For only the second time in his Canal Winchester swimming career, Blake Fry didn't have to wait to see whether he would compete in the Division I state meet.
The senior secured his fourth state berth by finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke (56.27 seconds) in the Division I district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State, .42 of a second behind Upper Arlington's Jake Meyer.
Fry also finished fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:53.14).
The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
"Amazing, if I can put it into one word," Fry said of advancing to state each year of his high school career. "It feels good to know I am going back now instead of having to wait on the other districts (to see if he earned an at-large berth). I am very thankful that I don't have to stress."
Fry also earned an automatic berth last year when he won the district title in the 100 breast.
This is the first year in which Fry, a Cleveland State recruit, is not advancing to state in both the 100 breast and 500 free. He eschewed the 500 free for the postseason, although he won that event at the OCC-Capital Division meet Jan. 26 at Kenyon College, because he plans to swim more middle distance and sprint events in college.
"It's great for the high school as far as having a champion like Blake swim for Canal Winchester. I hope people realize what we have," coach Shawn Elizondo said. "He's been incredible for this program, being a leader and a champion. I hate to lose him."
Canal Winchester finished 16th (38 points) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (381.5) as 23 teams scored.
Also for the Indians, Korbin Martino tied for 19th in the 50 free (22.32) and Lucas Elizondo, Fry, Adam Moneypenny and Connor Turney comprised both the 14th-place 200 medley relay (1:44.06) and the 17th-place 200 free relay (1:36.26).
The girls team did not score at district as its season ended.
Grace Terflinger finished 26th in the 100 breast (1:11.18) and helped the 200 medley relay to 23rd place (2:02.25) and the 200 free relay to 29th (1:51.99) with Merideth McFarland, Lauren Stone and Mikaela Vojacek.
Here's a list of state qualifiers.
While Fry is excited for this weekend, he said he hasn't totally comprehended that only a few days remain in his high school career.
"I don't think I can put it any better than 'bittersweet,'" Fry said. "It didn't feel like this was my last district meet and (this weekend) won't feel like it's my last state meet. That hasn't sunk in yet. I am excited to swim in college, but this is special. We'll see how I feel after state."
Boys basketball team prepares for UA
No sooner had boys basketball coach Lyndell Snyder placed his team on a bracket during the Division I district tournament draw Feb. 9 than the Indians learned their first-round opponent.
Seeded 14th of 49 teams, Canal Winchester will play host to 19th-seeded Upper Arlington on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Indians were 14-7 overall before their regular-season finale Feb. 18 against Zanesville and finished 5-5 in the OCC-Capital with a 55-52 home loss to Newark on Feb. 14. Despite not returning any starters from last year, UA is 14-8 overall and went 8-2 in the OCC-Central to tie Dublin Coffman and Marysville for the league championship.
"I thought we'd be (seeded between) 15 and 20. I'm happy with 14," Snyder said. "Upper Arlington is one of the best-coached teams in the area. They came after us and they must think it's a good matchup for them. We'll have our hands full. ... Each coach looks for matchups. Every coach has a different mindset going into the tournament and they probably see a good matchup with us. They probably thought what we were thinking going into our bracket. It's always about matchups."
Golden Bears coach Tim Casey has 453 career wins before Feb. 14, including 317 in 19 seasons at his alma mater.
The Canal Winchester-UA winner will play host to 22nd-seeded Whitehall in the second round Feb. 28.
The Indians began last week with a 49-39 win at Hilliard Darby. Bilal Sow scored a game-high 25 points as Canal Winchester erased an 18-12 halftime deficit by outscoring the Panthers 17-8 in the third quarter.
"(Darby) was a big comeback win," Snyder said. "We had some energy and attitude in the third quarter and it turned us around. That was important for us."
Club lacrosse team returning in spring
The Canal Winchester Lacrosse Association announced last week that the high school club team will return for a second season, on the heels of the school board adding lacrosse as an OHSAA-sponsored sport at the middle school.
The board unanimously approved the move by a 5-0 vote Feb. 10.
More than 100 players in the area participate in the sport through the CWLA, according to CWLA president Victor Paini.
"We're thrilled that the school board recognized what we've seen over the last two-plus years -- that Canal Winchester kids love lacrosse," Paini said in a statement. "When we started, we had dreams, but now we have recognition and a road map to grow the program even further."
The high school club team had 28 players last year, but half of them attended Grove City and were members of the Grove City Lacrosse Club. The CWLA and GCLC had a one-year arrangement to field one larger team.
That team will return this spring "with the strategy of having it convert to a school sport in one to two years, based on numbers," Paini said in an email to ThisWeekSPORTS.com.
Lacrosse became an OHSAA-sanctioned sport in 2016. There currently are 145 boys and 131 girls teams across the state.
The girls basketball team played its postseason opener earlier in the week.
The 14th-seeded Indians opened the 48-team Division I district tournament Feb. 17 at home against 36th-seeded Teays Valley. The winner will play 16th-seeded Northland in the second round Friday, Feb. 21, at the home of the better seed.