The Grandview Heights boys and girls swimming and diving teams feature quality over quantity this season.
The boys have only six athletes and the girls have 10 swimmers and one diver, but some of those competitors are among the top performers statewide in Division II.
Senior Charlie Ferguson competed in the state meet last season for the boys team. While battling a chest cold, he finished 15th in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 0.52 of a second) and 20th in the 100 butterfly (53.39).
"It's my last chance this year, and I want to leave it all out there for my senior season," said Ferguson, who was 17th at state in the 200 IM (2:00.5) as a sophomore. "We have six guys this year, but I'm used to having a small team. But this is definitely smaller than usual. It's not too bad because you get to be really close to your team and it's easier to swim for them if you're close to them."
The boys team also includes juniors Ethan Deis and Adam Ellis and freshmen Dylan Deafenbaugh, Nathan Reese and Blake Yates.
"Everyone swims a variety of events from the 200 (freestyle) to the 100 (breaststroke) and 100 (backstroke), so right now they are feeling out what strokes fit them best," said third-year coach Susan Ferguson, who is Charlie's mother. "They are practicing like champs. At this point of the season we're doing better than we were at this point last season."
Coach Ferguson's daughter, Phoebe Ferguson, is back for her sophomore season after becoming the first freshman from the girls team to reach the state awards podium with a top-eight finish. She placed sixth in the 200 IM (2:07.85) and 16th in the 500 free (5:21.46) after setting program records in both preliminary races, going 2:06.51 in the 200 IM and 5:14.98 in the 500 free.
Also at state, she anchored two 12th-place relays, both of which included senior Annie Volker and 2019 graduates Martina Moncolova and Adelle Bechtel. The 200 free relay finished in 1:40.08 and the 400 free relay set a program record of 3:40.52.
Volker also finished 17th in the 100 back (58.99) and 20th in the 200 free (1:57.35).
Mabel Mattingly, Liz McDermott and Meghan Watters are the team's seniors. Sophomore Sam Schaefer and freshmen Jada Heren and Greta Tew also expect to contribute.
"We're looking forward to seeing those four girls -- Phoebe, Annie Volker, freshman Jada Heren and Sam Schaefer -- and how they do with some of the relays," coach Ferguson said. "They have a chance to do really well. The training they have in the offseason in fall club really helps.
"We have Greta Tew also joining us as a freshman. She is coming off of a fractured tibia from running cross country and just started for us."
Junior Josie Cantelmo and sophomore Emma Rowland are other swimmers and junior Kit Stephens is a diver.
On Dec. 2, the boys and girls both finished second in four-team meets at Columbus Aquatics Center. The boys scored 148 points to tie Central Crossing for second behind DeSales (241) and the girls lost to DeSales 204-174.
Phoebe Ferguson won the 50 free (26.37) and 500 free (5:23.31), Heren was first in the 100 free (59.23) and Schaefer won the 100 back (1:13.16).
Volker, Heren, Schaefer and Phoebe Ferguson won the 200 free relay (1:49.84) and 400 free relay (4:04.4).
For the boys, Charlie Ferguson won the 100 fly (55.43) and Yates was first in the 500 free (5:31.27). The 200 free relay of Charlie Ferguson, Yates, Deis and Ellis won in 1:45.85.
Dodge takes over as wrestling coach
Mike Dodge has taken over the wrestling program after coaching at Larry Larson Middle School the past two seasons. He also previously coached at Dublin Karrer Middle School for six seasons.
The Bobcats have 19 participants this season after having only seven last winter. One of the graduation losses was two-time state champion Hudson Jump, who now is a walk-on at Ohio State.
Jump went 38-0 last season, winning the Division III state championship at 220 pounds. As a junior, he won the state title at 195.
"(Having 19 wrestlers) is a step in the positive direction," said Dodge, who also is an assistant football coach and replaced Sam Mehling after five seasons. "Grandview has a lot of tradition with kids coming in here and winning state titles. You can see the names on the (practice room) wall, but we don't have any team banners hanging up and we would like to see that.
"There aren't many Hudson Jumps around anymore, so we need to look at the team aspect of the sport. Grandview kids have always looked at it as an individual sport. The kids are getting on board with what we are trying to do."
Seniors Gabhran Downer (195) and Eli Tullis (132) and sophomores William Doolittle (heavyweight) and Tazio Pintor (126) have returned. Sophomore Ian Matney (113) is expected to be a leader for the team.
"We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores," said Dodge, whose squad has 14 competitors in those two classes. "We usually have a lot of the younger kids, but you have to keep them out (for the sport). Our youth wrestling has strong numbers, and then they start to fade away. Wrestling is a sport that can help you in every single sport that you do."
Senior Chris Fanroy (182), juniors Nico Card (138) and Layton Feast (120), sophomores Carter Black (170), Mikael Black (138), Lachlan Frank-Collins (heavyweight), Collin Haj Abed (160), Brennan Kell (135) and Harvey Pierce (126) and freshmen Owen Billeter (152), Walt Donahue (heavyweight), Jack Pulver (145), Jason Reasor (145) and Alasdair Schelesinger (106) also are on the team.
"We need to work on technique," said Dodge, whose team opens Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Bexley Duals. "We're doing some situational wrestling, but technique is the most important thing we have to work on. I have so many inexperienced dudes out there."
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 13 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Dec. 17 -- At Buckeye Valley
*Dec. 14 -- At Bexley
Dec. 18 -- At Ready
*Dec. 13 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 17 -- Big Walnut at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 18 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 13-14 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 16 -- Centennial at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 14 -- Bexley Duals