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By Sophia Chiang, Swimming World College Intern
Marvin Ridge High School took victory home on Friday, February 12, 2016, when they grabbed the overall combined state title at the women’s and men’s NCHSAA 3A Division State Championships at the Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary, North Carolina. Marvin Ridge won with 626 points at the final, with runner-up Chapel Hill not too far behind in 566.5 points, and second runner-up Northern Guildford finishing in 290.5.
The women went off first. Marvin Ridge and Chapel Hill’s women led the way in the first event, the 200 yard medley relay. Marvin Ridge’s team, lead by Caroline Hauder, Alex Bonfilio, Katie Rivers, and Ashley Baum touched in a blazing 1:47.11, two seconds ahead of Chapel Hill’s squad consisting of Claire DeSelm, Sarah Taekman, Uma Knaven, and Paige Jones, who dropped two seconds off their prelims time to take silver in 1:49.29. On the men’s side, Northern Guildford’s squad with Jordan Reed, Jeremy Lalumondier, Bryan Hill, and Jonathan Wachendorfer took gold (1:37.80), dropping two seconds off their prelim time to finish ahead of Corinth-Holders Connor Blandford, Chris Carter, Christian Lower, and Jacob Stokes (1:39.24).
Anna Durak of Hickory raced to a fast finish in the women’s 200 yard freestyle in 1:50.14, followed by St Stephen’s Maria Turcanu in 1:52.49. Durak’s definitely a swimmer to watch out for, as she went on to capture a second state title in the 100 yard freestyle later on. Marvin Ridge’s Jeffrey Murray also grabbed a state title for his team in 1:42.23, knocking out close finisher Sam Jones of Concord (1:43.90).
Marvin Ridge’s ladies swept the next event, the women’s 200 yard individual medley, where Hauder (1:58.85) and Bonfilio (2:05.53) went 1-2. On the men’s side, we saw Corinth-Holders Blandford grab his first individual state title of the night in 1:50.72, with St Stephen’s Jacob Queen fighting for silver (1:52.85).
Up next was the 50 yard freestyle, where fast, tight finishes set the tone for the entire race. Weddington’s Katie Corbie (24.27) touched first, with Nash Central’s Jennifer Jackson tight on her tail in 24.48, and Cox Mill’s Cathleen Rogers touching for third in 24.81. The men’s 50 yard freestyle had similar excitement, with the top two finishers, Concord’s Robbie Epler (21.48) and Western Alamance’s Noah Henderson (21.52) being 0.04 a part at the finish. Henderson grabbed second, too, just out touching third place finisher, Tuscola’s Jack MacDonald (21.53) by 0.01, another fast finish that really brought excitement to onlookers.
Chapel Hill’s Claire DeSelm dominated the women’s 100 yard butterfly, touching in 56.32, touching ahead of Marvin Ridge’s Ellie VanNote (57.27). Western Alamance’s Noah Henderson (49.70) went on to claim the men’s title, followed by runner-up Peter Dwyer (50.41). Henderson, only a freshman still, has lots of room for growth these next three years. Watch out for him, he’s projected to become seriously good.
Durak claimed her second title of the night in the 100 yard freestyle (51.76), followed by Cox Mill’s Rogers (53.93) and Chapel Hill’s Marissa Tocci (54.26). For the men, Tuscola’s MacDonald took his first state title of the night in a blistering 46.28, finishing more than a second ahead of South Iredell’s Colson Zucker (47.41).
At this point, Marvin Ridge and Chapel Hill were nearly tied up for first, with Marvin Ridge at a slight lead, 367 to 297.5. So finishes going into the 500 yard freestyle and beyond, especially the relays, would be of great significance towards the overall team state title. Hickory’s Emmaline Peterson grabbed the 500 yard freestyle women’s title in (4:52.80) ahead of second place Sophia Cherkez (4:58.73). For the men, St Stephens’s Queen took his first title of the night in 4:36.92, ahead of Weddington’s Curtis Wiltsey (4:38.10), and both fought valiantly for the finish.
The second relay of the night, the 200 yard freestyle relay, was key for the top two teams, Marvin Ridge and Chapel Hill. Marvin Ridge’s women grabbed their second state relay title of the night in 1:36.95. The team, consisting of Ellie VanNote, Katie Marshall, Samantha Bitter, and Baum fought for a tight finish ahead of Northern Guildford’s women (1:40.13). Chapel Hill’s men were victorious in their 200 yard freestyle relay, the team composed of Christopher Eron, Ang Li, Jordan Ren, and Eli Rose (1:28.42) finishing ahead of the Marvin Ridge men (1:28.61), who grabbed silver.
Madison Holland of Cox Mill took her first title of the night in the women’s 100 yard backstroke (56.61), knocking out Weddington’s Maddy Flickinger (57.28). On the men’s side, North Guildford’s Jordan Reed grabbed his first title in 51.63 in a tight finish against Fike’s John Holsten (51.85).
Marvin Ridge’s women once again went 1-2 in an individual event in the women’s 100 yard breaststroke, where Hauder claimed her first individual title of the night in 1:02.15, followed by teammate Mary Agnes Rothenberg (1:06.54). For the men, Corinth-Holders’s Blandford made waves once again, grabbing the title in 57.66, followed by Robinson’s Travis Rogers.
Marvin Ridge’s took 3/3 relays with yet another incredible finish in the final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay, dropping over six seconds from prelims to finals to take the title in 3:33.34, a blistering four seconds ahead of Hickory’s 3:37.24. Marvin Ridge’s team, made up of Bonfilio, Marshall, VanNote, and Hauder, is certainly a squad for the ages. Marvin Ridge’s men, Jeffery Murray, Nate Utesch, Adam Fischer, and Peter Dwyer, also took the men’s 400 yard freestyle relay state title by storm in 3:12.43, also five seconds ahead of competition runner-up Chapel Hill.
That’s a wrap for today’s events, but there’s still more to come as the women’s and men’s 1A/2A NCHSAA high school state swimming championships continue to go off this weekend at Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary, North Carolina. We will be continuing our coverage then. For now, you can view Friday’s results here.