Columbus Academy Roundup: Swimming squads prep for postseason

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Lauren Klinefelter and her teammates in the Columbus Academy swimming and diving program are preparing for the MSL meet and the Division II postseason.

Although his program’s season has been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Columbus Academy swimming and diving coach Craig Yakscoe has attempted to create a sense of normalcy for his athletes.

The Vikings have had a limited number of meets with no fans allowed for their home events. 

“This year it’s awesome that we’re swimming,” Yakscoe said. “The hardest part is the social piece because they just want to be with their friends and I get that 100 percent. For the most part, everybody is doing really well. ... We’re staying distanced and we’re competing.” 

Academy is preparing for the MSL meet, which it will host Jan. 29 for the boys and Jan. 30 for the girls. 

Yakscoe said sites and dates for the Division II sectional meets were still being determined last week, but Academy again is willing to serve as a host. 

“If we can help, we will,” he said. 

The site of the district meet also had yet to be determined, but the state meet will return to Branin Natatorium in Canton on Feb. 24-27 with limited spectators and no preliminary sessions.

“We’re going to do everything we can like it was a normal year and move forward with our training and our workouts, and tapering the same way,” Yakscoe said. “We may be treating district ... like prelims for the state meet.” 

The Division II girls finals will be held Feb. 24, with the boys meet scheduled for Feb. 25. 

“With our top four or five girls, we should be able to send a couple of relays (to state),” Yakscoe said. “Our boys are still young, but we might be able to squeak in a relay, maybe an individual event with Gavin (Lewis), and Luke (Boltz) is another one. It’s certainly possible.” 

The Vikings received several solid performances in a home meet Jan. 16. The boys defeated Grandview 119-39, and the girls finished first (87) ahead of Grandview (62) and Liberty Union (9). 

Boltz won the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 1.05 seconds) and 100 backstroke (1:04.25). He also teamed with Lewis, Cyrus Hannallah and Drake Bellisari to win the 200 medley relay (1:05.45) and Bellisari, Lewis and Alek Balaloski to finish first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:37.55). 

“It's a good environment to be in,” said Rowan Hennessy, who won the 50 free (25.22) and was part of the first-place 400 free relay (4:07.03). “It’s always enjoyable to have some consistency, especially right now. This is a fun thing to participate in.” 

For the girls, Mary Kate Prall won the 200 individual medley (2:24.69) and 100 back (1:05.65), and Prall, Lauren Klinefelter, Emma Yakam and Alexandria Butnariu won the 200 medley relay (2:00.07). 

“The goals are always the same, try to win our league then sectional and then on to district,” Hennessy said. 

Kevin Reeves delivered career highs in points (19), rebounds (16) and blocked shots (4) in the Vikings' 50-37 win at Wellington on Jan. 15.

Reeves helping to lead

boys basketball team 

Kevin Reeves has helped to lead a balanced effort for the boys basketball team, including recording career highs in points (19), rebounds (16) and blocked shots (4) in a 50-37 win at Wellington on Jan. 15. 

“That’s a nice little game he put together,” coach Jeff Warstler said.

Academy was 7-4 overall before playing Marion Elgin on Jan. 23 and is 2-2 in the MSL-Ohio.

Brady Hess scored 11 points and Jared Kass had 10 in a 40-32 win at Grandview on Jan. 19. 

Warstler called a 54-52 win Jan. 9 over Big Walnut, a Division I program, a highlight of the season. 

“That win over Big Walnut was up there with some of the big ones we had with these great teams two, three years ago,” Warstler said. “That was a really nice one.” 

The Vikings beat visiting Central Crossing 39-20 on Jan. 20 as Reeves scored 11 points and Hess added 10.

Academy resumes league play Jan. 29 against visiting Buckeye Valley. 

“I feel pretty good about this team,” Warstler said. “We don’t have a problem taking on challenges. If we do the things we’re supposed to do defensively, we can make things tough on people. We’re still working to find consistent ways to get the ball in the basket. These guys execute really well and shots will fall for us and when they don’t, we have to get stops.” 

Hockey team gaining 

valuable ice time 

The hockey team went 0-4 in the Olentangy Orange Pioneer Classic held Jan. 15-17 at Chiller North. 

“Typically, we go out of town for that weekend and with everything that’s going on, we were lucky enough to get a spot in that tournament,” coach Corey Taber said. “It was a really good group of teams and a really competitive tournament and I was happy overall.” 

The Vikings lost to Olentangy 5-1 on Jan. 15 before falling to the PHA Prowlers club team and Dublin Coffman by 4-3 scores Jan. 16. They lost to Watterson 9-0 on Jan. 17. 

Andrew Zaki scored two goals and Campbell Gwin added one against PHA. 

“The message was if we play like that we should be doing much better in our league,” Taber said of the losses to PHA and Coffman. “We were proud of them for those games.” 

Academy was 5-11-0-1 overall and 5-7-0-1 in the CHC-Blue before playing DeSales on Jan. 22. 

“We’re not completely happy with our league play,” Taber said. “It’s one of those things that could definitely be better. We’ve fallen on the wrong side of several one-goal games, but the guys are playing well in our league games. It’s just a matter of picking things up in the last period to start falling on the right side of those.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank