Columbus Academy Roundup: Lauren Klinefelter, Vikings girls relay reach podium at state swim meet

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Columbus Academy's Mary Kate Prall takes off for the first leg of the 200 medley relay in the Division II state meet Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. The Vikings finished fifth.

Competing with just five athletes, the Columbus Academy girls swimming and diving team turned in a solid effort in the Division II state meet Feb. 24 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. 

Led by junior Lauren Klinefelter, the Vikings finished 11th (56) behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (387) as 59 teams scored. 

“It was a great job by all,” coach Craig Yakscoe said. “They had a super evening.” 

Klinefelter finished sixth in the 100-yard butterfly (57.36 seconds) and 10th in the 200 individual medley (2:11.88). She also joined juniors Alexandra Butnariu, Mary Kate Prall and Emma Yakam on the fifth-place 200 medley relay (1:49.39) and Butnariu, Prall and freshman Ella Lowrie on the 13th-place 400 freestyle relay (3:43.41). 

The top eight finishers reach the awards podium.

“I know Lauren wanted to do better, but she gave it all she had,” Yakscoe said. 

Junior Blake Skilken qualified for her first state meet in diving, but had to withdraw because of a left ankle injury. 

Competing with the injury, Skilken finished second (370.8) at district Feb. 16 at Jefferson Country Club. She underwent an MRI leading up to state and was advised by her doctor to rest the ankle. 

“I really wanted to dive, but when I tried, I couldn’t even make one hurdle,” Skilken said. “I got it rechecked and the doctor said something might be torn. He told me if I dove, it might prolong the recovery. ... I’m happy to be a state qualifier, but I still wished I could have pushed through and dove at state, but knew it probably wasn’t smart.” 

Skilken missed most of her freshman season with a shoulder injury and missed her sophomore season while studying in England. 

“I was very disappointed,” diving coach Jill McInerney said. “This was her first season back after two years, so I was looking forward to getting to see her dive (at state). It was very unfortunate. It’s disappointing when she’s finally back and healthy, another injury happens. 

“I know she’s motivated and driven and wants to show how good she is.” 

Academy's Alek Balaloski prepares for his leg of the 200 freestyle relay during the Division II state meet Feb. 25 in Canton.

The boys team had one entrant at state Feb. 25 in Canton, with juniors Drake Bellisari and Cy Richardson and sophomores Alek Balaloski and Gavin Lewis finishing 16th in the 200 free relay (1:31.11). 

Academy tied for 57th (2) behind champion Hawken (228) as 61 teams scored. 

Girls basketball team 

earns postseason win 

The girls basketball team closed the season by splitting a pair of games in the Division III district tournament. 

After beating 14th-seeded Centerburg 34-28 on Feb. 17, the 12th-seeded Vikings lost at second-seeded Cardington 59-45 in the second round Feb. 20 to finish 8-9. 

“I’m proud of the girls and I’m proud of the strides we made, especially after coming back after quarantine,” said coach Heather Rakosik, whose team was forced to suspend its season because of COVID-19. “We had a slow week after quarantine, but after that we really picked it up and improved. We ended the season with some good play and good effort, which is very rewarding.” 

Against Cardington, junior guard Sophie Spolter led Academy with 19 points. 

Spolter averaged a team-high 12.9 points, followed by senior guard Kayla McClendon at 11.5. 

Sophomore forward Claire Cahall averaged 7.2 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds. 

Others eligible to return are juniors Kennedy Jackson (forward), Diana Ulbrich (guard) and Claudia Warstler (forward) and sophomore Samantha Frickel (forward). 

Hockey team

closes season

The hockey team beat 18th-seeded Kettering Alter 4-3 in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 20 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Senior forward/defenseman Campbell Gwin, junior forwards Jake Carlin and Max Walker and sophomore forward A.J. Bradley all scored. 

The 19th-seeded Vikings then lost to second-seeded Upper Arlington 4-0 on Feb. 21 at the Ice Haus to finish 8-16-1-1.

“We were super proud of the guys (against UA),” coach Corey Taber said. “You never know what you’re walking into in a game like that. We were able to play up to the competition, so it was good to see.” 

Gwin led Academy with 21 goals and six assists, and Carlin had 12 goals and 11 assists. 

Senior goalie Max Crane closed out a four-year career as a starter. 

Others eligible to return are juniors Kyle Berndorf (goalie), Jack Carlin (forward), Connor Harris (defenseman), Cassidy Jones (forward), Allen Koganov (defenseman), Arden Preza (forward), Alex Sterkowicz (forward) and Andrew Zaki (forward), sophomores Ethan Kim (forward), Jake Lichten (forward) and Griffen Meyers (forward) and freshmen Eijah Broh (forward), Julius Feibel (forward), Lauren Golden (defenseman), Joseph Sardo (forward), Eric Schuster (forward) and Nicholas Tiberi (forward). 

“Overall, we’re happy,” Taber said. “There were a few games where we could have picked up and could have done a little more damage in the (CHC-)Blue Division, but it was an odd year for us with guys being out sick or quarantined or with different priorities.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

GIRLS BASKETBALL 

Record: 8-9 overall 

MSL-Ohio standings: Worthington Christian (9-0), Bexley (8-2), Whitehall (5-2), Columbus Academy (4-3), Buckeye Valley (3-5), Columbus School for Girls (4-5), Grandview (1-9), Wellington (0-8)

Seniors lost: Olivia Archibald, Chloe Gouhin and Kayla McClendon 

Key returnees: Claire Cahall, Sophie Spolter and Claudia Warstler 

Postseason: Defeated Centerburg 34-28; lost to Cardington 59-45 in second round of Division III district tournament 

HOCKEY 

Record: 8-16-1-1 overall 

CHC-Blue standings: Olentangy (22, 11-5), Watterson (20, 10-6), Gahanna (16, 9-7), Academy (13, 6-10-0-1), Worthington Kilbourne (9, 4-11-0-1), DeSales (6, 3-14), Dublin Scioto (0, 0-16) 

Seniors lost: Luke Budzik, Max Crane, Patrick Daly, Andrew Golden, Campbell Gwin, Suzy L’Hommedieu, Nate Rausch and Xander Wood 

Key returnees: Jake Carlin, Max Walker and Andrew Zaki 

Postseason: Def. Kettering Alter 4-3; lost to Upper Arlington 4-0 in second round of district tournament

SWIMMING & DIVING 

•MSL-Ohio standings:  Boys — Academy (337), Bexley (208), Wellington (189), Buckeye Valley (180), Grandview (169), Worthington Christian (21); Girls — Columbus School for Girls (397), Academy (247), Grandview (165), Bexley (157), Buckeye Valley (84), Wellington (73), Worthington Christian (25) 

Seniors lost: Boys — Rowan Hennessy; Girls — None 

Key returnees: Boys — Alek Balaloski, Luke Boltz, Cyrus Hannallah, Gavin Lewis and Cyrus Richardson; Girls — Alexandria Butnariu, Julia DeVore, Lauren Klinefelter, Mary Kate Prall, Blake Skilken and Emma Yakam 

Postseason: Boys — Second (235) at sectional behind Granville (273), fifth (146) at district behind champion Dover (218.5), tied for 57th (2) at state behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (228); Girls — First (300) at sectional, third (208) at district behind champion CSG (403), 11th (56) at state behind champion Hawken (387)