Being a part of two relays that ended up on the awards podium at the Division II district girls swimming and diving meet Feb. 12 at Ohio State didn't feel like a sure thing a few weeks ago to Hartley junior Emma Simone.
While ice skating earlier this winter, she suffered an elbow injury that kept her out of the water during one of the Hawks' most important training periods, the holiday break.
"I was a little surprised I was able to come back considering a little after Christmas I broke my elbow," Simone said. "Even though I'm not swimming great, I'm glad I'm (at district). It was a quick turnaround. I was only back in the water for a week or two before we started tapering."
The girls team finished seventh (128 points) at district behind champion Columbus School for Girls (401) as 31 teams scored, while the boys were 13th (66) behind champion Granville (253) as 34 teams scored.
The top two finishers in each swimming event advanced automatically to the state meet Thursday, Feb. 20, and Friday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.
Here's a list of state qualifiers.
The girls team's 200-yard medley relay put itself in the best position to qualify for state by placing fifth in 1 minute, 56.82 seconds. Freshman Mackenzie Frizzell opened the race, followed by senior Mia Phillips, Simone and freshman Grace Goodwin.
Phillips led off the seventh-place 200 free relay (1:47.13), followed by Simone and freshmen Chloe Albrecht and Goodwin.
"I wish we could have done better, but we still did really well," Frizzell said. "I knew at the beginning of the season that I'd probably (compete at district), but it's just exciting that I made it in more than just a relay."
Also finishing in the top eight at district were Phillips in the 100 breaststroke (sixth, 1:09.75) and 100 butterfly (eighth, 1:01.42), senior Bailey Smith in diving (sixth, 240.4) and freshman Abby DiNardo in the 100 breast (eighth, 1:10.66).
The top three finishers in girls diving advanced to state.
Also competing were freshman Ameliana Conigy in diving (ninth, 217.7), Simone in the 200 individual medley (15th, 2:26.33) and 100 fly (16th, 1:06.02), Frizzell in the 100 backstroke (16th, 1:06.73), DiNardo in the 200 IM (12th, 2:22.79), Albrecht in the 50 freestyle (26th, 27.3) and 100 free (30th, 1:01.67), Goodwin in the 50 free (23rd, 27.1) and 100 free (29th, 1:01.07), the 400 free relay of senior Maddy Shafhausen, juniors Ellie Kitsmiller and Megan Luallen and freshman Lilly Lindemann (12th, 4:03.4), seniors Olivia Bobak in the 100 back (23rd, 1:09.48), Gabby Jackson in the 200 IM (27th, 2:36.68) and Ellie Tanner in the 100 breast (tied for 18th, 1:15.61) and 200 IM (22nd, 2:32.85), Kitsmiller in the 100 fly (19th, 1:07.76) and 500 free (23rd, 6:11.97), Luallen in the 500 free (24th, 6:12.83) and junior Liza McClung in the 100 breast (tied for 18th, 1:15.61).
The boys team was led at district by the sixth-place 200 medley relay of senior Chad Kegelmayer, juniors Sam LeMay and Leo Noll and sophomore Will Sheridan (1:46.17).
"We were (seeded) ninth and ended up sixth, so I'd call that a good day," LeMay said. "We all dropped a lot of time from how fast we were going."
Also competing were Kegelmayer in the 200 free (19th, 1:56.7), LeMay in the 100 fly (ninth, 57.21) and 50 free (18th, 24.05), Noll in the 100 breast (16th, 1:07.55) and 50 free (10th, 23.67), Sheridan in the 100 back (19th, 1:03.35), sophomore Simon Sybert in diving (fourth, 257.75), the 200 free relay of LeMay, Noll, Sheridan and sophomore Stewart Landry (13th, 1:39.22) and the 400 free relay of Landry, Sheridan, sophomore Connor Phillips and freshman Jordan Madry (29th, 4:17).
Girls basketball team preps for tourney
The girls basketball team is seeded 15th for the 48-team Division I district tournament and opens the postseason Friday, Feb. 21, with a second-round home game against 23rd-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 27th-seeded Logan.
The winner plays third-seeded Westerville South, 30th-seeded Lancaster or 32nd-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Wednesday, Feb. 26, at a site to be determined. The district final is Feb. 29 at the Columbus Convention Center.
With a share of the CCL title on the line Feb. 11, the Hawks lost to Watterson 39-18 to close the regular season at 14-7 overall and place second in the league at 4-2, behind the Eagles (6-0).
"We played great defense (against Watterson)," coach Donald Dennis said. "(Only giving up) 39 (points) was solid. We just didn't score enough points. They're a great team, a top seed in Division I for a reason and (coach) Tom (Woodford) does a great job with them. We'll execute and we'll learn. The little things like second-chance opportunities and taking care of the basketball, we've got to tighten up on going into the tournament. We'll turn our focus to the second season and get ready for that."
Davidson was 11-10 and Logan was 12-10 heading into their tournament opener Feb. 15.
Hartley beat Ready 61-38 on Feb. 6 before being held to a season-low point total by Watterson. Junior forward Kami Kortokrax had a team-high eight points against the Eagles.
"(Kortokrax is) strong, she's smart, she likes physical contact and is just a tremendous athlete," said Dennis, whose team lost five of its final eight games of the regular season. "We're healthy at the right time going into the tournament. That's another thing that's got me excited. We're healthy and full-go, so we'll just get for the tournament."
Bowling teams open postseason
The boys bowling team earned a runner-up finish (3,463) behind Heath (3,756) in the Division II sectional Feb. 14 at HP Lanes as the top 12 teams advanced to district Thursday, Feb. 20, at the same venue.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Senior Victor Jackson and sophomore Ayden Jordan each rolled a 526 three-game series to tie for ninth and sophomore Marlin Yarborough was 32nd (477) to lead the Hawks.
"After the third game, we were in third place, 62 pins behind No. 2, and our Bakers were amazing," coach Chris Blum said. "It seemed like we got better every game. The pattern was pretty tough. We had a rough game one, but I felt like we stayed focused and stayed together as a team."
The girls team 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 the same venue.