IF the Columbus North girls swimmers need a little inspiration going into this weekend’s state finals, they need to look back no farther than last season.
The Bull Frogs were seeded to score five points in the 2013 state meet and were ranked 38th as a team. But they scored 70 points and finished 12th.
This year, North is ranked 25th and seeded to score 31 points. The Bull Frogs hope another state meet of exceeding expectations will allow them to challenge for a top-10 finish.
“Over the years, we’ve prepared for the state championship, and our job as coaches is to teach these young people to get to the championship and leave more on the table for when you get to the championship,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “We’re a unique program in that respect, that almost always when we go to the state meet we go faster.
“What we try to do is teach them to go faster a week after the big (sectional) meet in a bigger, greater atmosphere than we even provide here,” he said. “When they see that atmosphere in the pool at IUPUI, we want it to bring the best out in them.”
The state preliminaries begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. Diving prelims and semifinals start at 9 a.m. Saturday, and swimming and diving finals and consolation heats begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Bull Frogs’ best seed is freshman Grace Haskett, who is No. 6 in the 100-yard backstroke. Haskett also is 16th in the 50 freestyle. Haskett and juniors Marah Bieger, Maddie Wyke and Karen Wildemann are 11th in the 200 medley relay and 16th in the 200 freestyle relay.
Wyke, who finished seventh in the 100 butterfly at last year’s state meet, is 14th in that event and 26th in the 200 freestyle going into this weekend. Bieger is 21st in the 200 individual medley and 26th in the 100 breaststroke. Junior Kelcie Davie is 26th in the 500 freestyle, and Wildemann, sophomore Cory Taylor, freshman Darby Coles and sophomore Mackenzie Fry are 23rd in the 400 freestyle relay.
Seymour senior Alex Hawkins is seeded 30th in the 100 backstroke. Jennings County will be represented by junior diver Katelyn Posey, who finished sixth in Tuesday’s Bloomington North Diving Regional.
Bull Dogs senior earns top honor
North senior basketball star Tayler Goodall, who scored a career-high 33 points in last week’s 95-39 win against Jennings County, has been named Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Subway District 3 Girls Player of the Week.
The 5-foot-9 senior went 12 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range, and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line. She added two rebounds, four assists and three steals on senior night.
The Player of the Week award was the second of her career for Goodall. She also was recognized last year after winning MVP honors in the Hall of Fame Classic the final week of December.
North star named Academic All-Star
North senior basketball player Evan Henry has been selected a MainSource Bank Academic All-Star.
Henry and Franklin’s Alex Bertsch will be honored Saturday afternoon when the Bull Dogs host the Grizzly Cubs. MainSource Bank will make a donation to each school.
North bowler advances to state
North’s Katie Gemberling advanced to the Indiana High School Bowling state finals with a fourth-place finish at Saturday’s semi-state at Woodland Bowl in Carmel.
Columbus East’s Peyton Gray came up 16 pins short of advancing in the boys competition. North’s Jared Lovins finished 23rd.
The IHSB state finals will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Woodland Bowl.
East signing day today
Five Columbus East athletes will be recognized at a signing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. today in the school’s commons.
Paul Baker will play football and run track at Trine. The other commitments are Dalton Bateman (football, Franklin); Sean Owens (track and field, Marian); Jordan Johnson (baseball, Vincennes) and Kyle Jewell (golf, Saint Francis).
Avon junior wins state award
Cassidy Blacha, who led Avon to the Class 2A state championship, has been named the Gatorade Indiana Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
The junior midfielder recorded 20 goals and 10 assists for the 18-2-3 Orioles. She has career totals of 32 goals and 23 assists.
Ted Schultz is a sports writer for The Republic. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.