Needing to pick a theme for an essay as he applied for a scholarship to Wright State, Aaron Spittell wrote about what he knows.
Spittell, the only senior on the DeSales boys swimming team, decided to write about leadership and how it pertains to his experiences this season.
"It's been different than any team I've been on. We've had a lot of seniors in years prior and now, it's just me," Spittell said. "I definitely feel like we're a group of friends this year. The leadership is a group thing. Everyone is chipping in to lead the team directly; I feel like I don't have to do that directly. I think that's a sign of how good the team can be after I'm gone."
Spittell still was waiting last week to hear whether he earned the scholarship.
While that is now out of his control, he will have more of a say over how his DeSales career ends.
Spittell will try to make the Division II district meet in two individual events for the third consecutive season when he and the Stallions compete in a sectional Saturday, Feb. 8, at Thomas Worthington.
He advanced in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 individual medley last year and qualified in the 200 free and 500 free as a sophomore. Spittell still is seeking his first state berth.
"He has (skills for) everything. He's done the IM, he's been good at (breaststroke) and (butterfly), he's done the 500, 200 and 100," coach Ryan Buechner said. "He could qualify for district in pretty much any event if he wanted."
Buechner also lauded Spittell for devoting himself exclusively to the Stallions during the high school season.
"Your district qualifiers and state qualifiers, you're almost always going to have them splitting time between club and high school," Buechner said. "But for somebody to do that, that shows exactly how dedicated they are to the team here. He comes to all the practices. He's a captain on our team for a reason, because he does those things. He's always dependable."
At sectional, there are no automatic berths to district Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Ohio State. Twenty-seven at-large berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 19-22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
The girls team also will be at Thomas for a Division I sectional, in which the winner of each event automatically qualifies for district Feb. 13 at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
Spittell also is scheduled to swim the 200 free and 200 medley relays at sectional.
"When I was a freshman, I did more distance events rather than sprints and now I've evolved from freestyle into other stroke bases," Spittell said. "I was more at home in distance, but I grew out of that because I got better at other things."
Basketball team to face title showdown
The boys basketball team controls its destiny to win a second consecutive CCL championship entering its Friday, Feb. 7, home game against St. Charles, although the dynamics of that game aren't exactly what the Stallions wanted.
A 57-47 home loss to Ready dropped DeSales to 6-1 in the league, a half-game ahead of the Cardinals, who are 5-1 in the CCL with two games to go. St. Charles finishes league play Feb. 14 at Ready.
Desmond Watson had 14 points, Austin Mann scored 12 and Kobe Righter added 11 against Ready, but DeSales was haunted by 19 turnovers. The Stallions fell behind by as many as 19 points in the first half -- 10 more than their average entering the game -- and got within five in the fourth quarter but never closer.
"It was a combination of not being efficient on offense, not taking care of the ball and then on defense, just having too many breakdowns. They got too many easy baskets and even when we got close, we couldn't close it," Murphy said. "We're still in a situation where we control our own destiny to win a league title. A lot of teams would love to be in that situation."
The Stallions improved to 15-4 overall with a 61-44 home win over Grove City on Feb. 1 as Watson had 28 points and Atticus Schuler scored 11.
Boys bowlers win two titles
The boys bowling team defeated Ready 2,194-1,977 on Jan. 31 at RollHouse Entertainment Columbus to clinch both the CCL and COHSBC-D championships.
DeSales was 17-1 overall before finishing the regular season Feb. 5 against Thomas Worthington and went 12-1 in the COHSBC-D, finishing a game ahead of runners-up Ready and St. Charles, and 7-1 in the CCL, one game ahead of the runner-up Cardinals (6-2).
DeSales and St. Charles split their season series.
The girls team came up just short of the COHSBC-D title, tying Ready for second place at 10-2 behind Watterson (11-1). The Stallions fell to Ready 1,693-1,429 on Jan. 31 and were 10-6 overall before Feb. 5.
Potts continues strong season for wrestlers
Seeking a better finish in this year's Division II state tournament, heavyweight Cole Potts of the wrestling team has integrated more offense into his overall approach.
Potts, a James Madison football recruit who placed fourth at state last year, was 25-2 before the Stallions finished the regular season Feb. 5 at Columbus Academy. His only losses came in the Ironman Tournament on Dec. 13 and 14 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
"I wanted to see the best guys in the nation. That's the best (competition) you're going to see all year," Potts said. "I've tried to wrestle faster with more offense and more shots. It's something I looked at it. I watched some college wrestling and saw that it worked. I figured I might as well do something I haven't done yet."
DeSales went 1-3 in the CCL, defeating Ready 36-18 and losing to Watterson 42-18 in the final round Jan. 29 at Hartley. In the first round Jan. 23 at St. Charles, the Stallions lost to Hartley 39-18 and the host Cardinals.
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales boys basketball, girls basketball and gymnastics teams:
*Feb. 7 -- Home vs. St. Charles. The Stallions defeated the Cardinals 75-64 on Jan. 3.
Feb. 11 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*Feb. 6 -- Home vs. Watterson. The Stallions lost to the Eagles 23-18 on Jan. 16.
*Feb. 11 -- Home vs. Ready. The Stallions defeated the Silver Knights 43-30 on Jan. 23.
Feb. 15 -- Home vs. 34th-seeded Licking Heights in first round of Division I district tournament. The Stallions are seeded 24th.
Feb. 7 -- Buckeye Valley and Dresden Tri-Valley at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading