Second-year Westerville South swimming and diving coach CJ Morabito is hoping to see history this week: her first athlete qualifying for the Division I state meet.
Sophomore Emily Ellsworth is expected to be a top contender for state when the Wildcats compete at district Thursday, Feb. 13, at Ohio State.
The top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Ellsworth led the girls team in a sectional Feb. 8 at Kenyon College, earning two individual berths to district after finishing third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 5.89 seconds) and fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.79). She is seeded fourth in the 100 breast and eighth in the 200 IM at district.
Last season at district, Ellsworth finished 10th in the 100 breast (1:07.57) and 16th in the 200 IM (2:14.12).
"Emily blew us away," Morabito said. "She's not rested or tapered. Her time in the 100 breast is a strong contender to get her in the state meet. It's looking really promising. I'm excited."
Ellsworth will be joined at district by freshman Gwen Stacey. She finished ninth in the 100 breast (1:09.38) at sectional and is seeded 18th at district, and she placed 12th in the 200 IM (2:18.34) and is seeded 27th.
Junior Maeve Stacey was 11th in the 100 breast (1:09.86) and is seeded 23rd.
Ellsworth, Gwen Stacey, Maeve Stacey and Katherine Blais were seventh in the 200 free relay (1:45.06) at sectional and are seeded 13th at district. Ellsworth, Maeve Stacey, Blais and Laura Arn were eighth in the 200 medley relay (1:56.59) and are seeded 16th. Gwen Stacey, Arn, Blais and Grace Bartley were 11th in the 400 free relay (4:02.59) and are seeded 25th.
Freshman Leanne Ngo is seeded seventh (305.05) in diving at district. The top four finishers advance to state Feb. 20 in Canton.
At sectional, South finished 11th (116) of 13 teams behind champion Dublin Coffman (398).
The boys team qualified all three relays for district. Jack Kielmeyer, Dom Schoenherr, Jack Secrest and Riley Andrews were ninth in the 200 free relay (1:39.25) and are seeded 26th. Secrest, Kielmeyer, Andrews and Dakota Kivel were ninth in the 200 medley relay and are seeded 27th. Schoenherr, Secrest, Kivel and Heath Benton were 10th in the 400 free relay (4:00.05) and are seeded 30th.
South finished 10th (52) of 12 teams at sectional behind champion Dublin Jerome (420.5).
"The boys have really come along really well," Morabito said. "The boys have really outperformed what I expected them to."
Girls basketball team sees streak end
The girls basketball team saw its 29-game winning streak in OCC play end with a 45-43 loss at Westerville North on Feb. 7.
Also, senior guard Anyssa Jones suffered a high left ankle sprain during a recent practice and is likely out for the season, according to coach Jermaine Guice. Jones will play at Ohio State.
South already has clinched its third consecutive OCC-Buckeye Division title and is 8-1 in the league heading into its regular-season finale Friday, Feb. 14, against visiting Westerville Central. The Wildcats defeated Central 72-33 on Jan. 10.
Gabby Hutcherson scored 13 points, Aja Austin had 11 and Tamara Ortiz added 10 against North.
Austin scored 17 points, Hutcherson and Ortiz each had 13 and Nelia Guice added 11 in a 72-29 win at Upper Arlington on Feb. 4.
The Wildcats are 17-4 overall and seeded third for the Division I district tournament. They will play host to 30th-seeded Lancaster or 32nd-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round Feb. 21.
Boys basketball team to play for OCC title
The boys basketball team will look to secure at least a share of the OCC-Buckeye title when it plays host to Central on Friday, Feb. 14.
The Wildcats defeated Central 63-61 in double overtime Jan. 10.
South is tied with Olentangy Liberty for first in the league at 7-2. The Patriots close league play Feb. 14 at home against Olentangy.
Peter Pedrozo scored 24 points and Tabari Howard added 19 in a 68-58 win at North on Feb. 7.
Jaiden Guice scored 19 points and Howard had 11 in a 49-40 win over visiting UA on Feb. 4.
The Wildcats are 14-6 overall and seeded 11th for the Division I district tournament. They will play host to 30th-seeded Groveport in the first round Feb. 22.
Wrestling team splits dual tourney matches
The wrestling team split two matches in the Division I, Region 5 dual tournament Feb. 8 at Marysville.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats defeated ninth-seeded Thomas Worthington 46-35 before losing to top-seeded Coffman 65-13. Coffman went on to win the regional title, defeating Marysville 52-9 to advance to the state tournament Sunday, Feb. 16, at Ohio State.
Winners by pin against Thomas were Andrew DeVictor at 138 pounds (3:12), Nick Ifju at 145 (53 seconds) and Tyler O'Reilly at 220 (1:51).
Frankie Achambeng won by pin at heavyweight (3:49) against Coffman.
South is 1-3 in the OCC-Buckeye and closes league action Thursday, Feb. 13, at home against Central. It then will compete in the All-North Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Jerome.
Athletes announce college decisions
Three student-athletes have announced their college decisions.
Michael Mansaray will play football at South Dakota, Nevaeh McClure will play women's basketball at Ohio Christian and Patrick Petersen will play football at Morehead State.