With a group of newcomers providing a boost in depth last season, the Watterson girls swimming and diving team finished in the top 10 at the Division I district meet and scored nine points at state.
Most of that group has returned and will combine with a state-meet veteran in senior Mia Brown as the Eagles look to build on their first season under coach Dan Cherok.
Watterson finished third (350 points) in the nine-team St. Charles Showdown on Dec. 6 behind Toledo St. Ursula (480) and Perrysburg (355).
"It's going pretty well," Cherok said. "I've got a lot of club swimmers and some dedicated swimmers, so we'll field a couple good relays. My team is mostly sophomores and freshmen, but we've got a lot back."
Brown, who has committed to Georgetown, finished 18th at state in the 50-yard freestyle (24.22 seconds) and swam on the 400 free relay that finished 18th (3:35.27) along with 2019 graduate Elizabeth Intihar and sophomores Lucia Cherok and Olivia Oyster.
Oyster, who added a 20th-place state finish in the 100 free (53.09), also joined Cherok, Brown and sophomore returnee Molly Shanahan on the 200 medley relay that placed ninth (1:48.87).
Another sophomore, Lucy Loudon, swam on the 200 free relay that finished 17th (1:45.22) at district.
Junior Isabella Roscoe, sophomore Anna Liedtke and freshmen Teagan Price and Grace Rider also should be key swimmers.
Others looking to contribute include senior Gabi Greene, junior Elena Latshaw and sophomore Bella Eramo.
Watterson was CCL runner-up last season with 314 points behind Columbus School for Girls (408), but the Unicorns are no longer in the league.
"We've got a lot back," Cherok said. "We still have a big (junior varsity) squad and I think we're getting better."
Boys swim team has five members
With five competitors, the boys swimming and diving team is hoping to put together at least one strong relay, if not more.
The top returnee is senior Michael Vondran, who finished 14th in the 50 free (22.19) in the Division II state meet last season as the Eagles finished 53rd (3).
Senior Ryan Newcomb, sophomores Max Latshaw and Mateo Pitones and freshman Mikey Zesch round out the roster.
At last year's district meet, Latshaw placed sixth in the 500 free (5:15.86) and 10th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.3) and Vondran was third in the 50 free (22.1) and seventh in the 100 free (51.26).
"Our goal would be to make districts," Cherok said. "We're Division II, so if we can field a relay to make district, that would be great. Michael is (good) enough to make state in some individual events. Max is developing."
Wrestlers in second season of restart
After not having a team the two previous seasons, the wrestling team restarted last winter and had eight competitors in the Division II sectional at Licking Valley.
Three of the four competitors who placed sixth at the sectional have returned to lead the Eagles, who opened with an eighth-place finish (60) in the 12-team Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational on Dec. 7 at Upper Arlington behind the host Bears (289).
"Our wrestling team has grown from 12 to 18 in only our second year (back)," second-year coach Felix Catheline said. "In addition, we have no seniors on our roster and just introduced a middle school club program, which has a roster of 16. The future is bright."
Juniors Kervin Azor (160 pounds) and Matthew Johnson (220 or heavyweight) and sophomore Brady White (195) are the top returnees. At sectional last season, Azor was at 145, White was at 170 and Johnson was at 195 as each finished sixth along with 2019 graduate Max Balyeat (220).
At the Golden Bear Invitational, junior Nick Youell finished first at 182 and White was runner-up at 195.
Junior Charlie McAdow (220 or heavyweight) and sophomores Leo Pavell (138), Patrick Randall (220 or heavyweight) and Danny Siegel (170) are other returnees.
Others looking to fill spots in the lineup include juniors Mark Sullivan (126) and Tyler Young (152) and sophomore Jack Payne (120).
Watterson did not compete in the CCL last season but is scheduled to compete against Ready and St. Charles on Jan. 23 and against Hartley on Jan. 29 in league action.
"(We) just (want to see) a natural progression of improvement as we enter our second season," Catheline said. "Our schedule was mostly (junior varsity) last year. Now our main schedule is mostly varsity. ... We are two years away from potentially being really, really good."
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 13 -- Home vs. St. Charles
Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Dec. 16 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
*Dec. 13 -- DeSales at Capri Lanes
*Dec. 16 -- Linden-McKinley at HP Lanes
*Dec. 17 -- St. Charles at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 13 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller North
*Dec. 14 -- Gahanna at Chiller Dublin
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 13-14 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State