Moments after touching the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle and celebrating what he thought was his second Division II state title, Columbus Academy swimmer Jacob Eismann was disqualified for a false start Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
The senior quickly refocused and closed his prep career with a pair of strong efforts to climb the podium two more times.
Eismann anchored the 200 free relay to a second-place finish (1 minute, 26.28 seconds) and then placed third in the 100 backstroke (49.96).
"I'm a little emotional," he said. "The past four years have been great on this team. I'm lost for words."
Eismann was joined on the 200 free relay by seniors Jack Campbell and Eric DeVore and junior Mike DeAscentis.
"Jacob came back very strong," coach Craig Yakscoe said. "He had a wonderful split in the (200 free) relay and almost tracked that kid down and gave it his all in the 100 backstroke.
"He's been maturing and understanding those things happen and you just have to carry on. It stinks, but it happens. You have to move on, you have to focus on the next race and he did that so well."
Yakscoe said that after reviewing video of the 50 free, it appeared to be the correct call.
Eismann, Campbell, DeVore and DeAscentis opened the finals by finishing third in the 200 medley relay (1:35.16). Campbell, DeVore, DeAscentis and junior James Cao closed the meet by finishing sixth in the 400 free relay (3:17.07).
DeAscentis also was eighth in the 100 free (48.63).
The boys finished fifth (119 points) behind champion Hunting Valley University (331) as 61 teams scored.
Last season, Eismann tied Bellbrook's John Sampson for first in the 100 back (49.34) for the program's first title. As a sophomore, Eismann was a member of the 200 medley relay that touched first but was disqualified for a premature start to the final stroke.
"It's unfortunate, but life goes on," Eismann said after the 50 free. "It stings a little bit."
Canton Central Catholic's Joey Mullen was awarded first (21.23).
Academy loses several key athletes to graduation, with seven seniors on both the boys and girls teams. Eismann will compete at the University of Kentucky.
"They're a special group," Yakscoe said. "When Jacob finished the backstroke and the boys finished the (400) relay and same with the girls, I teared up. They're a special group of kids. They're good swimmers, they're fine young men and women and they're going to be missed."
Skilken leads girls at state
In the girls state meet, senior diver Jordan Skilken earned her fourth podium finish after entering the competition Feb. 20 as the top seed.
Skilken finished third (472.4) behind Pepper Pike Orange's Janie Boyle (483.7) and Worthington Christian's Lena Morgan (479.85). Skilken and Morgan are teammates on the Ohio State Diving Club.
"My family was there and my good friends on my team were there, so it was a fun day," said Skilken, who will dive at Texas. "There wasn't a lot of pressure. I was just trying to dive the best I could and see how it goes. I'm a little bit disappointed, but there's always room for improvement, so I'm happy with how it went."
Skilken placed second (452.45) last season, fourth (428.1) as a sophomore and second (459.75) as a freshman.
Her latest effort helped the Vikings finish ninth (61) behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (378) as 53 teams scored. It was Hawken's 20th consecutive state title.
Seniors Sarah Cabre and Samantha Kass and freshmen Alexandra Butnariu and Lauren Klinefelter were seventh in the 400 free relay (3:37.17), Cabre, Kass, Klinefelter and junior Annalise Grammel were 11th in the 200 free relay (1:40.03) and Cabre, senior Inji Kang and juniors Whitney Hannallah and Abby Yakam were 15th in the 200 medley relay (1:51.68).
Kass finished 12th in the 100 free (53.5) and 20th in the 50 free (24.77), Klinefelter was 18th in the 100 butterfly (58.21) and Cabre was 24th in the 200 individual medley (2:14.16).
Boys basketball team opens postseason
The fourth-seeded boys basketball team was 17-4 before opening the Division III district tournament Feb. 25 at home against 21st-seeded Marion Elgin.
The winner plays 12th-seeded Wellington or 20th-seeded Horizon Science in the second round Saturday, March 2, at the home of the better seed. Academy defeated Wellington 62-50 on Feb. 11 and Horizon Science 68-28 on Jan. 17.
The second-round winner plays seventh-seeded Africentric, 23rd-seeded Madison Plains or 24th-seeded Grove City Christian in a semifinal Tuesday, March 5, at a neutral site.
The district final is March 8 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Freshman leads wrestlers to district
Freshman Gyvnn Mendenhall led the wrestling team in a 12-team Division III sectional Feb. 23 at Madison Plains, winning the title at 195 pounds to advance to district Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at Rayland Buckeye Local.
Mendenhall pinned Ready's Jacob Robinson in the final in 5:32. Finishing second and also advancing to district were Chris Sugar (132), Eric Menq (170) and Ethan Stahl (182).
Zara Syed (113), Keir Gorospe (126) and Matt Comisar (152) are district alternates after finishing fifth.
At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to state March 7-9 at Ohio State.
Girls basketball team concludes season
The girls basketball team closed the season with a 49-22 loss at second-seeded Worthington Christian in a Division III district tournament second-round game Feb. 23.
Freshman point guard Sophie Spolter led Academy with eight points. The 15th-seeded Vikings finished 10-12 overall.
Academy played host to its first postseason game Feb. 19 and defeated 17th-seeded Columbus School for Girls 45-33 as Spolter scored 13 points.
Spolter was named first-team all-MSL-Ohio Division and forward Shelemiah Crockett, who was one of four seniors, was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return are juniors Emma Belford (guard), Mackenzie Smith (guard) and Alex Phelps (guard), sophomores Charlotte Adams (forward), Suzy L'Hommedieu (guard) and Kayla McClendon (guard) and freshmen Aniah Crockett (guard) and Claudia Warstler (forward).
Academy went 1-7 in the MSL-Ohio to tie Grandview for fourth behind champion Worthington Christian (7-1).
"We're very excited about where the program is going and the kids' hard work to get us here," coach Ron McClendon said. "We go from one win (in the 2016-17 season) to one win in the tournament (last season) and now another (tournament) win plus a home (postseason) game. That's huge for us."