With the OCC-Cardinal Division meet coming up Sunday, Jan. 26, at Kenyon College, Thomas Worthington swimming and diving coach Keeler Callahan hopes the event provides him and his athletes with an idea of how they will fare in the Division I postseason.
"It's not an exact measuring stick, but it'll give us a good idea of where we can be at the end of the year," Callahan said. "I think it'll be a nice confidence boost for them, because anytime you get into a big championship meet and you're on a relay where you do it for your team, they seem to step up a little, even more than your individual events."
Callahan said assessing Thomas' performance at the meet will be slightly different from that of Kilbourne. He leads both programs.
"They're a little different from Kilbourne in the respect that Kilbourne is reliant a little more on the experience of the older kids," he said. "With Thomas, it's a little more of a mixture of our young talent plus our older leadership just working together, and they're really meshing well together, both young and old. ... That's what we're focusing on at the end of the season (with the Cardinals)."
Callahan said for the boys team he's going to be assessing the performances of the relays, such as the 200-yard medley relay comprised of freshman Matt Fralic, senior Sam Steele and juniors Grant Simeone and Eli Short. They have posted a season-best time of 1 minute, 39.01 seconds.
"They've got a good shot to do some good stuff here at the end of the season and this is kind of our first rehearsal against a lot of competition in a championship meet setting," Callahan said.
The 200 freestyle relay of Simeone, Short, freshman Zach Barnes and senior Jacob Carver has posted a season-best 1:32.25, while the 400 free relay of Steele, Barnes, Short and Fralic has posted a season-best 3:20.89.
"I think we're just really trying to focus on the fine details right now. We're just trying to fine-tune all the elements to our races," Steele said. "I think (the league meet is) a really good practice run, because it doesn't really qualify for anything. It's a good thing to go through the motions before the real big event."
After the OCC-Cardinal meet, the Cardinals will prepare for a sectional Feb. 8 in their home pool.
On the individual side in the league meet, Callahan hopes to see strong performances from Barnes and Fralic. Both have been "really awesome throughout the whole season," Callahan said.
For the girls, Callahan said he is looking for good individual performances from senior Audrey Taylor and freshman Sloane Antonetz.
Taylor swims the 50 free and 100 free, with a season-best 25.79 in the 50 and a 56.76 in the 100. Antonetz competes in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, with her best times being 58.55 and 58.88, respectively.
"If we could get some big swims out of them that would be nice," Callahan said.
With the postseason approaching, junior Maia Lin said she likes what she has seen from her team.
"I think it's been going pretty well," she said. "We don't have a lot of set relays, but during OCCs we're going to see how we're doing (for) sectionals. We're also a really young team right now, but we're really excited."
Gymnasts lose key contributor
The gymnastics team recently lost a top all-around performer in junior Audrey Maxwell, who fractured an ankle during practice and will be out at least four weeks, according to coach Marci Skeen.
"I'm hopeful she can come back in four weeks and maybe try (competing on uneven) bars," Skeen said.
It's a tough loss for the Cardinals, but Skeen said the team has enough depth to replace Maxwell's contributions in the short term.
"We have a lot of depth, but she is our top scorer on all the events," Skeen said. "So our team score kind of fluctuated down a few points, but it didn't take as big of a hit as I thought."
Skeen said senior Regan Macerollo has been consistent.
In a home meet against Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 15, junior Zoe Gertler placed second on balance beam with an 8.55.
Win streak ends for boys basketball team
The boys basketball team saw its nine-game winning streak end when it lost at Bradley 53-38 on Jan. 17 in a pivotal OCC-Cardinal game.
Tyrese Hughey had 15 points and Jalen Sullinger added nine for the Cardinals.
Thomas entered its Jan. 21 game against Delaware at 12-3 overall and 6-2 in the OCC-Cardinal, while Bradley entered play that day at 12-1 overall and 8-0 in the league.
Bradley increased its league winning streak to 51 by defeating the Cardinals.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome. The Cardinals defeated The Celtics 61-47 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 25 -- Northland in Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic at Ohio Dominican
*Jan. 24 -- At Jerome. The Cardinals lost to the Celtics 42-22 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 25 -- At Licking Heights
Jan. 29 -- Home vs. Columbus South
*Jan. 23 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3
*Jan. 27 -- Newark at Park Lanes
*Jan. 28 -- Lancaster at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 29 -- Delaware at Colony Lanes
Jan. 28 -- At *Kilbourne with Logan, Thornville Sheridan and Westerville Central
*Jan. 25 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus
Jan. 26 -- Kettering Alter at Chiller Springfield
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Kenyon College
*Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby