Delaware Hayes Roundup: Pacers swimmers battled way to state meet

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Senior Connor Green led the way for the Delaware Hayes swimming and diving program at state. He finished 15th in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 free.

A challenging season for the Delaware Hayes boys and girls swimming and diving teams ended on a high note, with three individuals and a relay competing in the Division I state meet Feb. 26 and 27 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. 

Despite fewer meets and reduced practice time, as well as numerous restrictions because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, coach Jordan Nicol said the Pacers took everything in stride and put together a successful season. 

“When they came to practice they worked hard, and they were able to kind of set aside really early that it wasn’t going to be a normal season, but they didn’t let that get in their way too much,” he said. “They could have gone into the season and been down the whole time and been sad about the whole thing, but they got over that pretty quickly and they got to work.”

Connor Green led the way at state. The senior finished 15th of 24 swimmers in both the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 42.76 seconds) and the 500 free (4:41.66). 

Junior diver Mark Sulek also represented the boys at state, finishing 22nd (159.7) of 25 divers. 

Mackenzie Carter, a sophomore, was the girls’ lone individual competitor. She finished 21st of 25 swimmers in the 50 free (24.22), an improvement of one spot after placing 22nd (24.25) as a freshman.

Carter plans to stay busy in the offseason in hopes of making further improvements as a junior.

“States this year was definitely different, but I’m happy with my state placement and how the season went,” she said. “I also definitely have some areas I need to improve on, and this summer I will be focusing on fine-tuning and improving my stroke to get ready for next high school season.” 

Senior Rena Ouyang joined sophomore Mackenzie Carter, junior Kailyn Smith and freshman Natalie Fiant on the Pacers' 18th-place 200 free relay at state.

Carter also competed on the 200 free relay with senior Rena Ouyang, junior Kailyn Smith and freshman Natalie Fiant. They finished 18th (1:39.32) of 24 teams. 

Nicol said Fiant was the standout performer on the relay. At state, Fiant accomplished a season-long goal of finishing under 25.0 in her split, coming in at 24.78.

“She was really hoping all season to get under 25 (seconds) in her split, and she was a 24-mid,” Nicol said. “She was excited to see that drop.” 

Other top expected returnees for the Pacers include juniors Max Etheridge and Ryan Gray and sophomore Kaden Gannon.

Eight wrestlers

advance to district 

The wrestling team was well represented in the Division I district tournament.

Eight Pacers qualified for district March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby by placing in the top four in a sectional Feb. 27 at Watkins Memorial. 

Devin Halliday (160 pounds) won a sectional title. Also advancing were Clay Ours (195, second at sectional), Marshall Klingel (heavyweight, second), Maddox Edwards (170, second), Tamas Eder (126, third), Cannon Cavazos (182, third), Brian Beal (220, fourth) and Wilson Zembo (145, fourth). 

Joe Shrewsbery placed fifth at 152, making him a district alternate. 

“We are very proud of this group,” co-coach Kevin Rieman said. “In such a crazy year they have continued to work hard regardless of the circumstances. It seems they are wrestling their best at the right time, which is always the goal.”

The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament March 13 and 14 at Darby. 

“The guys have done an exceptional job of dealing with adversity this year,” co-coach Josh Lamb said. “They took it all in stride and made the best of circumstances.” 

Gymnasts conclude

season at district 

The gymnastics team finished its season in the district meet Feb. 27 at Worthington Kilbourne. 

The Pacers finished 19th (118.075) of 24 teams as Olentangy Berlin (141.125), Dublin Jerome (141.125) and Thornville Sheridan (139.875) advanced to the state team meet March 5 at Hilliard Bradley. 

Senior Jeorgia Turturice was the Pacers’ top all-around performer, finishing 67th of 122 competitors in the all-around (30.6). The top eight individuals in each event and the all-around advanced to the state individual meet March 6 at Bradley. 

Turturice scored 7.825 on vault, 7.0 on uneven bars, 8.1 on balance beam and 7.675 on floor exercise. 

Other top performers for the Pacers were sophomore Maddi Francisco, who finished 73rd in the all-around (30.325) and sophomore Allyson DesJardins, who finished 84th (29.35). 

Other key expected returnees include junior Madeline Coleson and freshman Kaitlyn Zimmers.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

GYMNASTICS 

OCC-Capital standings: Olentangy Liberty (26, 6-0), Worthington Kilbourne (26, 5-1), Hilliard Davidson (20, 4-2), Lancaster (16, 3-3), Dublin Scioto (12, 2-4), Delaware (8, 1-5), Big Walnut (4, 0-6)

Seniors lost: Kirsten Myers and Jeorgia Turturice 

Key returnees: Madeline Coleson, Allyson DesJardins, Maddi Francisco and Kaitlyn Zimmers

Postseason: 19th (118.075) at district behind co-champions Olentangy Berlin and Dublin Jerome (141.125)

SWIMMING & DIVING 

Seniors lost: Boys – Connor Green; Girls – Meredith Keller, Rena Ouyang, Abigail Richardson, Madison Richardson and Elizabeth Uniss

Key returnees: Boys – Max Etheridge, Kaden Gannon, Ryan Gray and Mark Sulek; Girls – Mackenzie Carter, Natalie Fiant and Kailyn Smith

Postseason: Boys – Second (237) at sectional behind Thomas Worthington (476), 13th (59) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (348.5), tied for 43rd (4) at state behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (227.5); Girls – First (350) at sectional, 11th (59) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (348.5)