CANTON — Jordan Aurnou-Rhees and Nyah Funderburke helped propel the Columbus School for Girls swimming and diving team to a fourth-place finish in the Division II state meet that concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium.
The Unicorns totaled 136 points to finish behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (378), which won its 20th consecutive championship.
Aurnou-Rhees won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.23 seconds and was second in the 200 individual medley (2:02.71). It was the second consecutive title in the 100 fly for the junior after winning in 54.47 last season. She placed third in the 200 IM (2:02.94) last season.
“I was really nervous before (the 100 fly) because I just came out of the 200 IM,” Aurnou-Rhees said. “After a race like that, you don’t have time to talk to your coach. You just have to gear up and get ready to go.
“I was definitely more nervous this year because now people have expectations. It gives you a sense of urgency. The desire not to lose is greater than anything.”
Funderburke won the 50 freestyle in 23.46 and was third in the 100 fly (55.78). The sophomore had placed fifth in the 50 free (23.94) and fourth in the 100 fly (56.59) last season.
“I think for the 50 free, you have to minimize how many breaths you take,” Funderburke said. “I usually go for one (breath) down and one back, but (in the preliminary race), I went one down, two back. (In the final,) I went one down and one back. I think that helped me get the title.”
Also for CSG, Funderburke, Cosette Persall, Emily Dewolf and Aurnou-Rhees combined to place fifth in the 200 free relay (1:37.54) and sixth in the 400 free relay (3:35.7).
Grandview tied for 17th (34) as Phoebe Ferguson became the first freshman in either the Bobcats’ girls or boys programs to reach the awards podium by placing sixth in the 200 IM (2:07.85). The top eight finishers in each event reach the podium.
Olentangy Berlin also had a program first, as junior Grace Butcher reached the podium for the first-year Bears by placing sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.8). Berlin finished 33rd (19) as 53 teams scored.
Also finishing in the top eight was Columbus Academy’s 400 free relay of Sarah Cabre, Alexandra Butnariu, Lauren Klinefelter and Samantha Kass (seventh, 3:37.17).
Academy’s Eismann leads area boys at state
After having been disqualified in the 50 free earlier in the finals, Jacob Eismann bounced back with a pair of strong performances to lead Columbus Academy to a fifth-place finish (119) in the Division II state meet behind champion Hunting Valley University School (331) as 61 teams scored.
Eismann, who touched first in the 50 free but was ruled to have false-started, anchored the second-place 200 free relay (1:26.28) and placed third in the 100 backstroke (49.96). The senior was the defending co-champion in the 100 back (49.34), having shared the title last season with John Sampson of Bellbrook.
Canton Central Catholic’s Joey Mullen was awarded first in the 50 free (21.23).
“It’s unfortunate, but life goes on,” Eismann said. “It stings a little bit.”
Eismann was joined on the 200 free relay by Jack Campbell, Mike DeAscentis and Eric DeVore.
“Jacob came back very strong,” Academy coach Craig Yakscoe said. “He had a wonderful split in the (200) relay and almost tracked that kid down and gave it his all in the 100 backstroke.”
Eismann, Campbell, DeAscentis and DeVore opened the finals by finishing third in the 200 medley relay (1:35.16).
“It’s not really how I thought it would end, but I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Eismann, a University of Kentucky recruit. “I gave it my all.”
Also for the Academy, the 400 free relay of DeAscentis, Campbell, DeVore and James Cao placed sixth (3:17.07) and DeAscentis was eighth in the 100 free (48.63).
As a sophomore, Eismann was part of the Vikings’ 200 medley relay that finished first but was disqualified for a premature start on the final stroke.