Charlie Ferguson is looking for more from himself when he competes for the Grandview Heights High School boys swimming and diving team in the Division II state meet.
The junior is returning to Branin Natatorium in Canton in the 200-yard individual medley and also will compete in the 100 butterfly. Last year, he placed 17th in the 200 IM.
Swimming preliminaries are Thursday, Feb. 21, and the finals are Friday, Feb. 22. Ferguson is seeded 11th in the 200 IM after setting a program record of 1 minute, 57.54 seconds while finishing second at district Feb. 14 at Ohio State, and he won the 100 fly at district in 52.61 and is seeded 19th.
"I thought I swam well despite being a little sick, but I was still able to get up and down and race," he said. "I have a cold, and hopefully that will be gone by the time I compete at state. I had good races, but there are still some things that I can work on.
"I need to finish stronger in the last 50 (yards in the 200 IM) and have more energy. I go out fast, so I need to have tight streamlines and better turns. I just need to focus on the little things.
"In the 100 fly, I need to get out and race. The next person was a few seconds behind me, so I want to be pushed and see what I can do. I feel my stroke technique and tempo are pretty solid. I just want a better race."
Ferguson will be the lone competitor at state for the boys, but the girls team saw senior Annie Volker, freshman Phoebe Ferguson, the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay advance.
The boys tied Athens for 11th (92) at district behind champion Columbus Academy (251) as 37 teams scored, and the girls were fourth (200.5) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (355) as 30 teams scored.
The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
"I think the excitement coming off sectional and having a positive week of practice helped us a lot," said coach Susan Ferguson, the mother of Charlie and Phoebe. "The kids had nerves, but they were confident going in and they swam well."
Phoebe Ferguson is seeded eighth in the 200 IM after finishing second at district in a program-record 2:07.74, and she is seeded 17th in the 500 free after her runner-up performance in a program-record 5:15.59. Volker is the 18th seed in the 100 backstroke after placing third at district in a program-record 59.91 and the 20th seed in the 200 free after taking third in a program-record 1:57.22.
Volker and Ferguson joined Adelle Bechtel and Martina Moncolova on both state-qualifying relays. They were second at district in the 200 free relay in a program-record 1:39.09 to earn the 10th seed at state, and they're seeded 12th in the 400 free relay after placing third in a program-record 3:40.62.
"As a team, everyone had their best swims of the year and we had an overall great meet," coach Ferguson said. "Martina qualified for another relay and is the first Grandview swimmer to go to state all four years.
"Freshman Sam Schaefer really swam well and had never been under a minute in the 100 free but went 57.7 (and tied for 13th at district). She keeps getting better every week and is also the alternate for both relays going to state."
Girls bowlers, Berlin advance to district
The girls bowling team earned the final qualifying position for the Division II district tournament Thursday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes.
The Bobcats were 12th (2,873) in a sectional Feb. 15 at HP Lanes behind champion Cardington (3,534). They will be joined by Luke Berlin, who advanced from the boys sectional Feb. 16 at HP Lanes.
At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The girls compete March 1 and the boys roll March 2.
Leila Meyer led the girls at sectional with a 483 to tie for 17th of 180 bowlers. Also rolling three games were Emily Bullock (430, 50th), Shea McHugh (425, 53rd) and Paige DeNiro (396, 73rd).
Berlin rolled a 558 to finish 24th of 190 bowlers. He was the eighth of 12 individual qualifiers.
The boys totaled 3,101 to finish 23rd of 32 teams behind champion Caledonia River Valley (4,047).
Noah Gangloff (467, tied for 76th), Adam Narcelles (428, 99th), Paul Hatem (403, tied for 109th) and Brett Holcomb (375, 120th) also competed.
Girls basketball team opens district play
The 12th-seeded girls basketball team was 6-14 overall before opening the Division III district tournament Feb. 19 against 14th-seeded Liberty Union.
The winner plays host to 18th-seeded Centerburg on Saturday, Feb. 23, in the second round. The Bobcats lost to the Trojans 38-28 on Feb. 9.
The second-round winner plays top-seeded Africentric, 22nd-seeded Fairbanks or 24th-seeded Fredericktown in a district semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 26, at a neutral site to be determined.
The Bobcats finished 1-7 in the MSL-Ohio Division, losing to Bexley 32-16 on Feb. 11 and Whitehall 47-19 on Feb. 15. Tayler Pierce scored 12 points against Bexley and Pelar Price had nine against Whitehall.
Wrestlers prepare for sectional tournament
The wrestling team begins the postseason Saturday, Feb. 23, in a Division III sectional at Madison Plains. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 1 and 2 at Rayland Buckeye Local.
Hudson Jump won his fourth consecutive league championship by going 3-0 at 220 pounds in the MSL-Ohio tournament Feb. 16 at Whitehall.
Jack Wallace also went 3-0 to win the league title at heavyweight.
The Bobcats went 0-3 to finish behind Bexley (3-0), Whitehall (2-1) and Academy (1-2). They lost to Whitehall 54-9, Bexley 60-18 and Academy 36-18.
Boys basketball team to begin district play
The sixth-seeded boys basketball team opens Division III district tournament play Monday, Feb. 25, at home against 18th-seeded Heath.
The winner plays ninth-seeded West Jefferson in the second round March 2 at the home of the better seed.
The Bobcats had won three consecutive games before closing the regular season Feb. 19 against Whitehall. They entered the game at 14-6 overall and 3-4 in the MSL-Ohio.
Grandview defeated Franklin Heights 63-36 on Feb. 12, Washington Court House 69-40 on Feb. 14 and Utica 58-17 on Feb. 16. Luke Lachey averaged 20 points in the three victories, followed by Brian Collier (14.3) and Manny Day (13.3).