Pacer boys, girls defend OCC crowns


It takes an incredible amount of work and dedication to secure an OCC championship.

To do it in back-to-back years, which is exactly what the Delaware Hayes girls and boys swimming and diving teams did thanks to strong showings during Saturday’s league championship meet at the James A. Steen Aquatic Center, it takes great leadership.

“I give all the credit to the amazing student-athletes who stepped up most when we needed some big swims or special dives,” Hayes coach Garrett Eiben said. “Both teams are led by great captains (seniors Mackenzie Carter, Kaden Gannon and C.J. Abahazi and junior Natalie Fiant), who instilled the expectations since day one of defending the title they earned last year … To see it pay off again was something special.”

It was just the second time in school history the boys and girls teams both defended OCC championships in the same season.

The Pacer girls secured their second straight title in dominant fashion, taking top honors with 332 points. Worthington Kilbourne was a distant second with 261 points while Westerville North smoothed out the top three with 240.

Carter, one of the four captains, led by example, winning a pair of individual races while helping two relay teams to first-place points. She took top honors in the 50 freestyle (24.29 seconds) and 100 backstroke (58.28 seconds) while swimming the lead leg in the 200 medley relay and final leg of the 400 freestyle relay.

Kara Glesenkamp, Ashley Sallows and Fiant teamed up with Carter to win the 200 medley relay in 1:50.72 while Ashley Sallows, Mia Saksa and Kaitlyn Sallows helped propel the Pacers to the win in the 400 freestyle relay (3:41.64).

Kaitlyn Sallows also picked up a couple individual wins, finishing first in the 200 free (1:54.25) and 100 butterfly (58.76 seconds), while the 200 freestyle relay team of Anna Lance, Glesenkamp, Fiant and Kaitlyn Sallows picked up a win as well (1:44.30).

Other top point producers included Saksa, who finished second in the 200 free (2:03.66) and 100 backstroke (1:01.36); Ashley Sallows, who closed second in the 200 IM (2:15.52) and 500 free (5:16.40); Fiant, who nabbed runner-up honors in the 100 free (55.86 seconds); and Glesenkamp, who was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.55).

In boys’ action, Hayes scored 258.5 points to hold off Worthington Kilbourne for top honors. The Wolves finished second with 242 points while Big Walnut closed third with 203.

Gannon, like Carter on the girls’ side, was busy. He won the Pacers’ lone individual event while helping a couple relay teams pick up second-place points.

Gannon won the 50 free in 22.11 seconds while joining forces with Nolan Green, Abahazi and Vincent Hupp to win the 200 medley relay in 1:43.80 and the 200 freestyle relay in 1:32.63.

The Pacers also got a top-three showing from Gannon in the 100 free (50.01 seconds) and fourth-place finishes from Hupp in the 100 fly (58.99 seconds), Logan Clement in the 500 free (5:36.72) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Kyle Buzbee, Brody Counts, Aidan Green and Joshua Bucher (3:42.24).

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