Nate Gaver walked away from the Division I district swimming and diving meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State believing he still hadn't peaked.
A season after making his first appearance in the state meet, the Reynoldsburg junior guaranteed himself another spot there with a district runner-up finish in the 50-yard freestyle (20.62 seconds).
"I'm not shaved right now, so I'm hoping to drop another half-second in the 50 (free at state)," Gaver said. "It's a pretty good feeling. I'm really excited."
At district, the boys were 17th (35) behind champion Upper Arlington (381.5) as 23 teams scored and the girls did not score as New Albany was first (378).
The top two finishers in each district swimming event automatically advanced to the state meet, which holds preliminaries Friday, Feb. 21, and finals Saturday, Feb. 22, 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.
Gaver also earned a spot on the district podium in the 100 free, in which he finished third (45.98).
Last season, Gaver was fifth at district and 14th at state in the 50 free. He believes the extra focus he has placed on starting races has made a difference.
"I was getting off the blocks really fast," Gaver said. "I felt strong coming off and my turns also felt pretty good. Those are things I've been working on pretty hard throughout this year and being able to do it all well (at district) is good."
Also at district, Gaver swam on the 21st-place 200 medley relay (1:47.97) and 16th-place 200 free relay (1:35.57) with juniors Malachi Nichols and Austin Harter and sophomore Max Hutson-Comeaux.
Hutson-Comeaux was 17th in the 500 free (4:55.79) and freshman Freddie Culbert was 20th in diving (212.45).
The 500 free relay of Harter, Nichols and juniors Dhishan Kashyap and Jonathan Begeny was disqualified.
For the girls, junior Kasey Lichtner finished 21st in the 50 free (25.18) and 24th in the 100 butterfly (1:00.17). She also joined sophomores Olivia Dulay and Anna Haines and freshman Sarah LeMay on the 200 free relay that was disqualified.
"I was happy with how I swam, especially in the butterfly," Lichtner said.
"I had a little bit more taper this time than at sectionals, so it felt better. Our relay dropped some time. We got disqualified but we still did really well and qualifying (for district) was a big deal for us."
Boys team beats Gales
In what was its second game without its head coach on the bench, the boys basketball team beat Lancaster 61-56 on Feb. 14 to lock up a winning record.
Scott Davis, who is in his eighth season as coach, was placed on administrative leave because of what Reynoldsburg administrators called "an incident between Davis and one of our students" after a 60-59 overtime win Feb. 4 over Central Crossing.
Shawn Elliott served as interim coach Feb. 7 when the Raiders lost to Pickerington North 64-57 as well as against the Golden Gales, as they improved to 12-10 overall and finished 3-7 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
Elliott is in his third season on Reynoldsburg's staff after previously serving as an assistant at Gahanna for six seasons. He was serving as the junior varsity coach and as a varsity assistant.
Davis' status remained uncertain at the beginning of the week.
"These guys we have are a resilient bunch of kids," Elliott said. "They were hit pretty hard with some adversity and they stood toe-to-toe with it, looked it in the eye and we just told them we need to come together stronger than ever."
The 17th-seeded Raiders open the Division I district tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at home against 27th-seeded Dublin Scioto. The winner plays at 15th-seeded New Albany on Feb. 28 in the second round.
Against Lancaster, senior forward Sean Moore made four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, senior guard James Dean had 18 points and sophomore guard Julian Heckman added 10.
The tournament opener represents a rematch of a game the Raiders won 48-47 on Jan. 18.
Heckman made a pair of free throws with 25 seconds left to seal the victory and Moore scored 13 points.
Senior guard Jayden Prince had 23 points in that game for the Irish, who were 11-10 before closing the regular season Feb. 18 at Westerville Central.
"The Pickerington North (loss Feb. 7), we really got after it and really jelled together, came together and picked each other up, just fought hard," Elliott said. "I was so proud of the way they fought against Pick North.
"We played (Scioto) and got them by one point at our place. We've got our work cut out for us for that, but we'll be ready and prepared. They're coached very well and they had a guy that scored 20-plus so he got hot, and we didn't play particularly well that night. We didn't get up and down the floor very well."
The boys and girls bowling teams will open the Division I postseason this week.
The boys compete at sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes. The girls compete Saturday, Feb. 22, at the same site.