Shawn Jacobsen became just the second swimmer in the history of Centennial High School to qualify for state, and he did it with a pair of record-breaking performances.
The senior will compete in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 free in the Division II boys state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Swimming preliminaries are Thursday, Feb. 21, and the finals are Friday, Feb. 22.
Jacobsen set school records while placing second in both events in the district meet Feb. 14 at Ohio State. The runner-up finishes earned him two automatic berths to state.
"After pulling ligaments in my left ankle during soccer, which put me behind about two months in my workouts, I never expected at the beginning of the season to get to state," Jacobsen said. "So this means a lot to me. I was astonished to get automatic berths, even though I was seeded second in both of my events. Usually, someone who is seeded in the third through sixth positions held back at sectional and comes out of nowhere at district. I was just hoping I could get at-large bids."
While the top two finishers in each event automatically qualified for state, 16 at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Jacobsen finished the 50 free in 21.85 seconds to break the mark of 22.24 he set in a sectional Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington. He finished the 100 free in 48.64 to lower his own mark of 49.98, which he set last season.
"Our district is traditionally one of the slowest, so it was important that Shawn earn automatic berths," coach Leanne Rubadue said. "Very few at-large berths come from this district (in Division II). He kept his eyes on (Watterson's Michael Vondran) because he had never beaten him before, but he knew that he had to in order to get to the automatic qualifier and not risk trying to get an at-large berth."
Vondran was third in the 50 free (22.1) and Olentangy Berlin's Ben Paull was third in the 100 free (49.7).
Last year at state, 2018 graduate Daniel Edgington placed 14th in diving. He was a two-time state qualifier.
Aaron Maharry, a 2013 graduate, was the first Centennial swimmer to advance to state. He was a three-time state qualifier, advancing in the 100 breaststroke as a sophomore and junior and in the 50 free as a senior.
"We've had two divers qualify to state and (Edgington) did it twice," Rubadue said. "Shawn became our second swimmer to qualify to state. Next year, maybe we can add to those numbers. Alec Proudfoot finished fourth in diving (at district) and the top three qualified to state. He had one bad dive and still nearly made it out and he's a freshman."
Jacobsen also was on the fifth-place 200 free relay (1:35.87) and seventh-place 200 medley relay (1:49.23) with Kyle Juracich, Andrew Smith and Nathan Massey. The Stars totaled 112 points to finish seventh behind champion Columbus Academy (251) as 37 teams scored.
"It's really special to find out that I'm just the second (Centennial swimmer) to make it to state," Jacobsen said. "It means all the hard work finally paid off. But I am sad that our relays didn't make it through. But my coaches and family will be there and I know my teammates will be in school physically, but be with me in spirit."
Girls basketball team opens postseason
The girls basketball team finished the regular season 10-12 after losing to Independence 55-36 on Feb. 13.
The Stars were seeded 20th in the Division II district tournament and played at 17th-seeded Sparta Highland in the first round Feb. 19. The winner plays at second-seeded Granville in the second round Friday, Feb. 22, and that winner advances to a district semifinal against ninth-seeded Caledonia River Valley, 11th-seeded Heath or 13th-seeded Bexley on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at a neutral site to be determined.
The Stars lost to Granville 71-26 on Nov. 27, but did not play Bexley, Heath or River Valley in the regular season.
Shamara Bridges and Tyler Johnson scored eight points apiece against Independence.
Boys basketball team preps for Panthers
The boys basketball team is hoping the third time will be different when it plays host to 12th-seeded Linden-McKinley in the first round of the Division II district tournament Monday, Feb. 25.
The Stars, who are seeded 11th, lost both City League-North Division contests to the Panthers, falling 61-56 at home Jan. 11 when they were outscored 9-1 down the stretch and 62-46 on Feb. 5.
The winner plays at ninth-seeded Bexley in the second round March 2.
Centennial is 11-10 after beating visiting Cristo Rey 97-35 on Feb. 15. Myles Martinez scored 37 points and Amin Mullins added 17.
DiPaolo, Hicks lead wrestlers in City
The wrestling team will compete in a Division II sectional Saturday, Feb. 23, at Licking Valley.
The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to district March 1 and 2 at Heath.
Three Stars placed in the City tournament Feb. 16 at Mifflin, as Centennial totaled 27 points to finish 11th behind Walnut Ridge (238), Northland (128), East (122), Whetstone (106), South (96), Mifflin (89), West (86), Marion-Franklin (78), Linden (69) and Beechcroft (54) and ahead of Briggs (7).
Senior Flaviano DiPaolo (145 pounds) and junior Kyle Hicks (138) both placed fourth and freshman Nate Foley (170) was sixth.
Bowling teams set for sectional
The boys and girls bowling teams begin the Division I postseason this week at HP Lanes.
The girls will be among 38 teams in the sectional Friday, Feb. 22, and the boys will be in a 43-team field Saturday, Feb. 23. In each tournament, the top 16 teams and top 16 bowlers not on qualifying teams will advance to district March 2 at HP Lanes.
The girls team has been led by Kylie Crissinger-Acuna with a 154.7 average. She is followed by Jeslin Deets (143.2), Izabelle Segovia (137.8) and Sarah Clifton (130.6).
Joe Thies leads the boys team at 184.1, followed by A.J. Grumbling (160.9), Nick Loudner (155.7) and Vincent Flinders (145.6).