There’s little doubt that Maine-Endwell boys swimming coach Chris Verity’s focus at this time is on next weekend, when a number of his athletes will be competing in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships to be held Feb. 27-28 at Ithaca College.
That said, memories of last week likely haven’t faded for Verity, as the Spartans captured their fourth straight Section 4 Class B championship at Owego Free Academy. M-E finished with 596 points, comfortably ahead of runner-up Owego’s 480 tally in what was essentially a two-team battle for the team title. Oneonta was third out of eight teams with 221 points.
“The seniors have been leaders throughout and they know what it takes to succeed,” Verity said. “They got the team ready, and everyone performed the way they needed to.”
“The big one was Nick Rogers taking first in all four of his events, and Chandler Krause and Hunter Brown were big. The list could go on and on. These seniors have done a lot for M-E in the world of swimming, it’s a great program that’s going strong right now.”
Rogers was victorious in the 100-yard and 200 freestyle individual events as well as part of the 200 and 400 free relay teams. Brown was also part of the winning 200 and 400 free relay teams and took first in the 50 free and third in the 100 free, and Krause took first in the 200 free relay, second in the 50 free and third in the 100 breast.
The trio have been part of an M-E program that for the past four years has been the top-rated small-school program in New York State according to the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association’s Power Point system, a tribute to the Spartans’ depth.
In fact, M-E had the top four finishers in the 50 free at the Class B meet, Brown, Krause, third-place finisher Pat Dimock and fourth-place finisher Shea Osovski.
“The 50 free going 1-2-3-4, that really blew me away,” Verity said. “It shows how solid we are that our fourth-best swimmer was the fourth-best swimmer in the Section that day.”
M-E’s championship hopes got off to a good start with a solid performance in the preliminaries last Wednesday. That was followed by a strong effort two days later by sophomore diver Jordan Klym, whose 11-dive score of 487.95 was the top overall performance in Section 4.
“I felt pretty good after the prelims,” Verity said. “Owego made a huge run but as long we did what we should have, I thought we’d be in pretty good shape. Stranger things have happened, though.”
M-E qualified for the state meet in five events. At first glance, M-E’s 200 medley and 200 free relay teams offer the best opportunities for championship finals appearances, which ensure top-10 finishes.
“I think we’re in a good spot, we haven’t loaded up on the (medley) relay yet…and I think we can be faster in the free relay as well. We’re excited to see the potential there,” Verity said.
Wrestling team champs crowned
Individual state wrestling titles will be up for grabs next weekend at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in Albany, but the state team champions have already been decided.
In the final rankings by the New York State Sports Writers Association, Section 9’s Minisink Valley finished as the top-ranked large-school team in the state while Section 5’s Warsaw is No. 1 in the small-school state rankings. Both teams will be recognized at the state tournament.
Minisink Valley is coached by Kevin Gallagher, brother of Matt Gallagher, head coach for Maine-Endwell’s four-time state championship football team.
Newark Valley and Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville were the top-ranked Section 4 teams in their respective classes, NV finishing No. 22 among large schools while BGAH was No. 7 in the small-school rankings.