The results that senior Max Miller wanted to see finally have started to appear in the way he envisioned.
Although he wasn't among the six boys who competed in the Division I state meet last winter for the Olentangy Liberty swimming and diving program, Miller set out to be one of the top scorers this season.
"I put in a lot of work in the preseason and at first it was not translating to success in the pool," he said. "After about three weeks of swimming, I saw a lot of improvement and I knew that I was going to make a lot of progress this season."
Miller was among six individuals who won at least one event in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Jan. 25 at Kenyon College, as the Patriots scored 688 points to easily capture the title ahead of Westerville North (315), Orange (268), Olentangy (245), Westerville South (175) and Westerville Central (173).
It was the fourth consecutive league title for Liberty, which opens the swimming postseason Feb. 8 in a sectional at Kenyon.
Junior Jack Matthews, who won the league title in diving with 537.7 points, will be among the boys divers opening the postseason at district Feb. 12 at Ohio State.
Miller captured the league title in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 1.49 seconds).
Also winning individual titles were Christian Hosler in the 50 freestyle (21.17) and 100 butterfly (53.13), John Bently in the 100 free (47.66), Eli Grubbs in the 200 individual medley (2:00.54) and Gavin Weis in the 200 free (1:50.15).
Also placing first were the 200 medley relay of Bently, Miller, Hosler and Andrew Gehring (1:37.82), the 200 free relay of Hosler, Bently, Gehring and Miller (1:27.2) and the 400 free relay of Bently, Blake Overly, Weis and Grubbs (3:19.12).
Earning runner-up finishes were Dylan Ingram in the 200 free (1:52.03) and 500 free (5:15.79), Isaac Iversen in the 50 free (22.36) and 100 breast (1:01.86), Tyler Stoltman in the 100 backstroke (56.91) and Michael Boothman in diving (359.2).
"Max Miller has had a really great start to his senior year," coach Peter Krosnosky said. "Eli Grubbs is still swimming really well and (Bently) scores really well. To have Max kind of join them right away has been nice."
According to Miller, the Patriots' goals include qualifying all three relays for the state meet and having at least one of them reach the podium.
"The season has been going great for the boys team," Miller said. "Christian Hosler has dropped about a second in his 50 free, which is very impressive. He's turned himself into an outstanding swimmer. The team is focusing on remaining motivated and keeping the effort high during practice. Most of us also focus on trying to push those around us to be the best version of themselves, because you never know who could end up being the fourth man in a relay."
Girls swimmers capture OCC title
After placing fourth in the league meet last season, the girls swimming team scored 466 points to capture the OCC-Buckeye title ahead of Orange (312), Olentangy (296), Central (295), North (284) and South (271).
Kate Saczawa led the way with a championship in the 100 back (57.63). She also swam on the first-place 200 medley relay with Lydia Colvin, Meggie Gehring and Kirin Loughrey (1:54.86) and the first-place 200 free relay with Christina Racke, Loughrey and Meggie Gehring (1:42.34).
Morgan Hofmeister won the 500 free (5:24.58), Olivia Lynch was first in diving (451.15) and Loughrey was runner-up in the 100 free (56.36).
"Kate Saczawa is back (after) qualifying (for state) all three (of her prep seasons)," Krosnosky said. "She signed with Purdue this fall and it's really exciting for Kate to wrap up her high school career."
The girls swimmers also will compete in a sectional Feb. 8 at Kenyon, with the divers opening the postseason Feb. 13 at district at Ohio State.
Bowlers growing in regular season
With just three competitors, the girls bowling team is concentrating on individual improvement.
The Patriots were 0-11 overall and 0-7 in the COHSBC-A after losing to Berlin 1,545-1,056 on Jan. 27 and before facing Big Walnut on Jan. 28.
Seniors Stefanie Greeno and Breanna Withrow have been averaging in the mid-140s and junior Emily Williams also has been competing.
"It's enough for a legal team, so we always said that every match is like practice for tournaments," coach Stacey Christensen said. "At least they're out there getting that work in for tournaments. Stefanie and Breanna are seniors, so they've been with the team. Emily has never bowled before and she's very surprising. I think they're doing well and getting stronger every week."
The boys were 6-7 overall and 5-6 in the COHSBC-A after beating Berlin 2,034-2,002. The Patriots surpassed 2,000 pins in nine of their matches, including beating Olentangy 2,182-1,665 on Jan. 8.
Sophomore Carter Street has been among the best bowlers in the COHSBC with a 218.2 average.
Other key competitors have included junior Brendan Sheehan and sophomore Ethan Shek -- both are averaging better than 170 in league matches -- as well as freshman Austin Warnecke and juniors Nick Bateson and Patrick McDowell.
On Jan. 19 in the Winter Shootout at HP Lanes, Street had a 790 series, including a 288 in his third game.
That came one day after Shek rolled a 639 to finish 10th of 115 competitors in the Central District Preview at Columbus School Bowling Palace.
"I don't know if anybody (at Liberty) has bowled an 800 yet," coach Steve Nole said. "(Street's score Jan. 19 is) real good. The team's up and down a little bit, but they've all improved."
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Westerville North. The Patriots lost to the Warriors 63-43 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- At Newark
*Jan. 31 -- At Westerville North. The Patriots beat the Warriors 39-35 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 4 -- Home vs. Newark
*Jan. 30 -- At Orange with Berlin and Olentangy
Feb. 5 -- At Marysville
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 31 -- Berlin at Ohio Wesleyan
*Jan. 30 -- At Westerville Central
Jan. 31 -- Home vs. Massillon Perry
Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Mentor Lake Catholic