GW gets its sweep at state swim meet
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington's boys set a new standard Friday, and the Patriot girls' tears of frustration finally turned into those of joy.
GW captured its third straight championship in the boys division while breaking the jinx on the girls side with a title after six runner-up finishes in the past eight years. The 15th state swim meet took place at the West Virginia University Natatorium in Morgantown.
Only once before had a school captured both crowns in the same meet - Fairmont Senior in 2006. The Secondary School Activities Commission began recognizing state swimming titles in 1999.
"It's really been an amazing day,'' GW coach Melissa Case said in a phone interview. "To see the kids so happy and so supportive of each other makes everything we go through day after day swimming laps up and down all worth it.
"In both boys and girls meets we had a couple of little bumps, but these kids pulled themselves right back together and dealt with disappointments and swam harder the next race.''
It got even better Friday for swimmers from the Kanawha Valley as South Charleston senior Austin Green continued his torrid pace, setting one state meet record and earning All-America status in two events.
Charleston Catholic's brother-sister tandem of senior Nate Carr and sophomore Morgan Carr also had a day to remember. Nate Carr repeated as state champion in a pair of events, setting the only other state meet mark on the boys side, and both times earned All-America consideration. Morgan Carr captured the 100 butterfly with a record pace and also won the 500 freestyle.
GW has now won the boys title four of the last five years and is the only repeat champion other than Fairmont Senior, which won 10 in a row from 1999-2008. The Patriots interrupted the Polar Bears' run in 2009 with their first championship.
The Patriot boys beat out runner-up Bridgeport on Friday by a comfortable 36-point cushion (192-156). Notre Dame was third with 118 points followed by Charleston Catholic (113) and South Charleston (111).
"We definitely deserved it,'' said GW junior Zach Kidd, who has been a part of the last three titles. "With the loss of several important seniors from last year we really had to work with what we had this year.''
Kidd said it wasn't smooth sailing as a GW teammate had to fight through illness Thursday and Friday while the squad overcame a disqualification during Thursday's opening day.
"We hit a couple of hard spots at states and we worked through them as always,'' said the junior, who was part of the Patriots' only runner-up finishes in the 500 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. "The team pulled through again. I think it says we're going to be looking for another one next year.''
Speaking to GW's depth, the Patriots didn't have a single individual state titlist and only won the 200-yard medley relay, Friday's first event, behind junior Chris Kay, sophomore Nick Peyatte, senior Jacob Nason and junior Josh Barnette.
"The boys medley relay certainly got us off to a good start,'' Case said. "It came 29 hundredths of a second within a state record. It got the guys fired up.
"I gotta say I'm really proud of all of them. It's tough to hold it together for two days and swim their best. As a group they did that. A couple of them didn't have the swim they hoped for. It really says a lot about them and they really worked together as a team.''
After winning back-to-back championships in 2003-04, GW's girls finished runner-up a half-dozen times, the most recent last year.
"To have seen the girls want this for so long and see them get it today, there's not a better feeling,'' Case said. "The girls swam really well."
GW cruised past Morgantown by 40 points (216-176) for the girls championship. Wheeling Park was third with 122 points followed by Bridgeport (119) and Elkins (117). GW had finished runner-up to Morgantown in 2005 and 2012.
The Patriots didn't win any individual titles but took two relay events in state meet-record times.
GW set the tone Friday evening, opening with a state-record effort of 1:52.58 in the 200 medley relay powered by freshman Jordyn O'Dell, sophomore Haley Hemsworth, sophomore Katie Hageboeck and senior Anna Davis. The Patriots also claimed the 400 freestyle relay in a state-best 3:42.13 behind Katie Hageboeck, freshman Emily Hageboeck, O'Dell and Davis.
"It was their grit and ability to pull themselves together when things didn't go exactly as they hoped,'' said Case. "The girls are one of the most determined bunch I've been around. They were not going to lose this meet.''
Green turned in two career-best times in capturing the 100 butterfly in 49.25 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in a state-meet mark of 56.67 seconds, breaking the record (57.5) he set last year. Both times automatically qualified for All-America status. The WVU recruit bested his 100 butterfly time of 49.74 from Thursday's qualifying, which also was an automatic All-America time.
Any high school time of 49.79 in the 100 butterfly and 57.08 in the 100 breaststroke earns automatic All-America status by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.
Green also swam the opening leg in the 200 freestyle relay in 21.07, which qualified for All-America consideration. Sophomore Adam Poe, junior Ty Wiener and senior Scott Canterbury helped the Black Eagles capture the event. The four also took fourth in the 200 medley relay.
"One thing I'll definitely remember was our relay,'' said Green. "That was an outstanding performance from all the guys. I can't forget that. I think I went out perfect. I don't think there was any better way to go out.''
Nate Carr won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke for the second year in a row. His 1:52.1 in the 200 IM earned All-America consideration while his clocking of 51.6 in the 100 backstroke set a state meet record. Nate and Morgan Carr competed at the Olympic Trials this past summer and Nate signed with WVU in the fall.
"It's been a great senior year swimming with Charleston Catholic,'' Nate Carr said. "The state titles are great and All-America times are exciting, but I'm most proud of the relays. A lot of kids stepped up. I couldn't ask for a better team to swim for. I was just motivated. It was my last meet swimming for my high school. I wanted to go out with a bang.''
Morgan Carr bested the state mark in the 100 butterfly, turning in a 57.23, which was nearly two seconds better than the old mark. Her win in the 500 freestyle in 5:04.17 was less than three seconds off the oldest record on the books, which was set in 1999.
Winfield sophomore Madisyn Lyons captured the 200 individual medley. Elkins sophomore Samantha Hall won twice - the 50 and 100 freestyle - and also led the Tigers' 200 freestyle relay to victory. Buckhannon-Upshur sophomore Maggie Miller won the 100 backstroke in 56.72, which earned All-America consideration.
Bridgeport senior Frank Csonka took the 50 and 100 freestyle while also anchoring the Indians' triumphant 400 freestyle relay. He also earned All-America consideration in the 100 freestyle (45.87).
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.