Grove City High School senior Spencer Tussing capped his return to prep swimming by climbing the podium twice in the Division I state meet Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Tussing finished third in the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 32.25 seconds) and sixth in the 200 free (1:40.19) after spending the past two seasons with the Ohio State Swim Club.
As a freshman with the Greyhounds, Tussing finished 15th at state in the 500 free (4:39.59) and 22nd in the 200 free (1:44.95).
"I haven't (competed in) high school in two years, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen," Tussing said. "I swam freshman year and made the B final (in the 500 free) and I was glad to be in the big-boy heat this year. I had a lot of fun doing it and glad I could come out and swim as best as I could.
"It's so much fun, everybody gets excited. I've been to nationals and junior nationals and nothing compares to the atmosphere that's here. It's really like no other meet I've ever been to."
Tussing accounted for the boys team's 29 points, as the Greyhounds finished 24th behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (310) as 49 teams scored.
"(The 500 free) wasn't my best race, but I'm happy with the place I got," Tussing said. "My best time is 4:27, so I was a little bit off that. But I haven't (competed in) high school for a few years, so getting used to the scheduled event was pretty difficult. That turnaround from the 200 to the 500 really took a toll, but I think I did really well. I'm happy all things considered."
The University of Tennessee recruit entered the meet seeded fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free. At district Feb. 15 at Ohio State, Tussing won both the 500 free (4:32.33) and 200 free (1:40.07).
Freshman Hannah Routh represented the girls team at state, finishing 14th in the 100 backstroke (57.35).
"It was kind of cool to make it back (to the second day for the B final) because coming in I was seeded 19th, so I just had to (move up) three places and then I'd be in the finals," she said. "It was one of my goals to make it (to state). At district I was nervous because a lot of people are swimming faster. It was cool to actually make it here."
Routh scored three points at state, placing Grove City in a tie for 51st behind champion Mason (204) as 55 teams scored.
At district, Routh finished fifth in the 100 back (57.27) to earn an at-large berth to state. She also was 10th in the 100 butterfly (57.63).
"This year it was obviously my freshman year, so swimming with the high school team was cool," Routh said. "It was a new experience waking up early in the morning (and) going to swim practice. It was a different environment than club team is."
Four wrestlers qualify for district
The wrestling team will be well represented in the Division I district tournament, as four competitors advanced from a sectional Feb. 23 at Newark.
Hunter Barker led the Greyhounds at sectional, winning the title at 152 pounds. He pinned Newark's Draven Hopkins in the final in 3:30.
David Jordan advanced by finishing third at 120, and Triston Beane (106) and Brayden Benson (220) moved on by finishing fourth.
The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to compete Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at Hilliard Darby. At district, the top four finishers in each weight class advance to state March 7-9 at Ohio State.
Grove City finished seventh (106.5) in the 10-team sectional behind champion Olentangy Liberty (214.5).
"I'm really happy," Barker said. "The last match was a tough match, but I reversed him and stuck him. It will get a lot tougher and tough matches like that will prepare me. ... (Finishing in the) top four (at district) would be awesome and (being) a two-time state qualifier, that would be pretty sweet."
Barker qualified for state last year, going 0-2 at 152 to finish 38-14 for the season.
Also at sectional, senior Justin Swavely finished fifth at 138 and is a district alternate. He is a two-time district qualifier.
Nick Getz (195) and Brian Fisher (heavyweight) also finished fifth and are district alternates.
Boys basketball team rallies past Logan
First-year boys basketball coach Eric Saxton earned his first postseason win when the Greyhounds rallied to defeat 11th-seeded and host Logan 60-58 in overtime in a first-round Division I district tournament game Feb. 23.
Grove City trailed 51-37 early in the fourth quarter. Cole Crager's layup with 5 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 51 and forced overtime.
Brock Waits connected on eight of nine free throws in overtime and finished with 17 points. Sam Stoll had 13 points and Alex Coffey added 11.
"It was an amazing crowd and one of the most exciting high school games I have been a part of," Saxton said. "Our kids never gave up and believed in each other until the final buzzer. To win at Logan is a feat as they have a very loyal and loud fan base. There were only about 20 people that felt we could win that game, but those 20 players and coaches knew we could get it done."
The 28th-seeded Greyhounds improved to 10-13 and visit 22nd-seeded Westerville North in the second round Friday, March 1. The winner plays fourth-seeded Liberty or 39th-seeded Licking Heights in a semifinal Wednesday, March 6, at a neutral site.
The district final is March 9 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Gymnastics team caps season at district
The gymnastics team closed its season by finishing 14th (126.15) in the 24-team district meet Feb. 23 at Worthington Kilbourne behind state-qualifiers Thornville Sheridan (145.205), Dublin Jerome (139.8) and Olentangy (139.65).
Junior Anna Stoll led the Greyhounds, finishing 33rd in the all-around (32.55).
Freshman Emma Claypool tied for 60th in the all-around (30.5).
Others eligible to return are juniors Bailey Bennett and Madison Pepper, sophomores Kayley Donahoe, Gena Kuhn and Sophie Legue and freshmen Kayla Danton, Marissa Rock, Makala Stroud and Morgan Waterman.
The Greyhounds went 4-3 in OCC-Central Division duals and collected 20 points to finish fourth in the league behind champion Upper Arlington (30, 7-0).
Mark Hartley was named league Coach of the Year.