The St. Charles swimming and diving team turned in a strong performance in the Division I district meet Feb. 13 at Ohio State, building momentum for state.
Spencer Aurnou-Rhees earned automatic state berths in two events by winning the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 49.83 seconds) and placing second in the 500 freestyle (4:33.68), and the Cardinals totaled 313 points to finish as runners-up to Upper Arlington (381.5) as 23 teams scored.
"I'm really happy with (my district performance)," Aurnou-Rhees said. "We did pretty well overall, so I was glad to see our hard work pay off."
The state meet is Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Joining Aurnou-Rhees as automatic qualifiers are Alex Nash, who won the 100 butterfly (50.68) at district, and the second-place 200 medley relay (1:33.75) of Mitchell List, Lukas Rakowsky, Seth Miller and Ryan Seidt.
The top two finishers in each district swimming event automatically advanced to state. 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.
Nash and Aurnou-Rhees joined Chase Bateman and Ben Stevenson on the third-place 200 free relay (1:25.47). Bateman, Stevenson, Wil Borchers and Aurnou-Rhees swam on the fourth-place 400 free relay (3:10.17).
"I thought I could have done a little bit better, but I'm happy with the team," Stevenson said.
"We practice hard in the morning. Getting up early like that to work out (helps build our success)."
Thomas Lennox was fourth in the 100 backstroke (51.91), and Will Elsrod was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (57.73) and sixth in the 200 IM (1:54.26). Stevenson was fifth in the 200 free (1:43.56) and Seidt was sixth in the 100 back (52.73).
Bateman was sixth in the 200 free (1:44.07) and eighth in the 100 free (47.35), and Borchers was eighth in the 200 free (1:44.98).
"Like we say at St. Charles, 'It's like a brotherhood,' " Aurnou-Rhees said. "We all just come to work and it pays off when we do well at meets."
Hockey team No. 2 seed for district
The hockey team is seeded second for the district tournament behind UA. Olentangy Liberty is the third seed.
The Cardinals have a first-round bye and open Sunday, Feb. 23, against 18th-seeded Columbus Academy or 19th-seeded Cincinnati Sycamore at OhioHealth Ice Haus. The winner plays sixth-seeded Olentangy Orange, 10th-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier or 24th-seeded Cincinnati Elder in a quarterfinal Feb. 29 at the Ice Haus.
St. Charles is 22-8-3-1 after losing to UA 3-0 in the Blue Jackets Cup championship game Feb. 16 at the Ice Haus. Goaltender Grant Wolf had 18 saves.
Owen Zimmerman scored his second goal of the game with 3:00 left in the second overtime as the Cardinals defeated Liberty 3-2 on Feb. 15 in a semifinal.
Marco Giambrone had three goals and an assist to lead St. Charles past Olentangy Berlin 5-2 on Feb. 13 in the first round.
Cooper leads way in Nye Classic
Declan Cooper won the title at 170 pounds as the wrestling team finished fourth (113) behind champion Lancaster (325.5) in the 14-team Nye Cardinal Classic on Feb. 15 at home.
Cherod Bowens (220) and George Cottrill (195) were runners-up. Caleb Kish (160) was third, Troy Hungerford (152) placed fourth and Tyler Gummer (106) finished fifth.
The basketball and bowling teams open their postseasons this week.
The 12th-seeded basketball team opens the Division I district tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, against 25th-seeded Big Walnut at Pickerington North. The winner plays Delaware on Feb. 28 in the second round.
The bowling team will compete in the Division I sectional Friday, Feb. 21, at HP Lanes.