High School State Championships: Florida 4A

STUART, Florida, November 18. RIVERVIEW High School (girls) and Palm Harbor University (boys) became the first-ever FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) Division 4 Swimming and Diving champions. The inaugural meet was held November 16 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.

The Lady Rams had been champions of Division 3 for the past three years. This year, the team amassed 209 points for first, followed by East Lake (183), Palm Harbor University (155) and Dr. Phillips (151.5). St. Thomas Aquinas beat out Newsome for fifth by one point, 134.5-133.5.

Nancy Hu gave Riverview its only victory–individual or relay–with her 2:02.75 in the 200 yard IM. Hu finished second in the 100 fly to Reagan senior Isabella Paez in the 100 fly (54.70 to 55.44). Paez will attend Duke University next fall.

East Lake junior Alexandra Aitchison picked up a couple of wins in the 200 and 500 free (1:47.52 and 4:47.82). Joining Aitchison as double-event individual champions were juniors Alexandria Donahue from Plant and Newsome’s Madeline Hess. Donahue triumphed in the 100 breast for the second straight year (1:02.50) and added the 50 free (23.60). Hess repeated in both the 100 back (54.38) and the 100 free (50.35).

Aitchison also aided the Lady Eagles’ cause by swimming on the first-place 200 medley and 400 free relays. The all-junior squad of Sydney Pickrem, Annika Smith, Aitchison and Michelle Turek combined for a 1:47.03 in the 200 medley. Senior Madison Kennedy joined Aitchison, Pickrem and Turek in the 400 free relay (3:27.56). Newsome’s foursome of Hess, Sarah Neely, junior Lauren Harper and sophomore Allison Greenwood put together a winning 1:35.48 in the 200 free relay.

Palm Harbor University claimed its third team title in the last six years with their 276 points. Riverview finished in second (219), with Boca Raton third (173.5), Countryside fourth (159) and Seminole fifth (118).

The Hurricanes were led by senior Tristan Sanders, who has committed to Michigan next year. He finished first in the 100 back for the second consecutive year (47.79 this year) and was nosed out for first in the 50 free to Boca Raton senior Gage Kohner (20.54 to 20.64). Kohner, a future Northwestern Wildcat, picked up a second victory in the 100 free (45.06).

Sanders also led off Palm Harbor University’s winning 200 medley and 400 free relays. Joining Sanders on the 200 medley relay squad were classmates Garrett Hoce, Manuel Barragan and Shaun Van Huysssteen (1:33.22); Sanders, junior Luis Rivadeneira, Barragan and senior Taylor Uselis joined forces in the 400 free relay (3:05.47). Barragan improved on his third-place swim last year in the 200 IM (1:53.43) to this year’s 1:49.94.

Countryside’s 200 free relay of senior Ryan Peters, junior Michael Lombardo, senior Tommy Kelly and junior Cooper Hoffman put together a winning 1:24.93. Peters, who has signed with Cincinnati, gained 20 more points for the Cougars with his 1:39.20 in the 200 free.

Taravella senior Ilya Evdokimov nosed out West Broward junior Alex Morgan in the 100 breast by a mere 2-hundredths, 55.12 to 55.14. Noah Handley, a junior at Oviedo, improved from fifth last year in the 100 fly (50.29) to claim the victory this year (49.27). Nazareno Boscaino, an East Lake sophomore, claimed first in the 500 free (4:26.89).

Freshmen claimed both the girls and boys diving titles. St. Thomas’ Karlee Price put together 443.00 points for first, just ahead of senior teammate Alex Elkins (440.90). The top boys diver was South Plantation’s Logan Downey. His 517.60-point total nosed out Olympia senior Joey Dowd (512.25).

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