Boardman's coach just happened to be the presenter who put a district medal around his son's neck.
By TODD BELL
CLEVELAND -- After day one of the Northeast Ohio swimming and diving district tournament at Cleveland State University, three local swimmers have advanced to next weekend's state championships.
Meghan Linnelli of Canfield, Nathan King of Warren Harding and Tyler O'Halloran of Boardman all will return to the state championships after being there last year.
Qualifying time: Linnelli qualified in the 50-yard freestyle by finishing as the district runner-up with a time of 24.51 seconds.
"It's my best time of the season," said Linnelli, who finished eighth last year in the state finals with a time of 24.42.
"Right now I'm only a 10th off at districts and I'll taper more for state, so hopefully I'll drop," she said.
Linnelli isn't finished; she is the top seed in Saturday's 100-yard freestyle.
King, also a junior, advanced to the state finals with a school-record time in the 200-yard individual medley. King qualified as the district runner-up with a time of 1:56.78, a full second better than his time at the sectionals.
"We were trying to drop a second from sectionals to districts to get ready for state," said King. "I felt comfortable, struggled a bit, but overall it was a good race."
In spite of being one of the top seeds, King still had that nervous energy going into the race.
"You're always nervous going into a race," he said. "All the people and everybody around you gets the adrenaline pumping."
Good habit: Another junior, O'Halloran is making it a habit of qualifying for the state finals. This year, in the 50-yard freestyle, O'Halloran also was a district runner-up with a time of 21.46 seconds.
As a freshman he finished 18th at state and then a year ago moved up to sixth. Now, he is primed to take home a state title.
A proud father and Boardman coach Terry O'Halloran just happened to be the presenter of the medals for this event and was able to put the district runner-up medal around his son's neck.
Other hopefuls today include Carey Venglarcik of Poland in the 100-yard backstroke.
The Canfield girls 400-yard freestyle relay is seeded eighth; the girls 200-yard freestyle relay from Poland is seeded sixth. Boardman's boys 200-yard freestyle relay is seeded third and the Warren Harding boys 400-yard freestyle relay is an eighth seed.
Standings: Akron Firestone is on top of the standings after the first day of boys competition with 166 points. Hunting Valley University School is second with 80 and is followed by North Canton Hoover (79), Boardman (43) and Canfield (33).
In girls Div. I, Rocky River is in front with 112 points and is followed by Shaker Heights (98) and Akron Firestone (96). Canfield (36) is ninth, while Boardman is 24th (11).
In the girls Div. II competition, Gates Mills Hawken leads with 240 points and is followed by Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (100) and Rocky River (97). Poland (16) is 15th and Mooney (12) is 19th.
Rachael Feurtado of Mooney placed seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:58.44), while Becky Bertuzzi of Warren JFK finished 11th in the same event (1:59.65). Raeanne Coppola of Poland was 10th in the 50 freestyle (25.71).