Members of the Dublin Jerome swimming and diving program found numerous things to smile about during the Division I state meet Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
For the girls team, the 200-yard freestyle relay of seniors Maya Geringer and Macy Weeks and freshmen Libby Grether and Zoe Musselman placed 11th in a program-record 1 minute, 37.59 seconds and Geringer reached the awards podium in both of her individual events.
The boys team, meanwhile, turned in a top-10 finish for the fourth consecutive season.
"We had some ups and some lifetime bests," coach Patrick Johnston said. "We're really happy with the girls 200 free relay, which set a team record and had come in seeded 23rd. That was great movement out of them.
"We were really pleased with how the season played out as a whole. We wanted to finish a little higher on the team side (at state), but I think we gave our best effort and sometimes, other people swim a little faster."
The boys finished ninth (80.5 points) at state behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (310), and the girls finished 16th (49.5) behind champion Coffman (214). Fifty-three teams scored in both meets.
The highest finishes were turned in by Geringer, who finished sixth in the 200 free (1:51.15) and later placed third in the 500 free (4:52.58). She was state runner-up in the 500 free last season and is an Ohio State commit.
"She made it to the (championship final) in both the 200 free and 500 free, which was great, and we're very happy with her third-place finish in the 500 free," Johnston said.
Also competing were Grether in the 200 free (11th, 1:53.04), sophomore Kelsey Cooper in the 100 backstroke (16th, 57.73), the 200 medley relay of Cooper, Grether, sophomore Lauren Smith and freshman Charlotte Laycock (19th, 1:49.45) and the 400 free relay of Cooper, Geringer, Grether and sophomore Michelle Yang (20th, 3:36.95).
"It's really amazing seeing all the great talent here as a freshman," Grether said. "It makes me want to work harder."
Leading the boys team were the seventh-place 200 free relay (1:25.9) and eighth-place 400 free relay (3:07.62). Both relays were comprised of seniors Austin Davis, Reno James and Ian Smith and sophomore Carson Smith.
"It's good that we came back with a big group this year," Ian Smith said.
After James and King Mills Kings' Jake Young tied during the preliminary of the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:52.32 on Feb. 21, they competed in a swim-off to determine the final competitor in the championship final.
James swam a personal-best time of 1:51.6 but Young won the swim-off in 1:50.44. James then finished 12th (1:52.32) in the event to go along with a 14th-place finish in the 100 butterfly (50.49).
"(Competing in the swim-off) was really rough and stressful, but I'm happy with my swims and it was a great ending to my high school career," James said. "This has been my favorite team we've ever had. I just love the community. The freshmen that came in were really exciting and fun and they helped make the season go by more smoothly. I'm going to miss (my team) so much."
Also competing at state were Carson Smith in the 500 free (12th, 4:36.34), Ian Smith in the 100 free (12th, 46.62) and 100 breaststroke (12th, 57.69), Davis in the 200 IM (16th, 1:55.34), the 200 medley relay of sophomore Alex Davis, freshman Andy Lu, senior Patrick Wellman and junior Austin Wyner (17th, 1:37.02) and Alex Davis in the 200 IM (23rd, 1:57.62).
Girls basketball team reaches district semi
With the girls basketball team trailing 11th-seeded Big Walnut 24-14 early in the third quarter of a second-round game in the Division I district tournament Feb. 21, senior guard Jamie Cline hit a 3-pointer to help spark a rally by the visiting Celtics.
Jerome, the 19th seed, went on a 13-2 run and pulled out a 33-30 victory.
"It's so good," Cline said. "We've been working for it for so long and it feels good to have it come. It's been one of our goals to go further in the tournament."
Jerome improved to 15-9 and advanced to play fourth-seeded Coffman in a district semifinal Feb. 26.
The only other time in program history the Celtics have advanced past the second round of the tournament was in 2017, which was coach Natalie Herring's first season.
It also marks the first time Jerome has won more than one tournament game in the same season.
"For the seniors, that was a goal, to win two tournament games," said Herring, whose team opened the postseason Feb. 14 with a 42-21 win over 35th-seeded Thomas Worthington. "They knew they needed to have a good enough (regular season) to get a good enough seed to get us on the bracket where we needed to go."
Cline had 16 points and Amaris Lowery scored 10 against Big Walnut.
"We told them at halftime that the ball would eventually go in, and it did," Herring said. "We got outrebounded horribly in the first half and we did a better job in the second half. We did a good job of switching up our defenses at the end of the game. I thought the girls did a good job of executing our game plan."
The semifinal winner plays seventh-seeded Gahanna or 10th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a district final Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Columbus Convention Center.
The district champion faces Watkins Memorial, Newark, Canal Winchester or Olentangy Orange in a regional semifinal Tuesday, March 3, at Otterbein.
Wrestlers to open postseason action
The wrestling team will compete in a Division I sectional Saturday, Feb. 29, at Upper Arlington, where the top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.