Thomas Worthington
Jan. 25 -- Home vs. Massillon Perry
Jan. 26 -- Grizzly Invitational at Wadsworth