Chatham girls edge Kinnelon to remain undefeated

Chatham girls edge Kinnelon to remain undefeated


Chatham girls edge Kinnelon to remain undefeated



Shana McLaughlin doesn’t know how it feels to lose a swim meet. What the Chatham junior knows a lot about, however, is being part of a swimming family.

That’s what came together to boost the Cougars girls to another victory, 93-77, over Kinnelon on Thursday night. That extended Chatham’s undefeated streak, which dates back to the 2009-10 season — when the current seniors were freshmen — and includes two Public B NJSIAA titles.

But it was no easy win for the Cougars, who had to come from behind to tie the score at 55-55 after the 500-yard freestyle. Chatham junior Regan Kology and freshman Cristina Barrett went 1-3 in the race to erase a six-point deficit.

“We were conscious of the score,” McLaughlin said. “Coach (Frank DiGiacomo) told us before the meet to only focus on our events, and leaving everything in the pool. All we could control is who touched first.”

Depth proved to be the difference on Thursday night, along with races decided by the width of a fingernail.

When Kinnelon sophomore Mackenzie Heffernan edged Kara Miller-Radest of Chatham by two hundredths of a second in the butterfly, Heffernan actually thought she’d lost. Nicole Caci, a Colts senior, came up ahead in another .02 differential to take second in the 500 free.

The Chatham boys also showed their depth in a 114-56 victory over Kinnelon. Cougars senior Danny Villars led a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 free and also won the 200 free. Senior Sean McHugh and junior Trey Blaskey went 1-2 in the 50 free, and McHugh was also part of a pair of winning Chatham relays.

Colts senior Eric Stanton had a pair of victories in the 500 free and breaststroke. Kinnelon junior Meghan Thompson won both freestyle sprints, but was only able to make up two points in each, as Chatham went 2-3-4 behind her.

“We gave it our all,” said Heffernan, who also went 1-2 with Christina Cirillo in the IM. “After being undefeated, of course it’s going to hurt. But we really fought for every race.”

The bleachers around the Morris-Union Jointure were packed, and the pool deck quickly became standing-room only. Both teams thrived in the electric environment, and the swimmers also got involved, jumping and shouting and hugging each other. DiGiacomo quickly sweated through his pale pink button-down as he dashed from one side of the pool to the other, shouting and pumping his fists.

Chatham won the 200 free relay, and senior Jess Gorham slipped by Cirillo by .29 to win the backstroke. But senior Abby Fisher and freshman Lauren deTorres went 1-2 in the breaststroke to bring Kinnelon within six points.

“They have people and they have power and they always bring their A-game,” Kology said. “It’s such a challenge because it pushes you to your limits. … The hype of it, everybody cheering, it’s just the greatest feeling.”

Girls: Chatham 93, Kinnelon 77

Medley relay: Kinnelon (Christina Cirillo, Abby Fisher, Mackenzie Heffernan, Maria Luisi) 1:53.64; 200 freestyle: Regan Kology (C) 1:54.92; 200 IM: Heffernan (K) 2:10.86; 50 freestyle: Meghan Thompson (K) 24.89; 100 butterfly: Heffernan (K) 59.68; 100 freestyle: Thompson (K) 53.34; 500 freestyle: Kology (C) 5:08.92; 200 free relay: Chatham (Shana McLaughlin, Morgan Conley, Kology, Jess Gorham) 1:39.47; 100 backstroke: Gorham (C) 1:00.8; 100 breaststroke: Fisher (K) 1:07.89; 400 free relay: Chatham (McLaughlin, Conley, Kology, Gorham) 3:38.06.

Team records: Chatham 9-0, Kinnelon 7-1.

Site of meet: Morris-Union Jointure. Distances in yards.

Boys: Chatham 114, Kinnelon 56

Medley relay: Chatham (Ed Mostert, Tom Jiang, Drew Buchser, Danny Villars) 1:46.19; 200 freestyle: Villars (C) 1:49.72; 200 IM: Nick Schrope (K) 2:08.5; 50 freestyle: Sean McHugh (C) 23.45; 100 butterfly: Buchser (C) 56.7; 100 freestyle: Villars (C) 49.73; 500 freestyle: Eric Stanton (K) 5:01.66; 200 free relay: Chatham (McHugh, Buchser, Jiang, Trey Blaskey) 1:34.95; 100 backstroke: Anthony Fresella (K) 59.99; 100 breaststroke: Stanton (K) 1:03.9; 400 free relay: Chatham (Mostert, Robert Weber, McHugh, Villars) 3:32.74.

Team records: Chatham 8-0-1, Kinnelon 1-6.

Site of meet: Morris-Union Jointure. Distances in yards.


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