February 14th 2015 Swimming: NW District Mansfield Sectionals at Malabar
MANSFIELD – After the results of Saturday’s Divison II sectional swim meet at Malabar were read, Lexington coach Brock Spurling was grinning ear to ear because of his team’s performance.
“I know where my kids were at for this meet, and for some of our kids, it was going to be a challenge,” he said. “We knew Colonel Crawford was going to present a challenge on the girls’ side — they beat us in a dual meet back in December, and Mike (Holtzapfel) always has his kids swimming well.
“Then with Ontario, (they’re) running a very good program over there, and their boys beat us earlier this year.”
Those earlier losses, however, didn’t deter Lex from stepping up and sweeping the sectional meet, edging the defending champion Ontario boys, 433-425, and trumping Colonel Crawford’s girls, 468-354.
“Overall, I am very happy with majority of the results,” Spurling said. “I’m happy with how we did, and I think our kids have put themselves in a very good position moving forward.”
Lady Lex had five individual gold medals at the meet and also took first in a relay. Among those who won was Ashley Basham, who snatched the girls 200-yard individual medley, the 100 butterfly and also was part of the 200 medley team that took gold.
“As a team, we did great,” Basham said. “Some of us are tapered, and some of us are getting there, but we all came together as a team and cheered each other on and did the best we could in every event.”
Sammie Basinger (girls 200 free), Kelsi Brown (girls 100 backstroke) and Alaina Merkel (girls 100 breaststroke) were the other individual champs for Lexington at the meet. In relays, the 200 medley team of Brown, Merkel, Basham and Abbie Kaple finished first with a time of 1:55.17.
On the boys’ side, Lex had no individual champs at the meet but were bolstered by Evan Heth’s diving performance on Friday.
“He broke his own school record in an 11-dive set by 83 points and scored a 510,” Spurling said. “I don’t know the history of the area, as far as diving, but I have to believe that is the first time anyone’s ever broken 500 points in this area.”
Ontario’s boys, who came in second, grabbed three individual golds and won all of its relay events — two of which were record-setting performances.
“We knew we were going to swim through this meet — we’re looking at next week and the week after and getting as many kids (to move on) as we can,” Warriors coach Deb Henry said. “We took one boy and one girl out of an event so they could be strong in their other event, and that cost us big points.”
Andrew Jolly, Steven Toth, Kyle Cordrey and Jimmy Sheldon set a sectional record of 1:44.32 in their 200 medley relay, edging the old record of 1:44.41. Likewise, Tyler Watson, Jared Watson, Naz Tkachenko and Chad Wright marked a new sectional and pool record in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:21.80.
“They’re an awesome group, and on top of their physical ability, they’re great kids,” Henry said of her relay swimmers.
The other Ontario boys relay to win was the 200 free team of Tyler Watson, Sheldon, Tkachenko and Wright, who finished the event in 1:31.62.
Individually, the boys were led by Chad Wright, who won two events (100 butterfly, backstroke), and Tkachenko, who grabbed one (100 free).
On the girls’ side, the Warriors came in third with a 227 but had no sectional champs.
Colonel Crawford also fared well at the meet, gathering five individual and two relay golds.
“It’s never a sure thing, but you plan for it, you train for it, and when it happens, it’s fun to watch,” CC coach Mike Holtzapfel said of his team’s success.
For the third-place Eagle boys (251 points), Jake Johnson won the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while Grant Pfeifer topped the 200 and 500 frees.
“I didn’t really expect it at all,” Pfeifer said of winning his two events. “Being seeded third, I thought maybe I’d get second or something, but getting first is a pretty good accomplishment for me.”
The lone individual champ for CC’s girls was Chloe Grove, who claimed the 500 free, finishing in 5:36.03. In relays, Holtzapfel’s girls team of Madison Sharp, Megan Lyons, Callie Ruffener and Grove took first in the 200 free, setting a new school and Malabar pool record (1:43.64), and the 400 free (3:48.95).
Colonel Crawford’s girls finished second at the meet.
“I think what’s fun to watch is when I’ve seen them in practice, they’re very focused,” Holtzapfel said of his entire team. “You could tell a long time ago this season that they wanted to achieve a higher level.”
Other sectional champs in the area included Galion’s Sam DeNero, who won the boys 50 free, and Mansfield Christian’s Abby Reynolds, who won the girls 50 and 100 frees.
Ashland and Mansfield Senior were the only Division I teams at the meet.
The Arrows put up a combined score of 853 — 572 for the girls and 281 for the boys — to sweep the Tygers.
Grabbing individual titles for Ashland were Macki Leon (girls 200 IM, 500 free), Olivia Groves (girls 200 free), Brooke Johnson (girls 100 butterfly), Lauren DeBracy (girls 100 free), Abriana Hosler (girls 100 back), Bailee Tucker (girls 100 breast), Luke Simmons (boys 200 IM, 100 backstroke) and Hudson McDaniel (100 breaststroke).
For the Tygers, individual winners were Breanna Jones (girls 50 free), Drew Weeks (boys 100, 200 frees), Caleb Stamper (boys 500 free) and David Haring (boys 50 free).
All Northwest District qualifiers will be posted Sunday at swimmeet.com.