Four impressive performances.
Four berths in the state meet.
At the Division II District Meet in Bowling Green last week, senior Devon Griffin led four Oak Harbor swimmers and divers who managed to finish high enough to qualify for the state meet this week in Canton.
At the district meet in Bowling Green two weeks ago, Griffin was seventh in 1-meter diving, finishing with 303.7 points, just ahead of junior Bryce Buderer, who finished in ninth (292.95), and freshman Cooper Hicks, who was 11th (284.8).
Buderer and Hicks can rest assured knowing they've accomplished some impressive feats. Buderer managed to qualify for the state meet two years in a row while Hicks got to Canton in just his first year of competition.
Sophomore Ben Dresser was the lone swimmer to advance, finishing sixth in the 200 freestyle in 1:48.88. It was an impressive accomplishment considering that Dresser dropped six seconds in just a week's time, having swum a 1:54.93 at sectionals. He also just missed out on making it in the 100 free, finishing in 49.29 seconds, good for seventh place.
Head coach Andrea Sorg, a 1999 Oak Harbor graduate who qualified for the state meet several times herself as a swimmer, spoke about the group's accomplishments.
“Bryce, Devon and Cooper have worked hard this season to earn a trip to state,” Sorg said. “They dove very well at (districts) and Ryan Nuhfer, the volunteer diving coach, has put in countless hours working with the divers, which has been incredibly beneficial for their training.
“Both Bryce and Devon set goals of going to state at the beginning of the year and worked hard to obtain (those goals). Cooper's goal was to place at district competition, so going to state was icing on the cake.”
Sorg had high praise for Dresser as well.
“Ben has worked hard all season,” Sorg said. “He has been a team leader from Day One and his work ethic has pushed many members (of both teams) to step up and train harder. Ben set a goal at the end of last season to go to state. He attacked each race fearlessly and that's essentially why his times steadily improved throughout the season.”
Dresser, who has two years of eligibility remaining, is planning to focus on only swimming from this point forward, a sign that greater things could be on the horizon. He also notes that swimming more distance-based events, like the 500 free, could be in his future.
“This year, I'm not doing track and I'm not doing soccer anymore,” Dresser said, crediting Sorg and assistant coach Jared Diekman for helping him this season. “I'm just focusing on swimming. I'm not doing the other sports because they don't help with my swimming. And I'm not as good at soccer and track as I am at swimmer.
“I love (swimming). In a team sport, I don't feel like I can control the outcome. In swimming, I can control the outcome. If I won, then I did something right. If I lost, I know I have to work on something.” As for Griffin, who will go down as one of the most decorated divers in school history, he knew that this was going to be his last chance at getting to Canton.
“It was very rewarding since the last two years I had it in the bag and I'd get emotionally tied up (while competing),” he said. “My mom, her abilities to do sports (when she was younger) was limited and she pushed me to go into diving. She saw that I could do well.
In the Rockets' last dual meet of the season, Griffin achieved one of his primary goals when he broke the school's six-dive record (205.5), finishing with a mark of 218.0.
Griffin credits Nuhfer, a Fremont Ross graduate, with helping him, Buderer and Hicks to better execute their dives.
“Coach Nuhfer, he's helped me a lot,” Griffin said. “The first coach I had, he was pretty good at getting me to do the dives. But Coach Nuhfer really helps with refining the dives and making them crisp and clean, which is what diving is.”
Diver Devon Griffin is among four Oak Harbor swimmers and divers who will be heading to the state meet in Canton this week.