Kael Gannon and Lucas Pape led the Delaware Hayes High School boys swimming team into the Division I district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State.
Overall, the Pacers had five individuals and two relays qualify for district from a sectional Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington.
"The boys were very happy with their results," coach Jordan Nicol said. "They started the meet strong and kept dropping time."
At sectional, Gannon won the 100-yard butterfly in 52.79 seconds to earn an automatic district berth and earned an at-large berth in the 50 freestyle by placing second (22.19), while Pape earned a pair of at-large berths in individual events by placing third in the 100 free (49.44) and fourth in the 50 free (22.8).
"Kael posted an impressive time drop in the 100 fly, winning the event and coming close to the school record," Nicol said. "Lucas had great swims for his senior year and it was good to see him qualify in both of his individual events."
Also advancing to district were the 200 free relay of Gannon, Caleb Bucher, Aidan Stojkov and Pape (second, 1:30.53), the 200 medley relay of Stojkov, Paul Carter, Gannon and Pape (third, 1:40.45), Carter in the 100 breaststroke (sixth, 1:03.28) and both Stojkov (seventh, 57.19) and Bucher (eighth, 58.86) in the 100 backstroke.
Scheduled to compete in diving at district on Feb. 14 were Sam Sulek and Mark Sulek.
The girls team was expected to compete in 11 swimming events at district, including two individual events apiece by Elizabeth Abahazi, Rena Ouyang, Valerie Keller and Kailyn Smith and all three relays.
The Pacers' top finishes at sectional were by the 200 free relay of Keller, Smith, Abahazi and Ouyang (second, 1:41.5), the 400 free relay of Maddie Richardson, Lauren Ertz, Hannah Kelly and Ouyang (third, 3:53.15) and the 200 medley relay of Abahazi, Richards, Smith and Keller (fourth, 1:52.9).
Abahazi placed fifth in the 500 free (5:31.98) and seventh in the 200 free (2:02.52), Smith was sixth in the 100 fly (1:00.5) and 11th in the 50 free (25.44), Ouyang placed seventh in the 100 fly (1:00.96) and tied for ninth in the 50 free (25.38) with Keller, who also placed 10th in the 100 free (55.56).
Scheduled to compete in diving on Feb. 15 were Kelsie Keeder and Isabel Crissinger.
"The girls posted a lot of season- and career-best times," Nicol said. "We have a strong group moving to districts in individual events as well as relays. The girls have been working very hard at practice and got to see some results of that work (at sectional)."
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event, the top four boys divers and the top five girls divers automatically advanced to the state meet that runs Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large berths were awarded in each swimming event based on times statewide.
At sectional, the boys team finished fifth (125) of 12 teams, behind champion New Albany (358), and the girls were fourth (141) of 13 teams, behind champion New Albany (363).
Gymnasts finish sixth in OCC meet
The gymnastics team placed sixth in the OCC-Cardinal meet Feb. 9 at Thomas.
The Pacers posted a 128.75 to finish behind Dublin Jerome (138.9), Olentangy Berlin (136.55), Hilliard Darby (135.425), Worthington Kilbourne (134.9) and Hilliard Bradley (131.175) and ahead of Thomas (124.175) and Dublin Scioto (75.85).
Freshman Rachel White placed seventh in the all-around with a 34.275 and senior Elise Mays finished 14th (32.825). Mays placed fifth on floor exercise with a 9.0 and White finished eighth (8.95).
"Rachel was consistent and had top 10 placements in all the events and Elise did well in everything but (uneven) bars," coach Heather Besselman said. "We had a rough start on (balance) beam as a team, but we finished the day pretty well overall for a young team."
Delaware went 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal regular-season duals and finished sixth in the overall league standings with 12 points, behind Jerome (31, 6-1), Darby (27, 6-1), Berlin (25, 5-2), Kilbourne (21, 5-2) and Bradley (16, 3-4) and ahead of Thomas (8, 1-6) and Scioto (4, 0-7).
The Pacers will compete in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 23, at Kilbourne. The top three teams advance to the team state meet March 1 at Bradley and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advance to the individual state meet March 2 at Bradley.
Wrestling team 'turning it on'
The wrestling team still had a chance to earn a share of the OCC-Cardinal championship entering its league finale against visiting Berlin on Feb. 14.
The Pacers were 5-1 in the league after defeating Bradley 55-10 on Feb. 7. Darby was 6-0 before facing Bradley on Feb. 14.
"I feel really good about where we are," co-coach Kevin Rieman said. "We seem to be turning it on and peaking at the right time. Many athletes fall off at this time of year due to being worn down. Our guys seem fresh and ready to go for the postseason."
Senior Zach Williams (138 pounds) and juniors Corbin May (182) and Mason Sutandar (170) all won titles to help the Pacers finish second (167.5 points) behind Marysville (187) in the 18-team All-North Tournament on Feb. 9 at Jerome.
Senior Jacob McCloskey (195) and junior Nathan Robinson (220) both placed second, junior Emmett Cain finished fifth and junior Zachary Pokorny (heavyweight) and sophomores Tamas Eder (106) and Ryan Chupko (126) all placed sixth.
Entering Feb. 14, Williams was 30-3 on the season, McCloskey was 30-10, Cain was 35-11, May was 28-5, Robinson was 28-13, Sutandar 15-4, Eder was 21-16 and sophomore Clay Ours was 18-8.
Delaware is preparing for a 10-team Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 23, at Watkins Memorial, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 1 and 2 at Darby.
Boys basketball team preps for postseason
The boys basketball team is seeded 20th of 47 teams in the Division I district tournament will play host to 24th-seeded Westerville Central in the first round Saturday, Feb. 23.
The winner plays at 13th-seeded Olentangy Orange in the second round March 1.
The Pacers defeated Licking Heights 69-33 on Feb. 12 and were 14-6 overall and 8-5 in the OCC-Cardinal before the league finale Feb. 15 at Berlin. They closed the regular season Feb. 16 against Marion Harding.
Delaware led Licking Heights 33-24 at halftime and pulled away by outscoring the Hornets 23-3 in the third quarter. Paul Burris had 20 points, Jwan Lyles scored 14 and Jack Weller scored 10.
Nate Griggs had 12 points, Addison Harvey scored 11 and Terin Kinsway had nine points and seven rebounds in a 47-42 overtime loss to visiting Jerome on Feb. 8.
Girls team preps for tourney opener
The girls basketball team defeated Licking Heights 62-53 on Feb. 13 to finish the regular season 11-11.
The Pacers are seeded 29th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and had a first-round bye. They will play at 10th-seeded Olentangy Liberty or at home against 32nd-seeded Olentangy in the second round Friday, Feb. 22.
The second-round winner faces ninth-seeded Hilliard Davidson, 21st-seeded New Albany or 28th-seeded Lancaster in a district semifinal Feb. 27.
Against Licking Heights, Alexis Amabile had 28 points and Jordan Lantz scored 15.
Bowlers set to roll into postseason
The bowling teams will compete in their respective Division I sectional tournaments this week at HP Lanes.
The girls compete Friday, Feb. 22, followed by the boys the next day. At sectional, the top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes.