When Columbus North hosts its girls swimming sectional this weekend, the Bull Frogs will be heavy favorites to defend their title.
But that is secondary to coach Jim Sheridan and his team. The No. 1 goal for North: advancing as many swimmers as possible to next weekend’s state finals.
“My philosophy of championship swimming is you always want to win all the meets, the conference being the most important because that counts in the All-Sports standings,” Sheridan said. “But at sectional, the whole goal is to get people to the state championship.
“I never want to sacrifice a relay or an individual getting to the state meet for a sectional championship,” he said. “If we get beat in some races in a sectional championship, I’m OK with that because the whole goal is to set it up for the state meet. We make sure kids are thinking all year long about what they want to get to state in.”
The Bull Frogs are seeded first in 10 of the 11 swimming events going into today’s preliminaries, which begin at 5:30 p.m. The top eight times in each event qualify for Saturday’s sectional finals, while swimmers 9 through 16 in each event make the consolation heats.
Diving prelims start at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the swimming consolations and finals are at 1 p.m. Saturday. While the top four divers advance to Tuesday’s regional, the winners in each swimming event, plus anyone else making the state standard, qualify for the state finals. If those numbers are less than 32 in an event, the next-fastest swimmers are added to reach 32.
North junior Marah Bieger is seeded first in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and freshman Grace Haskett is the top seed in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Other top seeds for the Bull Frogs are sophomore Mackenzie Fry in the 200 freestyle, junior Maddie Wyke in the 100 butterfly and sophomore Cori Taylor in the 500 freestyle. North is also the top seed in all three relays.
Wyke in the 200 freestyle, Fry in the 100 butterfly and freshmen Darby Coles in the 100 freestyle, Jennifer Gutman in the 500 freestyle and Alexandra Nusawhardana in the 100 backstroke are seeded second. Third seeds are Coles in the 200 freestyle, Taylor in the 200 IM, junior Karen Wildemann in the 50 freestyle and Davie in the 500 freestyle.
Columbus East, meanwhile, has some of its best seeds in several years. Freshman Cortney VanLiew is third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 50 freestyle, and the Olympians are third in the 200 freestyle relay, fourth in the 200 medley relay and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay. Sophomore Brooke Statler is eighth in the 50 freestyle.
“That’s our goal — to get more kids (to the finals) this year than we had last year,” East coach Jill Arnholt said. “I think we’re going to achieve that goal. They’ve been working hard, and we’ve been tapering down, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
Signing days rescheduled
East and North both had signing days scheduled for senior athletes Wednesday, but those were postponed until after school today.
The East athletes who will sign are Sarah Loesch (Purdue track and field), Evan Kuhn and Brock Patterson (Saint Francis football), JT Voelker (Marian football), Sean Owens (Marian track and field) and Kyle Jewell (Saint Francis golf).
Signing at North will be Kenadie Carlson (Xavier soccer), Mara and Tessa Krempel (Western Kentucky track and field), Ian Coffey (Saint Francis golf) and Tyler Combs (Marian football).
Also, East’s gymnastics meet with Connersville that was postponed Wednesday has been rescheduled for tonight.
Hunt headed to IU-East
Jennings County senior Brad Hunt has decided to continue his basketball career at Indiana University-East in Richmond.
IU-East plays its home games at Richmond High School, where Hunt made the All-Tournament Team after leading the Panthers to a 3-1 record in this year’s Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament.
“I took a couple visits to there and a couple other schools,” Hunt said. “It was a tough decision, but it felt like the place that I would fit best. It was the place that felt most like home.”
Crusaders to host regional
Pairings have been announced for the Indiana Christian State Tournament regional events.
Columbus Christian will host the South Region, which begins on Feb. 17. The Crusaders will open in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 against the winner of the Feb. 17 Trinity Christian-Southside Christian game. The regional final will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, with the winner advancing to the state tournament at Anderson University.
The Columbus Christian girls will play in the Central/South Region Feb. 22 at the Indiana Armory in Lawrence. The second-seeded Crusaders will face seventh-seeded Indianapolis Lighthouse at 10:30 a.m. If Columbus Christian wins, it would play the winner of the Horizon Christian-Kings Academy game at 4 p.m., with the winner advancing to the state tournament at Anderson.
East girls to host youth
The East girls basketball team welcomes all Bartholomew County girls basketball players to the Orange Pit on Saturday for a meet-and-greet with players and coaches. The Olympians will play Southport, with the junior varsity game beginning at 11 a.m. and the varsity to follow at about 12:30 p.m.
All players will be admitted free and introduced at halftime of the varsity game. Following the game, the East players will join the youths for pizza and a game of Knockout, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, East’s girls home game with Floyd Central that was snowed out Tuesday has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. The game will be followed by the Olympians’ home boys game with Jennings County.
Ted Schultz is a sports writer for The Republic. Send comments to email@example.com.