Central Ohio High School Sports Awards: Finalists announced for Super 12 girls swimming and diving

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Central Ohio High School Sports Awards

State champions abound on ThisWeek’s Super 12 girls swimming and diving team.

All of the honorees are finalists to be named Captain – our girls swimming and diving Athlete of the Year. That honor will be announced during the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards online show at 8 p.m. June 30.

Finalists should register at sportsawards.usatoday.com/centralohio. Last week, we kicked off our winter sports honorees with boys swimming and diving. You can read those bios by clicking on the H.S. Sports Awards link at ThisWeekSPORTS.com.

Next week, we’ll announce the honorees for boys bowling.

Below is the Super 12 for girls swimming and diving: 

Ellie Andrews

Ellie Andrews, Dublin Coffman

A Texas recruit, this Coffman senior capped her career in familiar territory – at or near the top of the Division I state podium in each of her events.

After winning state titles in the 200-yard individual medley as a sophomore and junior and also capturing the 100 breaststroke state title last season, Andrews defended her title in the 100 breast (1 minute, .84 of a second) and added a runner-up finish in the 200 IM (1:59.79).

She also was on the third-place 200 medley relay (1:42.51) and fourth-place 400 freestyle relay (3:28.62).

“She has been a humble leader of this team from day one,” coach Steven VonSchriltz said. “She’s been our team’s biggest cheerleader along with its best swimmer over the four years. She’s always there to help with mentoring freshmen. … She raised the level of excellence and expectations of every girl on the team.”

Emily Brown

Emily Brown, Dublin Coffman

This freshman helped the Shamrocks earn a fourth-place state finish by capturing two individual championships.

In addition to swimming on the third-place 200 medley relay and fourth-place 400 free relay, Brown followed a third-place district finish in the 200 free by winning the state title in 1:48.29.

Brown won the district title in the 500 free and followed with a state title in 4:52.61.

“She loves to compete,” VonSchriltz said. “She’s a super sweet girl that is just starting to realize her potential. She’s an all-around swimmer. She could have won the 50 or the 100 free this season. She led off our medley relay with one of the fastest backstroke splits and she probably would have placed third in the 200 IM if she had swum it.”

Nyah Funderburke

Nyah Funderburke, Columbus School for Girls

Funderburke repeated as champion in the 100 backstroke (54.42) in the Division II state meet as she won her fourth career individual state title as the Unicorns finished third in the team standings.

The senior and Ohio State recruit also was runner-up in the 100 butterfly (55.44) and swam on the championship 200 medley relay (program-record 1:42.96).

“Nyah is kind of a unicorn of swimming,” coach Brian Botzman said. “She is extremely talented, but she is also something you don’t often see on deck – a person of color.

“She’s really meticulous in her detail. Some kids just muscle through the water, but she has a finesse about her. She’s amazing.”

Funderburke won state titles in the 100 back and 100 fly last season. She won the 50 free as a sophomore.

Riley Huddleston

Riley Huddleston, Upper Arlington

Huddleston won the 100 free (50.23) and shared the title in the 50 free (20.15) with teammate Caroline Porterfield, leading the Golden Bears to fourth place in the Division I state meet.

The junior and Northwestern commit also was on the third-place 400 free relay (3:27.96) and fourth-place 200 medley relay (1:42.57). She was district champion in the 50 free and runner-up in the 100 free.

“Riley Huddleston is the definition of a clutch athlete. When the stakes are the highest, Riley is going to bring her absolute best,” coach John Sands said. “Riley isn’t super loud or outspoken outside the water; instead, she lets her swimming speak for itself. She is also one of the smartest high school swimmers I have been around and is constantly analyzing her swimming in a very mature way.”

Cameron Kuriger

Cameron Kuriger, Olentangy

Kuriger, a junior, won the 100 fly state championship (54.14) in Division I – just ahead of teammate Martina Peroni (54.19) – and was seventh in the 200 free (1:52.36) to help lead Olentangy to sixth as a team.

Kuriger, a three-time state qualifier, also was on the sixth-place 400 free relay (3:31.78) and ninth-place 200 free relay (1:37.51). She was district runner-up in the 100 fly as well as ninth in the 200 free.

“Becoming the swimmer that she has become through the years is a testament to how she trains,” coach Calvin Higdon said. “She works hard, which will always make its way down to the team, giving them an insight of the work that must be put in to get to where (she is). Cameron makes our team stronger and can always bring a smile to those around her.”

Ava Lachey

Ava Lachey, New Albany

The junior and UCLA commit anchored the Eagles’ Division I state championship 200 medley (1:41.56) and 400 free (3:24.65) relays, leading New Albany to its first team title.

Lachey also tied for second in the 100 free (50.75) and was fourth in the 200 free (1:50.15) in her third state appearance. She won district championships in both events, as did both relays, and the 400 free relay repeated as state champion.

“She loves the opportunity to anchor team relays because she loves to race. That drive on the relays makes Ava a very strong asset … (and) the racing drive also shines when she competes in her individual events,” coach Dave Wharton said. “Ava is a talented swimmer and has a very good feel for the water in her mechanics of each stroke. The time she has put into training is shining through.”

Carly Meeting

Carly Meeting, New Albany

This sophomore was part of the Eagles’ state-winning relays, leading off the 200 medley, and individually was runner-up in the 100 back (55.04) and fifth in the 200 free (1:50.35) to earn four top-eight finishes at state for the second year in a row.

She was district champion in the 100 back and second in the 200 free. Meeting also was on the winning 400 free relay as a freshman and was third in the 100 back.

“She improved her state performance over her freshman year, which was very strong … and helped set the tone for the whole state meet,” Wharton said. “Carly is a great trainer and has a quiet racing mode. She knows how to race hard and has really gotten strong in the free and especially back events. She will be a very strong asset for us the next two years.”

Ashlyn Morr

Ashlyn Morr, New Albany

Morr, a freshman, finished fifth in the 500 free (5:00.93) and sixth in the 200 free (1:51.9) at state – the latter an improvement of four spots from her seed coming in – and was on the winning 400 free relay and fifth-place 200 free relay (1:36.65).

Morr was district runner-up in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 free, both times finishing behind classmate Brown from Coffman.

“Ashlyn is setting the tone for a very strong high school career. Placing in the top eight for four races at the state meet is a strong freshman showing,” Wharton said. “Ashlyn is a strong trainer and is a strategic racer already. She has more to develop but has a strong skill set of racing her race and not letting others alter her plan. (I’m) looking forward to how her next three years will go.”

Martina Peroni

Martina Peroni, Olentangy

Peroni capped an outstanding postseason by winning the 200 IM state title in a state-, meet- and pool-record 1:57.77 and later finishing second in the 100 fly as well as swimming on the 400 free and 200 free relays.

At district, the junior and Duke commit won the 200 IM in 1:59.06, breaking a 12-year-old pool record set by former University of Toledo swimmer Meg Reissig.

“Her talent is backed by an incredible work ethic and drive,” Higdon said. “To the team, she serves as an inspiration. Her teammates look up to her. When she trains with us she leads the group, showing her teammates that if you want to be the best in competition, you have to be the best in practice. Martina brings a fun-loving energy that is infectious.”

Caroline Porterfield

Caroline Porterfield, Upper Arlington

In addition to sharing the 50 free championship, Porterfield helped the 200 free relay to its second consecutive Division I state title (1:33.31).

The Georgia Tech commit also was on the fourth-place 200 medley relay and finished fifth in the 100 free (51.21).

Porterfield was 11th in the 50 free at state as a sophomore and 13th as a freshman.

“Caroline Porterfield is one of the hardest-working, most dedicated athletes I have ever been around. She leads from the front and does every yard of a workout exactly how it is written,” Sands said. “That all comes from her passion for competition and her teammates. Beyond her obvious talent, ‘CP’ brings the energy and enthusiasm for swimming to every practice. Her hard work keeps her teammates honest by setting a tone that is hard to match.”

Kiah Smith

Kiah Smith, Westerville Central 

Smith, a junior, finished fourth in the 50 free (23.11) and sixth in 100 free (51.25) in the Division I state meet, setting program records in both. 

At district, Smith finished second in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free.

She has committed to Georgia Tech. 

“She’s such a versatile swimmer,” coach Ron Staab said. “She settled on the 50 and 100 this year, but she did the 100 fly last year and placed (14th at state). She’s just so versatile, and she’s a wonderful, young lady.

“As she develops into a senior, she has a great career ahead of her. Georgia Tech is a very tough school to get into and the fact that she is already verbally committed, she can put that behind her and focus on her grades and her swimming, too.” 

Bailee Sturgill

Bailee Sturgill, Hilliard Darby 

This freshman finished third (427.35) behind Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame’s Sarah Krusinski (468.1) and Mason’s Langley Petersen (433.1) in the Division I state diving meet.

Sturgill scored a program-record 493.6 points while winning the district title. 

“She started diving in the summers here in Hilliard, so I’ve known Bailee for a while now,” Darby diving coach Thad Apel said. “She was also at the Ohio State Diving Club, so I’ve seen her progress over the years. She had a good season. She has experience from doing it for a long while, so experience is probably the biggest thing for her.” 

Sturgill and teammate Keira Porter, a junior, were the first Hilliard girls divers to compete at state. Porter finished 16th (375.3).

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