DeSales boys swimmer Brady McInerney doesn't expect to drop another seven seconds in the 200-yard individual medley entering the Division II state meet Thursday, Feb. 20, and Friday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

But McInerney, a sophomore, is confident enough entering his second state meet to not rule anything out.

McInerney was runner-up in the 200 IM (program-record 1 minutes, 56.34 seconds) at district Feb. 12 at Ohio State, earning an automatic berth to state with a time 7.41 seconds faster than what he swam just four days earlier in a sectional at Thomas Worthington. McInerney led the Stallions to 110 points and eighth place at district behind champion Granville (253) as 34 teams scored.

"I didn't know I'd drop that much. I was anticipating a pretty big drop because my performance at the sectional wasn't the absolute best I could do. I wasn't feeling my best so being able to drop seven seconds is pretty good," McInerney said. "Being able to finish pretty high at state (as a freshman) kind of helps my confidence this year to perform at a better level earlier on. I can go into state with a lot more confidence, knowing I belong."

McInerney, who finished 10th in the 200 IM and 20th in the 100 backstroke last year at state, was DeSales' only automatic qualifier.

The top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to state. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.

Here's a list of state qualifiers.

McInerney also was third in the 100 back (program-record 53.97) at district and helped the 200 free relay (1:34.24) and 200 medley relay (1:45.64) to fifth-place finishes with Wyatt Hanley, Will Jordan and Aaron Spittell.

Wyatt Hanley was the Stallions' other top individual, finishing sixth in the 100 back (57.06) and 12th in the 200 free (1:54.25).

"I wanted to get top five (in the 100 back) because if you're in the top five, your chances of getting to state are that much better, and I also wanted to break 57 seconds because I've been training really hard and I thought I could get that," Hanley said.

"I felt like I could go somewhere as a freshman. Making district and being in the final heat (with the fastest swimmers), I knew I could go far. I achieved that. I'm happy with what I've done."

Also at district, Spittell finished 15th in the 200 IM (2:19.19) and 16th in the 100 butterfly (1:01.49), Reece Hanley was 21st in the 500 free (5:40.23), Jordan was 26th in the 100 fly (1:03.15) and the 400 free relay of Reece Hanley, Noah Pugh, Luca Ricci and Leo Sears placed 23rd (3:57.94).

In the Division I district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State, Libby Ruff finished 12th in the 500 free (5:15.52) and 14th in the 200 free (1:57.96) to lead the girls team to eight points and 24th place behind champion New Albany (378) as 26 teams scored.

The 200 free relay of Ashley Anderson, Annamarie DeGuzman, Lydia Letzelter and Ruff finished 22nd (1:49.81) and the 400 free relay of DeGuzman, Letzelter, Ruff and Kaitlyn Schaefer was 29th (4:05.02).

Boys bowlers to begin postseason

The boys bowling team hopes to build on its strong regular season when it competes in the Division I sectional tournament Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes.

The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at HP Lanes.

DeSales went 18-1 overall during the regular season as well as 12-1 in the COHSBC-D Division to finish in sole possession of first place, one match ahead of Ready and St. Charles (both 11-2), and 7-1 in the CCL to tie St. Charles for the league championship.

At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

The girls team, which went 10-7 overall, 10-2 in the COHSBC-D and 2-4 in the CCL, will compete in the Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 22, at HP Lanes. The top 16 teams and top 16 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Feb. 29 at HP Lanes.

Boys team falls short of CCL title

The boys basketball team finished its regular season against two Division I opponents, a 59-57 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 at Worthington Kilbourne, but in the meantime settled for a second-place finish in the CCL.

DeSales finished league play at 6-2 after a 69-59 home loss to St. Charles on Feb. 7. Combined with St. Charles' 84-68 win over Ready on Feb. 14, the Stallions finished a game behind the first-place Cardinals (7-1) and a game ahead of Ready (5-3).

A league championship would have been the Stallions' second in a row and the ninth in program history.

DeSales, which was 15-6 overall before playing Kilbourne, is off until Feb. 29, when it plays host to 14th-seeded Centennial or 15th-seeded Licking Valley in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

The Stallions are seeded third of 22 teams.

Desmond Watson had 21 points and Austin Mann scored 14 in the loss to Liberty, in which the Stallions were outscored 27-17 in the fourth quarter.

Postseason update

The gymnastics and hockey teams will open their postseasons this week.

The gymnastics team will compete in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at Worthington Kilbourne.

That same day, the 25th-seeded hockey team opens the 25-team district tournament against eighth-seeded Cincinnati Moeller at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The winner will play seventh-seeded Olentangy Berlin in the second round Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Ice Haus.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave