It was a spirited match-up of two of the three Wayne County high school swimming programs Wednesday night at Centerville High School.
The host Bulldogs welcomed neighboring Richmond, and on the girls side, the outcome was in doubt until the final scores were announced.
The boys team outcome had been decided much earlier.
But the Red Devil teams won on both accounts, the boys 127-58 and the girls 94-89.
Both teams ended with much to build on as the season hits the home stretch.
The night had started with a memorable diving competition, particularly for the girls.
RHS junior Mariam Khamis compiled a school-record score of 291.20 points to better a strong second-place effort from Centerville’s Brooke Madden, who piled up 266.45 points.
“That was really a great diving competition, one of the best you will see in the state this whole year,” said RHS head coach Brian Turner. “Both of those girls were on their game. It was just tremendous. Brad Whited (Centerville’s diving coach) is as good a diving coach as there is anywhere. His kids always do a good job, and that was fun to watch.”
Khamis was happy to get the school record, and hoped it could come in this meet.
“I have been preparing some new dives with a higher degree of difficulty, and I was hoping I could do it (Wednesday). This was good preparation for NCC.”
Richmond will compete this Saturday in the weather-delayed North Central Conference meet in Muncie on the Ball State University campus.
Turner said the diving is set to begin at 10 a.m., with swimming events to start at around 1 p.m.
On the boys side, Richmond won 10 of 12 events in easily winning the meet. Matt Holt won both the 200 and 500 freestyles, with Sam Rutledge taking the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. The Red Devils won all three relay events.
“This win is a big ego boost for the team, to get a dual-meet win,” Holt said. “Collectively, the team competed well, and we were able to sweep 1, 2 and 3 in some of the distance races, which is a good thing.”
Jeremiah Waltz won boys diving, John Holthouse took the 100 breaststroke and Shannon Boyd the 100 butterfly.
Turner had praise for Centerville head coach Tyler McKee as well.
“Tyler does a really good job, and Centerville has a good team. We knew it would be a close meet (with the girls teams),” Turner said.
McKee expected the same thing coming into the meet.
“We knew it would be close, and that we could beat Richmond. And it came down to just a small finish here and there, a couple of events where we didn’t finish quite high enough,” McKee explained. “Our girls group is quite strong, but we don’t have quite the depth in all of the events like Richmond does. That made the difference.”
In fact, the Bulldog girls won seven of the 12 events, with CHS senior Ashley Foster taking the 50 and 100 freestyles and classmate Jessica Carter winning the 100 backstroke.
Both spoke of coming back to competition after the recent break because of the wintry weather.
“We had been pushing it in workouts after Christmas, then the weather stops our training and it was hard to get back into it again,” Foster said. “But our coaches encouraged us, and it’s paying off now.”
“I’ve been working on my fly kick and the backstroke,” Carter said. “We have good motivation, so the team is working to get better as we continue the season.”
Centerville will stage its Senior Night next Tuesday at home against Hagerstown, then compete Jan. 23 at Jay County.
Other Centerville girls event winners were Madden in the 100 butterfly and Marissa Peterson in the 100 breaststroke. The Bulldogs won two of the three relays.
Richmond girls event winners, besides Khamis, were Nina McLarnan in the 200 and 500 freestyles and Julia Keene in the 200 IM.
Nick Madden won the 50 and 100 freestyles for Centerville.