The Central Crossing swimming and diving teams have increased numbers this season, providing more depth for the program's relays.
The Comets had just nine girls and seven boys last season. This winter, both teams have 11 athletes.
"It's good to have a larger team because it helps with relays," senior Emma Thompson said. "It allows everyone to grow as an athlete instead of having the same four (athletes) being in the relays. You get to do everything and be more of an all-around swimmer."
Thompson was a member of three relays that competed in the Division I district meet last winter. She joined juniors Haley Kumfer and Sarah Rush and sophomore Haylee Howard on the 28th-place 200-yard medley relay (2 minutes, 12.5 seconds) and the 30th-place 400 freestyle relay (4:22.4). The 200 free relay was disqualified.
"Overall all of the new kids are great because they are working and trying hard," said coach Robert Boggs, who is in his 13th season. "We lost so many strong swimmers who were seniors over the past couple of years, and it could take some time to replace them.
"Our A relays are strong, but we have many, many new girls that we're trying to develop. We have a lot of first-year swimmers, and we're trying to develop that talent pool so we can be stronger in the coming years."
Seniors Madison Huffman and Madison Studt, sophomore Martha Navarro and freshmen Delia Garcia, Zara Ramirez Martinez, Hannah Scoggin and Amy Thompson round out the girls roster.
"Amy Thompson, Emma's younger sister, can do well for us," Boggs said. "She's got a great work ethic and is very coachable. She played volleyball in the fall, so she is strong and athletic, and she has put up some good times for us early on."
The boys team lost 2019 graduate Zach Francek, who set program records while placing 27th in the 100 butterfly (55.9) and 26th in the 100 backstroke (57.9) at district last winter. He also joined juniors Jacob Archer, Mason Smith and Will Atkins on the 400 free relay that was disqualified. Atkins did not return to the program.
"The boys team has four or five solid kids coming back, but we're in a rebuilding stage," Boggs said. "(Francek) had a big impact on the program, and he will be tough to replace."
Senior Logan Watson, juniors Jon Carroll, Brett Fullen and Maverick Smith, sophomores Matt Groom, Ashton Kegg-Macgillis, Uniah Neville and Brice Wotring and freshman Mitchel Smith complete the boys squad.
"Mitchel and Mason Smith are starting strong," Boggs said. "Mason is back and Mitchel is just a freshman. Matt Groom is looking strong, and Jacob Archer is in his third year of swimming."
On Dec. 2 in a four-team meet at Columbus Aquatics Center, the girls finished third (157 points) behind champion DeSales (204) as Emma Thompson won the 200 individual medley (2:34.51) and 100 breast (1:20.6).
The boys tied Grandview for second (148) behind DeSales (241).
Wrestlers going through youth movement
The wrestling team has 26 participants this season, but 20 are freshmen and sophomores.
The young wrestlers are showing promise, but 10th-year coach Jamie Ramirez also expects some growing pains.
"I thought we were so young this year until I remembered that we are filling more (weight) classes than we did last year," Ramirez said. "We have freshmen with experience coming in, but they still need to get high school mat time. When it's all said and done, we'll fill all of the weight classes except 113 pounds."
Senior heavyweight Omari Green finished 37-10 last season, placing eighth in the Division I state tournament. Senior Nathan VanHouten (182) and junior Abel Garantche (220) were district qualifiers.
Other key contributors include senior Derek Layne (145) and juniors Michael Bradshaw (170) and Ali El-Barati (152).
"I like the group we have," Ramirez said. "We had some freshmen come in from our youth group and they have to get that varsity experience. The seniors and juniors now contribute. I like their work ethic and their attitude to get things done."
Freshmen expected to contribute include Braylon Cornell (138), Ryder Gwartney (152), Donny Morris (120), Jamie Ramirez (126), Sam Reasoner (220), Brody Shafer (106), Gage Swain (120) and Jayden Vazquez (138). Ramirez is the coach's son.
"Our youth program has been one of the biggest in the area, and now that is starting to help us," coach Ramirez said. "They have the fundamentals and they are that much further ahead of the curve. We're starting to see some of those kids, and we're really excited about it."
The Comets opened in the nine-team Olentangy Invitational on Dec. 7, finishing sixth (102) behind champion Centerville (279.5). Green finished first, Garantche and Jamie Ramirez placed third and sophomore Patrick Hughes (132) and VanHouten finished fourth.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 13 -- At Marysville
Dec. 17 -- At Dublin Scioto
*Dec. 13 -- Home vs. Marysville
Dec. 17 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 17 -- Hamilton Township, London, Mechanicsburg, Portsmouth West, St. Paris Graham, Teays Valley and Westland at Urbancrest YMCA
Dec. 14-15 -- Olentangy Liberty Classic