Andrew Bernsdorf earned two medals in his final trip to the Division I state swimming and diving meet, but the Westerville North High School senior came away with more -- satisfaction.
Bernsdorf placed third in the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 49.29 seconds) and fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:33.6) on Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. He had faster times in the preliminary races Feb. 22, going a program-record 1:49.05 in the 200 IM and 4:33.56 in the 500 free, but remained positive despite not reaching his goal of a state title.
"I would grade this as a success," Bernsdorf said. "I set a goal a year ago to win a state title. I did everything I could. I did extra. I went to every lift and gave it my all.
"I didn't win state, but I can happily look back and say I gave everything I could. I would grade this as an 'A.' If I'd have been 16th and added 47 seconds, I'd have been happy because I gave everything I could."
Bernsdorf was fifth in the 500 free (4:33.8) last year, and he finished 10th in the 500 free (4:37.42) and tied for 11th in the 200 IM (1:54.18) as a sophomore. He was 18th in the 200 IM (1:57.09) as a freshman.
"Andrew had a plan, stuck to it and swam as hard as he could," fourth-year coach Rich Morris said. "He swam 1:49s three times in eight days, which is great. He's really better in the 400 IM, which they don't have in high school, but he'll swim in the junior nationals later on.
"In the 500 (free), he raced and went as hard as he could. He was gassed after the 200 IM, but he had a great meet and a great high school career."
Bernsdorf won the 200 IM at district Feb. 15 at Ohio State in a meet-record 1:49.64 to start the string of standout performances in the event. He is most proud of qualifying for state four consecutive seasons.
"That is a huge, huge accomplishment," said Bernsdorf, who will compete at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. "I would honestly say that's more of an accomplishment than placing third or placing fifth or setting all these records. I feel that's my best accomplishment, qualifying here four years in a row."
Junior Janessa Mathews can look to next season after finishing her state meet on a positive note. After placing ninth in the preliminaries of the 100 breaststroke (1:03.58), she cut more than a second from her time on the second day to come away with a misleading ninth-place finish in 1:02.44.
Participants have to finish in the top eight in the preliminaries to reach the podium and earn a medal. Despite that, Mathews had the fourth-best time during the finals.
"Janessa had a disappointing time in prelims, but she got a good result in the final," Morris said. "She still is one of the best (breaststrokers) in the country. She's not happy with the result, but I wouldn't be surprised if she went under 1:00 in the months ahead."
Season for bowlers continues at district
The girls bowling team advanced to district Saturday, March 2, at HP Lanes and will be joined by Jason Sturgell of the boys team.
The girls finished seventh (3,242) of 37 teams at sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes as Sophia Soisson was 13th of 222 participants with a 544 three-game series. Kaitlyn Sturgell (483, tied for 43rd), Lexi Hagemann (446, 62nd), Megan Holmes (437, tied for 70th) and Danielle Pratt (432, 74th) also competed.
Jason Sturgell advanced from the sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes, rolling a 561 to finish 52nd of 242 bowlers and earn the 15th of 16 individual-qualifying berths to district. North finished 36th (3,069) of 42 teams as Olentangy Orange (3,644) was the 16th and final team qualifier.
Will Mueller (472, tied for 113th), Jonathan Pratt (441, 132nd), Alex Sarakinakis (421, tied for 138th) and Ethan Moore (283, tied for 155th) also competed.
At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The girls roll March 8 and the boys compete March 9.
Eleven wrestlers advance to district
The wrestling team qualified 11 competitors for the Division I district tournament Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at Hilliard Darby.
The Warriors had three champions while winning the team title in a 10-team sectional Feb. 23 at Watkins Memorial. They scored 240 points to finish ahead of runner-up Delaware (204).
Connor Euton (132 pounds), Jacob Goldsmith (220) and Mitch Potterf (182) all won titles, and Gabe Ohle (113) was runner-up. Sylvester Bockarie (138), Jake Gooding (120), Jacob Grant (145), Nate Morse (126) and Eli Williams (160) all finished third, and Nico Candido (170) and Caden Crist (152) both finished fourth.
Deveric Burigana (195) was fifth and is an alternate to district, where the top four at each weight advance to state March 7-9 at Ohio State.
Boys basketball team to begin postseason
An upset in terms of seeding will allow the boys basketball team to begin the Division I district tournament at home.
The 22nd-seeded Warriors play host to 28th-seeded Grove City on Friday, March 1, in the second round. The Greyhounds upset 11th-seeded Logan 60-58 on Feb. 23.
The winner advances to a district semifinal Wednesday, March 6, against fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 39th-seeded Licking Heights at a neutral site. The Warriors lost to Liberty 71-63 on Dec. 21 and 73-61 on Feb. 1 in OCC-Buckeye Division games.
The district final is March 9 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.