Andrew Bernsdorf made his presence known in the Division I district boys swimming and diving meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State, and he wants to do the same at state.
The Westerville North High School senior set a meet and program record of 1 minute, 49.64 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley to advance to state Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Bernsdorf also was runner-up in the 500 freestyle in 4:33.17, and he's seeded sixth in both of his state events. He will be joined by Janessa Mathews, who qualified in the girls 100 breaststroke.
Despite the record-setting time and district title in the 200 IM, Bernsdorf said he has room for improvement.
"I actually thought it was kind of a sloppy swim," he said. "If I'm being completely honest, I felt kind of nervous before the race. I felt like I was almost dreaming during the race and didn't feel like I was in the moment.
"(This) week I definitely feel like I can clean things up in the breaststroke and also be a lot faster in the freestyle. On my breaststroke breakout, I kind of missed my stroke and put my hands out of the water. I went 26.6 (in the freestyle leg) and I should be at 25.6 so there is a second that I can shave off (this) week. Overall, I'll get more rest so I'll be better (this) week, but (for district), this was incredible."
Ever the perfectionist, Bernsdorf also saw some things he could tinker with in the 500 free before competing at state.
"The 500 free was a little different," he said. "There were five of us competing with each other (for the lead) and holding a slower pace. I felt like I could be way faster in the middle, but I brought it home pretty well. I was disappointed because I feel like because we had lower splits, I didn't give everything that I had. I will use that as motivation (this) week and be better."
Last year, Bernsdorf finished fifth in the 500 free (4:33.8) at state.
Coach Rich Morris continues to be impressed with Bernsdorf's performances.
"The star of the show was Andrew because he had such a great (200 IM) swim, and there is more coming," Morris said. "He's capable of going faster.
"We had a plan and he executed it well. He warmed up that way and swam the race that way. He is very focused and he stays within himself. He knows there are bigger things ahead this week, and he can control the day."
The boys finished 12th (60 points) at district behind champion Dublin Jerome (301) as 27 teams scored.
Mathews returns to state in the 100 breast after finishing third at district in 1:05.0 to earn the 12th seed. Last year, she finished third in 1:01.6.
The junior also competed in the 200 IM at district, but did not advance after finishing 13th in 2:13.27. The girls finished 12th (63) behind champion Upper Arlington (306) as 27 teams scored.
"I thought we swam well and we had 21 best times including relay splits," Morris said. "It was a good day for us overall."
Wrestlers fall just short of league title
For the third consecutive season, the wrestling team battled Olentangy Liberty for the OCC-Buckeye Division championship in the league finale.
The host Warriors fell short for the third time, losing 34-32 on Feb. 14 in a dual that came down to the final match. That's the reason coach David Grant still could take positives from the loss.
Grant thought his wrestlers gave everything they had and came away with an experience that only can be beneficial in postseason bouts.
"It doesn't help tonight, but we want to be in the (league championship) hunt every year," said Grant, whose team lost to Liberty 35-25 last season and 56-9 in 2017. "(Liberty's) Mark (Marinelli) is a great coach, and he runs a great program. We want to compete with the best, and I'm glad we had a chance tonight."
The teams were tied at 29 with two matches remaining. North's Jacob Goldsmith rallied from a 7-1 deficit to defeat Kaden Tong 12-8 at 220 pounds, and Liberty heavyweight Brady Kuhn pinned Derek Byron in 3:06 to give the Patriots the victory.
"It's very disappointing that we didn't win it (as a team)," said Goldsmith, whose squad finished 4-1 in the OCC-Buckeye, behind the Patriots (5-0). "We have to learn from this and grow."
Also winning for the Warriors were Caden Crist (152), Connor Euton (132), Jake Gooding (120), Gabe Ohle (113), Mitch Potterf (195) and Eli Williams (160).
The postseason begins Saturday, Feb. 23, with a Division I sectional at Watkins Memorial. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to district March 1 and 2 at Hilliard Darby.
"I'm coming off knee surgery from last summer so I missed the first month of the season," Goldsmith said. "I'm excited to be going into the postseason. I just have to keep working hard."
Last season, the Warriors had 10 wrestlers advance to district.
"Nobody is injured, and everyone is wrestling really well right now," Grant said. "We were in the (Liberty dual) down to the end against a team that is ranked sixth in the state. I think we're where we need to be. We have to shape up and be ready for sectional."
Boys basketball team awaits district foe
The boys basketball team has a 10-day layoff between games as it prepares for the Division I district tournament.
The 22nd-seeded Warriors were 11-10 overall before ending the regular season Feb. 19 against Jerome. They begin district play March 1 against 11th-seeded Logan or 28th-seeded Grove City in the second round.
North lost to Olentangy Orange 69-64 on Feb. 15 to finish 3-7 in the OCC-Buckeye. Jeremiah Keene had 26 points, Charles Perkins scored 14 and Philip Alston added 12.
Girls basketball team loses district opener
The girls basketball team lost at 13th-seeded Darby 53-42 on Feb. 16 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The 24th-seeded Warriors finished 9-14 overall.
Freshman forward Charia Smith led with 13 points, and sophomore guard Imari Martin scored 10. Senior guard Mikayla Martin scored eight, and junior guard Nia Hassey had seven.
North tied Olentangy for third (4-6) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Westerville South (10-0).
Also expected back are juniors Sidney Beverley (center), Jalyse Cornley (guard), Mollie Daubenmire (center), Riley Nolder (guard), Emylee Preston (guard) and Alyssa Wright (guard) and freshman Lauren Hildebrand (forward).
Below is the coming schedule for the North bowling teams:
Feb. 22 -- Division I girls sectional at HP Lanes. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district March 2 at HP Lanes.
Feb. 23 -- Division I boys sectional at HP Lanes. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district March 2 at HP Lanes.