DeSales Roundup: Stallions' Libby Ruff ready to begin push for state meet
DeSales swimmer Libby Ruff enters a Division I sectional Feb. 12 at Thomas Worthington closing in on her desired times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, events in which she has fallen short of the Division I state meet each of the past two seasons.
The junior’s winning times of 2 minutes, 2.13 seconds and 5:26.29 in those events, respectively, in the CCL meet Jan. 30 at St. Charles left her room for progress heading into sectional, but those performances also came before she fully began preparation for the postseason.
“I am pretty happy with how I’m doing given that I’m not tapered or anything,” Ruff said. “Hopefully this year the time drops will be enough to get to state.”
Ruff qualified for district in the 200 and 500 free in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, setting program records of 1:57.96 and 5:15.52 at that meet last year. She finished 12th in the 500 free, 6.73 seconds shy of the last qualifying berth to state, and 14th in the 200 free, 2.83 seconds from state.
Her personal-best 500 free time entering sectional is 5:11, set during a club meet last year.
“She’s so much farther along than she was a year ago,” coach Ryan Buechner said. “She’s a lot better mentally and physically. She was able to focus on practice more and not have as many meets. That lets you focus on just getting better.”
Ruff, who is trying to become the Stallions’ first state qualifier since Maureen Cummins in 2016, acknowledged that her near-misses have been her top motivation. She began lifting weights last spring and adjusted her diet to include more fruits, vegetables and proteins, something she smilingly admitted was tough given her love for baking.
“It’s a little stressful looking at all the other times and knowing I’m a couple seconds away,” Ruff said. “I’ve been putting more effort into my recovery and doing my stretches, making sure I’m the best I can be physically, and I’ve been trying to eat healthier.”
At the CCL meet, Ruff also anchored the runner-up 400 free relay (4:08.33) with Kaitlin Emmerling, Isabella Felter and Lydia Letzelter and third-place 200 free relay (1:56.46) with Ashley Anderson, Letzelter and Kathryn Stone. The Stallions girls team finished third (281) behind Watterson (462) and Hartley (324) and ahead of Ready (28).
Brady McInerney’s win in the 200 individual medley (1:58.33) led the boys to second place (217) behind St. Charles (539) and ahead of Hartley (196), Watterson (115) and Ready (2).
From sectional, the top 24 in individual events and the top 16 relays advance to district at Bowling Green based on times. The Division II district meet is Feb. 18 and the Division I meet is Feb. 21.
“I just have to remind myself to keep pushing. It’s a mind over matter thing,” Ruff said. “I’ve always had that approach in my head whenever I am struggling during practice or a meet. The physical pain will be done soon enough. Once it’s over, I’ll be so happy with what I did that the pain won’t matter.”
Watson moves up
boys scoring list
Boys basketball standout Desmond Watson continued his climb up the program’s all-time scoring list the past few weeks, closing in on second place as the Stallions vied for their second consecutive CCL championship.
Consecutive games of 30 or more points lifted Watson’s career total to 1,401 before a Feb. 5 game at St. Charles. He scored 37 points, 26 of which came in the second half or overtime, in a 73-69 home win over St. Charles on Jan. 27, and on his first basket two nights later at Ready passed 2007 graduate Elijah Allen into third place.
Allen finished with 1,312 points.
Watson, a Davidson recruit, had 13 games of 20 or more points before Feb. 5 and three with at least 30, the first being a 32-point outing Jan. 20 in a 59-56 overtime win over Watterson.
The program’s top two scorers are Nick Kellogg, who had 1,654 points from 2006-10, and Steve Fields, who scored 1,457 from 1969-71.
Seven Stallions have finished with at least 1,000 points, three of whom did so within the past five seasons in Watson, Caden Sanchez (1,070 from 2013-17) and Kayin Derden (1,015 from 2015-19).
DeSales was 11-4 overall and 5-2 in the CCL, first by a half-game ahead of Ready (4-2), before Feb. 5. The Silver Knights completed a season sweep of the Stallions with a 75-69 overtime win Jan. 29 after having won 48-46 at DeSales on Dec. 18.
preps for CBJ Cup
The hockey team will participate in the Blue Jackets Cup, the CHC’s postseason tournament, from Feb. 12-14 before beginning the district tournament next week.
DeSales was 3-11 overall and in the league before playing Gahanna on Feb. 3, the first of three games in five days to end the CHC schedule. Each of those three wins had been against Dublin Scioto, the most recent being by a 5-1 score Jan. 22 at Chiller Easton.
The Stallions were sixth in the CHC-Blue before Feb. 3 and locked into a spot in the Blue Jackets Cup’s consolation tournament. Brackets were to be finalized after league play concluded Feb. 7.
The district tournament draw was scheduled for Feb. 10.