The Horseheads girls swim team snapped Ithaca High’s 23-year hold on the Section 4 Class A championship Saturday, using superior depth to edge the Little Red and win the title in the eight-team meet.
The Blue Raiders, perhaps inspired by the presence of former coach Brendan McCarthy — who over the summer was diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — scored 541 points to Ithaca’s 502. Vestal was third at 285.
Ithaca swimmers finished first in 10 of the 12 events, but Horseheads picked up enough points to secure the first victory for a team other than Ithaca since 1989. The winner that year: Horseheads.
“Coming in, we knew we were a little deeper,” said Blue Raiders coach Mark Miles, a good friend and former college teammate of McCarthy’s at SUNY Cortland. “We’ve been talking all along about how we know they’re very fast up front and we can’t really match that, but we know we’re four girls deep in every event and that’s really what carried us through.”
McCarthy, of Elmira, is a special education teacher at Horseheads High School and a former club team coach in Horseheads. He and Miles remain close friends.
“For him to make it and witness this along with us, it meant a lot to the girls,” Miles said. “They saw he was here and they kept saying to me, ‘Coach McCarthy’s here, Coach McCarthy’s here.’ They really wanted to finish it for him, too.”
Hannah Bollinger (100 backstroke and 100 butterfly) and Indie Stratton (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle) both won two individual events for Ithaca. Other winners for the Little Red were Cecile Browning (50 freestyle), Annika Browning (500 freestyle), Ayla Bonniwell (diving) and Annika Browning (100 freestyle). Ithaca also won all three relays.
Horseheads junior Mary Edwards won the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.86) and finished second in the 100 butterfly (58.34). She will compete in both events at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships, set for Nov. 22-23 at Ithaca College.
Class C: Lansing won seven of 12 events and took the title with 453 points, followed by Dryden with 357 and Watkins Glen with 311.
The Bobcats got victories from junior Adele Ferris (200 individual medley, 500 freestyle), freshman Katie Weaver (100 freestyle), senior Isabel Corgel (100 backstroke) and freshman Grace Ferris (100 breaststroke)
Dryden junior Erin Daley won the 50 freestyle; the Purple Lions also won the 400 freestyle relay.
State meet: The youthful Ithaca High boys’ team placed eighth in a nine-team Class A field at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships, held Saturday at Queensbury High near Glens Falls.
Its finish earned the Little Red a berth in next weekend’s federation championship meet, which combines public and private schools. Veteran coach Rich Bernstein was proud of his team’s effort.
“They had an outstanding team race,” he said. “Each of the seven racers had personal bests, some by as much as 20 seconds, and it was done in a pressure-laden race.”
Junior team co-captain Dan Dracup finished 15th in Class A and 18th overall, covering the 3.1-mile course in 15 minutes, 35.3 seconds, the fastest time for an Ithaca runner ever at states.
“He put himself right in the mix from the beginning of the race and ran fearlessly,” said Bernstein.
Junior co-captain Eric Sinton ran well in finishing 35th in 16:44.7. Sinton was followed closely by Hunter Hartshorne (38th in Class A, 16:49.5), Connor Simpson (42nd, 16:52.4), Niall Hodges (43rd, 16:53), Lucas Canales (48th, 16:57.8) and freshman Jake Avery (51st, 17:05.8).
Other area boys at the race included Trumansburg’s Tyler Sutherland (18th in Class C, 16:35.1), Watkins Glen’s Matt Gill (second in Class D, 15:53.7), Jason Jenks of Groton (ninth in Class D, 16:23.1) and Isaac Mazzeo of Spencer-Van Etten (31st in Class D, 16:57.3).
On the girls side, Trumansburg placed ninth in the 11-team Class C race, led by freshman Meave Gurche (28th, 20:31.2). Senior Abby VanSoest was 37th (21:00.2), followed by sophomore Kristen Whittaker (47th, 21:19.4), sophomore Megan McIntyre (54th, 21:34.4), senior Sophia Melvin (58th, 21:42.5), sophomore Madisyn Bell (68th, 22:40.7) and junior Julia Tantillo (71st, 22:49.4).
Ithaca had two individuals competing. Junior Lauren Trumble finished 22nd in Class A (35th overall) with a time of 18:29.3, the third-fastest time by an Ithaca girl at states. Sophomore Sylvia Frank took 104th in Class A (21:03), capping her first year of cross country.
Other area girls included junior Kayla Stewart of Newark Valley (30th in Class C, 19:37.3) and Candor’s Russell sisters — senior Miranda (28th in Class D, 20:14.5), freshman Julia (30th in Class D, 20:19.1) and junior Carissa (34th in Class D, 20:32.1).