Crusaders pace locals at OVAC swim meet

STEUBENVILLE – Times dropped inside while the snow and the temperature dropped outside.

Several local swimmers set personal best times Saturday at the 2014 OVAC Swimming Bill Brubaker Championship Meet inside the Steubenville High School Natatorium. At the end of the long day, seven local swimmers ended up on the podium. Unfortunately, none were able to ascend to the coveted position on top of the podium.

Team-wise, the Catholic Central boys were the top local finisher, while Brooke placed six swimmers on the podium.

“The kids dropped time,” Catholic Central assistant coach Rita Lee said. “We had a lot of good swims. The kids swam hard. We lost two boys due to injuries. We only had eight boys, and they did awesome.”

The Crusaders placed second in the small school division, while the Bruins placed two girls and four girls on the podium.

“It was not bad,” Brooke head coach Gina Reitter said about her team’s performance. “We had a couple of surprises which is always nice. Our 200 medley relay team was seeded fifth, and they came in third with a personal best time. They swam fantastic.”

The Linsly boys won the small school division. The Cadets finished the meet with 305 points. The Crusaders placed second with 124 points. Wheeling Central ended up in third place with 44 points.

Locally, Toronto finished fifth with nine points.

The Cadets also won the girls small school division. Linsly finished first with 308 points, the Maroon Knights tallied 111 points en route to a second-place finish and the Crusaders recorded 81 points to finish in third place.

The Parkersburg South boys won the big school division. The Patriots finished with 323 points. Wheeling Park placed second with 221 points, and Morgantown ended up in third place with 217 points.

Locally, Brooke ended up in sixth place with 127 points, Big Red ended up in ninth place with 95 points and Weir was 12th with 24 points.

Beaver Local placed 10th with 59 points.

The Mohigans finished first in the girls big school division. Morgantown tallied 360 points on the day. The Patriots of Wheeling Park placed second with 244 points, and Martins Ferry finished third with 163 points.

Locally, the Bruins ended up in seventh place with 131 points, Big Red ended up 11th with 30 points and the Red Riders were 12th with 10 points.

The Beavers placed ninth with 68 points.

“Overall, we did fantastic,” Big Red head coach Lauren Vogel said. “Most of the kids dropped times. The boys 400 relay team really dropped time. The kids swam some of their best times.

“Our freshmen and first-year swimmers have never seen a championship meet environment like this before, and they really stepped up. You would think they would have jitters or their nerves would take over, but I was so surprised by them. They really exceeded expectations.

“We were able to hold the meet which was a goal in itself.”

Individually for the Catholic Central boys, senior Anthony Lee finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (55.14), and he placed sixth in the 200 freestyle (2:02.32).

Lee also helped the Crusaders place in the top eight in two relay races. The team of senior Jacob Arai, freshman Joey Schlich, senior Brien Thompson and Lee placed eighth in the 200 medley relay (2:00.26). The foursome also teamed together to finish sixth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:51.47).

Arai and Thompson also placed in the top eight in individual races. Arai recorded a sixth-place finish in the 100 backstroke (1:07.62), while Thompson ended up eighth in the 500 freestyle (6:00.91).

Senior Maddy Gulan was the lone Crusader to end up on the podium. Gulan ended up in second place in the girls 100 backstroke (1:06.68).

Individually for Brooke, junior Jessie Wayne placed in the top eight in two events, and she also earned herself a spot on the podium.

Wayne ended up third in the 500 freestyle (5:39.91), and she finished fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:10.61).

“Jessie blew my socks off,” Reitter said. “She swam fantastic in the 500 free. She set a school record. She had a great swim. She did a great job in all four of her events. I’m really proud of her.”

Senior Emiley Czesztyicki ended up on the podium as the Bruins’ top individual placer. Czesztyicki placed second in the 100 butterfly (1:05.54).

“Emiley cut three seconds off of her time in the butterfly,” Reitter said. “She came in second with a personal best time. She had a great day all-around.”

The top finisher for the Bruins on the boys’ side was the 200 medley team. The team made up of senior James Harrick, senior Alex Wilson, junior Dante Rosso and senior Devon Ansell ended up third with a time of 1:55.14.

“It is a good day to be a Bruin,” Reitter said.

Harrick, Ansell and Rosso also placed in the top eight in the 200 freestyle relay. The threesome was joined by junior Jakob Heilman, who swam the third leg of the race. The team ended up in seventh place with a time of 1:44.15.

Rosso also finished in the top eight in two individual events. Rosso ended up sixth in the 200 IM (2:20.06), and he placed seventh in the 100 butterfly (1:03.29).

“The season has gone really well,” Reitter said. “We are where I thought we would be. We have made some great strides this year. I am looking forward to regionals and then going down to the state tournament.

“We have one more dual against West Allegheny on Feb. 11. Then, it is time for the big dance.”

Big Red senior Dom DiCarlo placed in the top eight in one individual event, and he was also on one top-eight placing relay team.

Individually, DiCarlo placed seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.51).

Big Red’s foursome of juniors Alex Isla, Dylan Pinkerton and Michael Gault teamed with DiCarlo to finish tied for seventh place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:59.76). The Big Red boys ended up tied with the boys from Parkersburg South in the race.

“We have had a great season,” Vogel said. “We are a lot bigger number-wise. Our new swimmers are doing well. Our seniors have provided strong and sufficient leadership. We have a lot of mentors on the team.”

The Beavers had one boy and one girl place in the top eight in individual events.

On the boys’ side, senior Hayden Moore placed in the top eight in two events. Moore ended up in sixth place in the 50 free (24.83), and he placed eighth in the 100 free (56.86).

On the girls’ side, sophomore Claire Meredith placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.37).

With the conference meet behind them, the teams on both sides of the river are beginning to prepare for the upcoming postseason.

“We are going to get ready for the regional meet,” Reitter said. “I want to wish good luck to the other teams and to my kids.”

The Crusaders have some things to work on before their upcoming sectional meet.

“We are getting ready for sectionals,” Coach Lee said. “We have to work on turns and some other stuff.”

Big Red has one dual left before the sectional meet.

“We have a dual Wednesday at home against Dover,” Vogel said. “The sectional meet will be held on birthday, Feb. 8. I will spend my birthday here.”

The preliminaries for the OVAC meet were to be held Tuesday, but they were canceled due to the wintry weather in the area.