Notebook: Dublin Coffman Shamrocks girls swimmers gearing up for postseason

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Freshman Emily Brown has helped add depth to a Coffman girls swimming and diving team that hopes to defend its Division I state championship.

Losing one of its top swimmers will force the Dublin Coffman girls swimming and diving team to make adjustments with how it fills its relays as it looks to defend its Division I state championship. 

But the Shamrocks believe they could have the talent – albeit younger – to help fill the gap left by the loss of senior Ava Warren to a season-ending injury. 

Still in the fold is senior Ellie Andrews, who remains one of the state’s top swimmers after winning the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke and swimming on two relays at state last season. 

In addition, freshmen Gabi Adams, Emily Brown and Reena Ding have helped the team build depth alongside sophomores Emma Bowman, Gretchen Schneider and Isabella Palazzo. Bowman and Schneider both swam on relays at state last season. 

“Things are going well except that we lost senior Ava Warren for the season due to an injury,” coach Steven VonSchriltz said. “Our kids are all training pretty well and we’ve competed hard in our meets. The progress of the incoming freshmen continues to get stronger. 

“Losing Ava was a blow to our team and everyone on the team is going to have to step up to help our relays score at states. I still have not figured out relays at this point and they could change from sectionals, districts and states.” 

Because of pool limitations and protocols involving the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Shamrocks have competed mostly in duals, including beating Olentangy Orange 98-67 on Jan. 22. 

There was no OCC-Central Division meet, leaving Coffman to prepare for a sectional that will be held during the second week of February at the Dublin Recreation Center against Jerome and Scioto. 

The district meet is Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. 

“(Andrews) has swam very well this season and has managed not only a high school meet schedule but also has competed in (several national meets),” VonSchriltz said. “She’s looking forward to defending her 200 IM and 100 breast state championships.” 

•First-year Jerome swimming and diving coach J.J. Spangler has been impressed with the way his program has progressed this winter. 

“Things have been going excellently so far this season,” Spangler said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team for my first year of (being a head coach). There have definitely been a lot of challenges when it comes to COVID protocols, but we’ve made things work. Seeing the athletes make the best of the situation we’re in has been amazing. Some of our athletes have made big sacrifices.” 

Both the boys and girls teams did not get the chance to defend their OCC-Cardinal titles because the OCC canceled league meets this season.  

According to Spangler, juniors Alex Davis (200 IM), Davis Lloyd (100 butterfly) and Carson Smith (100 freestyle, 200 free) and sophomores Andy Lu (sprints) and Dean Sherrer (distance) have been among the top boys swimmers. 

The girls team has spent most of the season without junior Lauren Smith because of an injury as junior Kelsey Cooper (100 backstroke), sophomore Libby Grether (200 free, 100 back) and freshman Audrey Brink (sprints) have led the way. 

“The boys are very strong this year overall,” Spangler said. “The guys across the board have had excellent swims and they’re just going to keep getting better.  

“On the girls side of relays, expect to see Libby and Kelsey as well as freshman Audrey Brink. Audrey has stepped into a large role.” 

–Jarrod Ulrey 

Jerome's Paige Wleklinski jumps with Olentangy's Ellen Kinnaird for the opening tip-off Jan. 8. Coach Pam Hartford said the Celtics have been showing improvement each game, especially on defense.

•The Jerome girls basketball team is finding its rhythm with the regular season winding down. 

With a 51-45 victory over New Albany on Jan. 26, the Celtics won their third consecutive game and improved to 6-9 overall. Jerome beat Thomas Worthington 34-29 on Jan. 22 to improve to 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal. 

“Each game they’re getting better and their defense is definitely getting stronger,” coach Pam Hartford said. “That’s helped us. We’re playing together better as a team on defense. All five on the court are more aware of what’s going on and it’s making us better.” 

Senior Amaris Lowery scored a program-record 34 points in a 59-56 overtime victory over Logan on Jan. 11. 

Then in a 60-48 win over Delaware on Jan. 23, Lowery went 14-for-14 from the free-throw line – including hitting 12 foul shots in the fourth quarter – while scoring 32 points. 

Lowery was averaging 17 points and shooting 86 percent from the free-throw line through 15 games.

Freshman guard Kadence Conley was averaging seven points, while senior post player Darby Adams, senior forward Meredith Wheeler, junior post player Paige Wleklinski and sophomore wing player Lisa Kuhlman also have been key contributors. 

“Team growth is what we’re looking for,” Hartford said.  

–Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Coffman boys swimming and diving team has only six competitors, including three freshmen, but flashed its potential by beating Orange 82-78 on Jan. 22. 

Juniors Joseph Nadur and Zach Stump and freshmen Juan Horta-Baltazar and Ben Nadur figure to lead the way in the postseason. 

Against Orange, the Shamrocks got first-place finishes from Stump in the 200 free (1 minute, 46.91 seconds) and 100 back (52.27), Joseph Nadur in the 200 IM (1:54.83) and 100 breast (1:00.38), Horta-Baltazar in the 50 free (23.85), Ben Nadur in the 100 fly (54.93), senior Dominic Novak in the 500 free (5:18.12) and all three relays. 

Freshman Ali Abdurahman rounds out the roster. 

“Ben Nadur and Juan Horta-Baltazar have made great strides and have also positioned themselves as potential state-meet qualifiers,” VonSchriltz said. “With only six boys on the team and three of them freshmen, I wasn’t sure how we’d compete in dual meets this season, but they’ve done a great job. … I feel pretty confident that Zach, Joseph, Ben and Juan can qualify two relays to states.” 

–Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Scioto boys basketball team continued its season without coach Mike Moler, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 20. 

Assistant coach Brent Cahill served as interim coach in place of Moler, who was expected to miss four games and was scheduled to return to the team Feb. 1. 

“This has been a frustrating season with the schedule changes,” Moler said. “We haven’t had one practice with everyone there this entire season with COVID, quarantine and injuries. We haven’t had a full team yet.” 

The Irish were 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Capital before playing Canal Winchester on Jan. 29. 

“We won’t get a full schedule in,” Moler said. “We’ll probably play about 15 games. We’ve been shut down twice for two weeks.” 

Tysen Boze had a season-high 23 points in a 49-42 loss at Westerville North on Jan. 26, while Jaydon Pearson had 17 points in a 60-30 loss to visiting Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 22. 

Scioto visits Delaware on Feb. 5. 

–Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports