The Worthington Kilbourne boys and girls swimming and diving teams won't compete in a Division I sectional until Feb. 8 at Thomas, but an indicator of where the Wolves stand heading into the postseason is just around the corner.
The OCC-Cardinal Division meet is Sunday, Jan. 26, at Kenyon College, and coach Keeler Callahan said there are plenty of areas he will be evaluating as the Wolves compete in a postseason-like atmosphere.
"It's a big meet against a lot of good teams in our conference, and it's a good championship experience for the kids to get themselves ready when we're just a couple of weeks out," he said. "It's one of our last rehearsals before we head into the main part of the season, which is sectionals, districts and states."
On the girls side, Callahan said he's going to focus on the performance of last year's state-qualifying 200-yard freestyle relay, which consists of three returnees in junior Lauren Richner and sophomores Nanami Campbell and Evie DeCarlo along with freshman Paige Delma. The relay has posted a season-best time of 1 minute, 32.25 seconds.
Last year at state, the relay was eighth in 1:37.83.
"Having three of those four girls from last year is huge," Callahan said. "It's a huge advantage to have them come back, so we're focusing a lot on the relays for those girls."
Callahan said he's hoping to see Delma distinguish herself.
"We're hoping she can step up on those relays," he said.
Campbell said she and her relay teammates are looking forward to the league meet.
"I think it's a good opportunity for us to practice our relays that we want to do in the postseason and really develop our team chemistry," she said. "We can all focus on our swims and try our best to get used to them."
"We have a really young (200 free) relay with two sophomores and one freshman and one junior, so we're looking forward to a good end to the season," Richner said.
Seniors Melanie Fisher and Ellie Ishida are expected to stand out in individual events. Fisher competes in the 50 free and 100 free, while Ishida competes in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke.
"We're looking for some big stuff from them in our individual events," Callahan said. "They'll also be on one of the other relays, so I'm hoping they can step up and help us out there, too."
On the boys side, Callahan said he's expecting the team's senior leadership to help carry the Wolves through the meet.
Senior Mitchell Fisher is expected to be one of the boys who helps out in that way. He's posted a season-best 23.5 in the 50 free and a 51.6 in the 100 free.
"He's been a solid leader throughout the whole year," Callahan said. "He's going to be a big part of our success toward the end of the year."
Aaron Chen is another senior whom Callahan said the Wolves will rely on down the stretch. He's posted a season-best 1:00.46 in the 100 butterfly and a 1:10.41 in the 100 breast.
"I think he's really going to kind of explode into the end of this season starting out with OCCs here (this) Sunday," Callahan said.
Mitchell Fisher said the team is fine-tuning small details ahead of the league meet.
"We're working on a lot of finishes, small details and stuff that will help us finish those races and win them," he said. "I think it'll help us be more competitive and have that mindset going in of where we know how to finish the race."
Girls team's win streak snapped
The girls basketball team's nine-game winning streak came to an end with a 36-27 loss to New Albany on Jan. 14.
The Wolves bounced back the next game, earning a 42-40 win over Dublin Jerome on Jan. 17 and avenging a 46-39 loss to the Celtics on Dec. 6.
Kilbourne was 11-4 overall and 8-1 in the OCC-Cardinal heading into a Jan. 21 showdown with Hilliard Bradley for first place in the league. The Wolves defeated the Jaguars, also 8-1 in the league, 43-39 on Dec. 13.
"I think that stretch of wins, starting out 1-3 and then winning nine in a row has really built the girls' confidence and trust in each other to play together on the floor, and not just rely on one player," coach Stephanie Jones said. "We just know we're going to have to go out and work hard. There's not going to be any easy wins."
Jones said the Wolves remain focused on their "No. 1 goal, which is to get a league championship."
Sophomore guard Lauren Scott was the Wolves' leading scorer in all but one of the games during the winning streak.
Gymnasts place second in home invitational
The gymnastics team placed second of 20 teams in the Kilbourne Invitational on Jan. 18.
The Wolves' score of 136.05 was just behind first-place Jerome (136.725).
Although no one finished first for Kilbourne, several members of the Wolves placed highly in several events.
Hannah Hale placed second on vault (9.2), second on floor exercise (9.3) and second in the all-around (35.45).
Emily Mosic placed third on vault (9.05), third on balance beam (9.0), fourth on floor (9.125) and third in the all-around (35.075).
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 24 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Wolves lost to the Panthers 43-41 on Dec. 10.
*Jan. 24 -- At Darby. The Wolves defeated the Panthers 64-31 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 27 -- Home vs. Grove City
Jan. 29 -- At Logan
Jan. 23 -- Whitehall at Capri Lanes
*Jan. 24 -- Olentangy Berlin at Capri Lanes
Jan. 25 -- Boro Roll-Off at Poelking Lanes South in Dayton
*Jan. 29 -- Pickerington North at Rule 3
Jan. 23 -- At *Darby with Big Walnut, *Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Davidson and Olentangy Liberty
Jan. 25 -- *Berlin and *Delaware at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheer
Jan. 28 -- Home vs. *Thomas, Logan, Thornville Sheridan and Westerville Central
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 26 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Kenyon College
*Jan. 23 -- Home vs. Delaware