A year ago as a freshman, Lena Morgan of the Worthington Christian High School girls swimming and diving team came up just short of advancing to the Division II state meet in diving.
Morgan didn't endure the same disappointment this time, earning a runner-up finish at the district meet Feb. 14 at Ohio State to advance to the state meet Feb. 20 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The sophomore totaled a 553.6 score at district and was seeded second of 24 competitors at state, behind only Central District champion Jordan Skilken of Columbus Academy (568.15).
Although Morgan scored 514.45 at district last season -- a score which would have made her the No. 3 seed for last year's state competition -- she settled for third as only the top two advanced to state.
"I've had a lot of time to prepare for it and I'm just kind of taking it one step at a time," Morgan said.
At district, the girls finished 19th (17 points) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (366) as 30 teams scored and the boys tied for 16th (46) behind champion Academy (251) as 37 teams scored.
"I know they had (a diving) invitational (in early February) with 23 girls and (Morgan) finished second, and that was against Division I and II girls," coach Jim Peterfish said.
Competing in swimming at district for the girls team was the 200-yard medley relay of junior Anna Stathulis, freshman Morgan Lawrence and sophomores Mary Lake and Andrea Hess that placed 25th (2 minutes, 14.12 seconds).
Leading the boys team was senior Andrew Lawrence, who placed fifth in diving (265.2) as the top three advanced to state.
Junior Josh Stanfield placed seventh in diving (248.05) and freshman Isaac Myhal was eighth in the 100 butterfly (58.52), as the top eight finishers in each event reached the awards podium.
Freshman Micah Shemenski competed in two district events, including placing ninth in the 500 freestyle (5:23.82).
"Our swimmers did great," Peterfish said. "Isaac ended up eighth in the 100 fly and had a fantastic swim. Micah dropped 15 seconds in the 500 (free) and won his heat by a mile. Unfortunately, he just missed the podium. He had a great 200 (individual medley) as well. Our girls medley relay came in and broke our school record by over a second, and they've been kind of breaking it every time they swim. We only have three guys and two of them qualified here, but we have no chances for (boys) relays."
Bowling squads move on to district
The boys and girls bowling teams are set to compete in the Division II district tournament Thursday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament March 1 (girls) and March 2 (boys) at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
In sectional competition at HP Lanes where the top 12 teams advanced to district, the girls team placed ninth (3,046) of 31 teams, behind champion Cardington (3,534), on Feb. 15, and the boys were 10th (3,513) of 32 teams, behind champion Caledonia River Valley (4,047), on Feb. 16.
The girls team was led by junior Natalie Opava, who placed fourth of 180 competitors with a 542 three-game series. She was followed by sophomore Lilly Marsh and junior Amber Ralston, who tied for 38th (450).
Junior Coral Varian and sophomore Emily Weishaar both played in two games and sophomore Hope Nyland rolled one game.
Senior Gary Rowda led the boys team, finishing 22nd (561) of 190 competitors. Freshman Noah Dirscherl, sophomore Mason Marsh and junior Caleb Slagle also completed in three games and freshman Jonah Varian rolled one game.
Boys basketball team to open postseason
The second-seeded boys basketball team opens the Division III district tournament with a first-round game Monday, Feb. 25, at home against 19th-seeded Northridge.
The winner plays host to 22nd-seeded Mount Gilead in the second round March 2.
The Warriors were 16-4 overall before playing Newark Catholic on Feb. 19. They beat Bexley 57-48 on Feb. 15 to finish runner-up in the MSL-Ohio Division at 5-3, behind Academy (6-2).
D.J. Moore had 16 points, Drew Faieta scored 14 and Tyler Kindberg added 11 for Worthington Christian, which built a 31-24 halftime lead on its way to avenging a 59-57 loss to Bexley on Jan. 12.
Junior guard Derrick Hardin, who has been another of the Warriors' top players, has been out with an injury but could return for the postseason, according to coach Kevin Weakley.
"(Senior guard Jake) Nowak has really come along on both sides of the ball and has taken a lot of pressure off of D.J.," Weakley said. "(Junior guard Steven) Spayde and Drew Faieta have played well in (Hardin's) absence."
Girls basketball team preps for tourney
On Saturday, Feb. 23, the second-seeded girls basketball team will play host to 15th-seeded Academy or 17th-seeded CSG in a second-round Division III district tournament game.
The winner plays third-seeded Cardington, eighth-seeded Ready or 20th-seeded North Union in a district semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 26, at a site to be announced. The district final is March 1 at Ohio Dominican.
On Feb. 16, the Warriors beat Academy 41-29 to improve to 20-2 overall and wrap up the MSL-Ohio championship outright at 7-1.
Worthington Christian, which built a 26-15 halftime lead and held the Vikings to three third-quarter points, enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak.
Blessing King had 15 points, Katherine Weakley scored 10 and Mianna Hartings added nine against Academy.
Cardington is 19-3 and features one of the area's top players in 6-foot-3 post player Casey Bertke. Last winter, the Pirates were the No. 2 seed but were upset in a district semifinal to finish 22-2.
"(Cardington is) good, long, big and has good guard play," coach Chris Joseph said. "They know how to play."