Roberson swimmers hit up a bowling alley on Saturday night to blow off some steam after the NCHSAA 4-A meet.
Alyssa Arwood wasn’t expecting to topple a lot of pins. In fact, she joked about her lack of ability.
That’s OK. Arwood the Rams had already made history in a different kind of lane – the water-filled lanes of the Triangle Aquatic Center.
Roberson only took four girls to the NCHSAA 4-A meet, but placed fifth as a team (131 points) with its first-ever state championships in North Carolina’s largest classification.
Arwood, who has signed to swim in college for Duke, won the 100-yard breaststroke in a state-record time of 1 minute, 2.10 seconds. Earlier in the evening, sophomore Mary-O Soule touched the wall first in the 100-yard butterfly (55.73).
Both are All-American consideration times, as was the third-place showing by Roberson’s 200-yard medley relay (1:46.82) of Arwood, Soule, Camille Long and Anna Newman.
“It was my last high school meet, so it was very sentimental and very fun,” Arwood said.
“We had such a great relay and that really got me pumped-up. It was an amazing meet for us.”
Arwood is a three-time YMCA national champion and was the winner of December’s Ironman meet. Soule was the Mountain Athletic Conference meet’s most valuable performer as an underclassman.
Prior to Saturday, the Rams hadn’t won a state swimming or diving championship of any kind since 2008.
Roberson became a 4-A athletic program in all sports starting with the 2009-10 school year.
Longtime coach Jim Cottam said his four swimmers broke five school records in five preliminaries.
“And then I think we came back and broke them all over again (in the finals),” Cottam said.
“There were a lot of the firsts. We just had a great meet, the kind of meet that you dream about.”
In general, it was a bountiful weekend for Western North Carolina athletes in state-championship competition.
Among the highlights?
Mitchell senior distance runner Zach Boone became an eight-time state champion during Friday’s NCHSAA 1-A/2-A indoor track meet in Winston-Salem. The University of Mississippi recruit won the 3,200-meter run (9:35.19).
Avery County senior Kylie Polsgrove collected her fourth career title at that same meet by clearing 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. Polsgrove has signed with Liberty.
Franklin senior Caleb Albrecht sped around the JDL Fast Track Complex to win the 500-meter dash (1:07.48), while the Polk County boys produced a pair of first-place relays in the 1,600-meter team (3:34.82) and 3,200-meter team (8:15.58).
Sean Doyle, Mitchell Brown, Caleb Brown, Jacob Wolfe and Eli Hall were part of those groups.
A sixth Wolverines athlete, Hanna O’Brien, was the only competitor in the 55-meter dash amputee-below race and logged a time of 9.27.
The Asheville High boys were the second-place team (60 points) in Saturday’s NCHSAA 3-A indoor meet with an individual victory in the triple jump (45-1.5) by senior Mekhi McGuyver.
Cougars junior Naomi Cartier brought home her first state title in the 1,000-meter run (3:02.59) by more than four seconds over runner-up Alexa King from Marvin Ridge (3:06.83). Like the Roberson girls in swimming, Asheville coach Rocky Cunningham said he was proud of how high the team placed (fourth with 32.5 points) with only a handful of entrants. Cartier was joined at the state meet by Pia Mackie, Kestrel Allawos and Anne Worth.
East Henderson senior Tanis Baldwin was named the most valuable performer of the 3-A boys meet as a reward for doubling up in the 1,600-meter run (4:17.71) and 3,200-meter run (9:26.26).
Baldwin is a six-time state champ who has signed with N.C. State. Saturday was the final meet for Eagles track coach Justin McKenzie. McKenzie is resigning to spend more time with his family.