The Columbus North boys swimmers won the Conference Indiana for first time in 12 years earlier this month, and this weekend, the Bull Frogs will try to win their first sectional title in 11 years.
North is tied for 10th in the final regular season state poll. As it did in the conference meet, No. 12 Bloomington South will provide the top competition.
But Bull Frogs coach Jim Sheridan, as he was with his girls team two weeks ago, is primarily concerned with advancing athletes to next weekend’s state finals.
“The sectional championship is the only time during the year that kids and/or relays can get to the state championship,” Sheridan said. “We’re hoping to get three relays through. We have a couple of kids that were in two individual races that have pulled out of one race to try to be in a relay, so you lose some points there, but you ask other kids to step up.
“You always want to win the event absolutely, but first and foremost is to set a lineup that gives you the best opportunity to go to the state meet,” he said.
Senior Cody Taylor, the defending state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, is the top seed in that event and in the 200 individual medley. Junior Matt Freudenthaler is the top seed in the 200 freestyle, and senior Sam Loescher is tops in the 100 freestyle and second in the 50 freestyle.
North is seeded first in the 200 freestyle relay, second in the 400 freestyle relay and third in the 200 medley relay. Freudenthaler is seeded third in the 100 butterfly, and senior John Rupp is third in the 500 freestyle. Fourth seeds include sophomore Chase McQueen in the 200 IM, sophomore Jared Imlay in the 500 freestyle and junior Zach Ziegler in the 100 backstroke.
Columbus East senior Isaac Walling is seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 200 IM. The Olympians are seeded fourth in the 200 freestyle relay, sixth in the 400 freestyle relay and seventh in the 200 medley relay.
Preliminaries begin at 5:30 p.m. today. Diving competition will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and will conclude prior to the beginning of the swimming finals and consolation heats at 2 p.m.
Saturday’s swimming portion was moved back an hour because North will be hosting the girls basketball regional in the morning and evening.
Regional tickets on sale
Tickets for Saturday’s girls basketball Class 4A Columbus North Regional are on sale from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today and Friday in the school’s athletic office.
Presale tickets are $10 and are good for the semifinals and championship game. Tickets at the game on Saturday will be $7 for each session.
North athletics director Jeff Hester said he is expecting a sellout for the 6,300-seat Memorial Gym.
JV, freshmen go unbeaten
The North girls basketball team’s success this season hasn’t been limited to the varsity level. The junior varsity, coached by Ron Patberg, went 16-0; and the freshmen, led by Stephanie Schott, finished 14-0.
Last year, Patberg led the JV team to a 17-0 record.
“It’s a good group of kids,” Patberg said. “When you have the talent that we have at the varsity level, it kind of spreads down to the JV. You end up getting quality players that would play in other programs at the varsity level playing JV.”
North girls raise $3,320
The final figures are in, and North’s Coaches vs. Cancer girls basketball against Franklin raised $3,320 for the American Cancer Society.
Columbus Regional Hospital underwrote the cost of the T-shirts, and several businesses and individuals donated items. The game with Franklin originally was scheduled for Jan. 21 but was postponed a day because of snow.
“All things considered, we’re happy with how that turned out,” North coach Pat McKee said. “We’re very thankful to the local businesses who contributed items or gift cards to our silent auction.”
Memorial senior wins honor
Evansville Memorial senior Michael Riedford has been named the Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Riedford recorded 36 goals and 10 assists in the fall to lead the Tigers to a regional title and finished his career with 68 goals and 47 assists. He graduated early and is enrolled this spring at Indiana University.
Ted Schultz is a sports writer with The Republic. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.