Reynoldsburg Roundup: Raiders swimmer Nate Gaver delivers another standout effort at state

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Reynoldsburg senior Nate Gaver takes off for the start of the 50-yard freestyle during the Division I state meet Feb. 27 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Gaver placed third in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 breaststroke.

With an eye on showcasing his versatility, Nate Gaver didn’t rest on the accolades of making it to the Division I state swimming and diving meet last season in two sprint events. 

The Reynoldsburg senior again entered this year’s postseason in the 50-yard freestyle after finishing seventh at state last season, but instead of competing in the 100 free, he decided a few weeks ago to make the 100 breaststroke his second individual event. 

Although he had mixed emotions about how well he swam in the 100 breast Feb. 27 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, Gaver closed his prep career with a seventh-place finish in the 100 breast (57.15) after improving on last year’s finish in the 50 free by placing third (20.36) in that event. 

“I actually wasn’t expecting to make state in the 100 breast,” Gaver said. “I started training in November for the 100 breast and I’ve dropped three and a half seconds this season. That bodes well for future time drops and not just for relays. That’s my (third-best) event. I decided at the beginning of the season that I wanted to just establish a day-three event for college swimming. 

“I came in here seeded third and it kind of fell apart. My turns weren’t too great, and my finish was really long. At this level everything’s got to be perfect to place well and drop time. It’s definitely not how I wanted the 100 breast to go, but it was my last hurrah as a high-schooler.” 

Gaver, who was the Raiders’ lone state representative and still has not made a college decision, won the 50 free (20.55) and was second in the 100 breast (56.32) at district Feb. 21 at Bowling Green. 

Last season at state, Gaver placed seventh in the 100 free in addition to his placement in the 50 free. Another of Gaver’s biggest moments this season came in the 200 free relay at district, when he swam a 19.87 split. 

“He won’t take the credit, but he was seventh in the 50 free and 100 free last year, so he jumped up four places this year in the 50 free,” coach Josh Dorsett said. “He’s dropped a lot of time in that, and to drop a lot of time in the 50 free is huge. He came to me at midseason and said, ‘I want to do the 100 breast.’ I was like, ‘Let’s talk about this.’ He’s got such a good head on his shoulders, so much going for him and I’m excited to see what he does in college. I’ve known him since he was 9 years old, so it’s a surreal moment having him finish out and experience this.” 

Gaver was one of five senior boys to compete in the postseason for the Raiders. 

Senior Dhishan Kashyap joined Gaver, junior Max Hutson-Comeaux and freshman Andrew Taulbee on the 400 free relay, and Gaver, Hutson-Comeaux and Taulbee swam on the 200 free relay at district along with junior Zion Jackson-Wilborn. 

Also competing at district were Hutson-Comeaux in the 500 free and Taulbee in the 100 breast and 100 butterfly. 

Junior Jaylen Settles and sophomores Kyle Barnhart and Michael Cole are other contributors eligible to return. 

“We had all of our boys drop time (at district) in all of our events,” Dorsett said.  

Lichtner biggest loss 

for girls swim team 

The biggest loss for the girls swimming team will be senior Kasey Lichtner, who placed 14th in the 50 free (24.83) and 12th in the 100 fly (58.88) at district. 

Also at district, Lichtner joined junior Anna Haines and freshmen Araceli Gaver and AnnaLiess Stith on the 200 free relay (16th, 1:46.18) and the 200 medley relay (16th, 1:56.1). 

Stith added a 24th-place finish in the 100 breast (1:11.03). 

Others eligible to return include juniors Olivia Dulay and Alexis Waickman and sophomore Sarah LeMay. 

“(Lichtner has) done a great job,” Dorsett said. “She’s pulled in these freshman girls and underclassmen and pulled them under her wing and done a great job with them.” 

Reynoldsburg's Alexia Mobley puts up a shot during a 67-23 win over Logan on Feb. 27 in a Division I district final. The victory gave the Raiders their fifth district championship in six seasons.

Girls basketball team 

again wins district 

The girls basketball team made it back to familiar territory when it won its fifth Division I district championship in six seasons with a 67-23 victory over 34th-seeded Logan on Feb. 27, but the surroundings were different because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Seeded third for the district tournament, the Raiders had home-court advantage throughout after winning all of their other district titles during the current stretch at neutral sites. 

After beating 27th-seeded Canal Winchester 71-42 on Feb. 24 and closing out the district title against the Chieftains, Reynoldsburg lost 60-57 to Dublin Coffman in a regional semifinal March 2 at Westerville South. The regional had been played at Otterbein in recent seasons. 

“It’s our 10th district title in 12 seasons,” coach Jack Purtell said. “We’ve been able to sustain it. We’ve got great kids, a great facility and our administration is great here. I’m lucky. I feel fortunate to have this job and I cherish it. I work as hard as I can for these kids.” 

Against Canal Winchester, junior guard Imarianah Russell had 23 points and junior forward Alexia Mobley added 18. 

Against Logan, Russell scored 26 points, Mobley had 14 points and 19 rebounds and junior wing player Mya Perry added 16 points. 

“It’s my second year cutting down the nets and it’s a good feeling,” Perry said.  

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek 

SWIMMING & DIVING  

Seniors lost: Boys — Jonathan Begeny, Tyler Dowling, Nate Gaver, Austin Harter and Dhishan Kashyap; Girls — Jaila Dorsey, Kasey Lichtner and Hanna Mielcarek 

Key returnees: Boys — Kyle Barnhart, Michael Cole, Max Hutson-Comeaux, Andrew Taulbee and Zion Jackson-Wilborn; Girls — Olivia Dulay, Araceli Gaver, Anna Haines, Sarah LeMay, AnnaLiess Stith and Alexis Waickman 

Postseason: Boys — 12th (65) at district behind champion Upper Arlington (348.5), 21st (28) at state behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (227.5); Girls — 22nd (12) at district behind champion New Albany (387.5)