High School State Championships: Mississippi

CLEVELAND, Mississippi, Oct. 28. THE record book took quite a beating during the Mississippi State High School Championships Oct. 26 in Cleveland. Records were set in 21 events during the one-day competition, held in two divisions.

St. Andrews’ girls defeated last year’s champ, Cleveland, by a score of 122-90. Alex Good doubled in the 100-200 free for St. Andrews (100 free, 53.31; 200 free, 1:55.23), as well as sister Carly (100 breast, 1:10.05; 200 IM, 2:14.85) and Maggie Gleason (100 back, 59.83; 100 fly, division record 59.83). The Saints also turned in two record setting relays (200 medley, division record 1:52.14; 400 free, state record 3:41.43).

St. Joseph Catholic’s Niijor May turned in a division record-setting 25.06 in the 50 free. Manuela Portilla, swimming for Mississippi State Math and Science, posted a winning 5:25.23 in the 500 free, and Cleveland’s 200 free relay combined for a winning 1:47.59.

On the boys side, St. Joseph earned its first-ever state swimming title with 107 points, ahead of St. Andrew’s 86. The victorious Bruins set division standards in their winning 200 medley (1:48.22) and 400 free (3:29.50); Walker Burrow set an individual division mark in the 100 back with his 57.09.

St. Andrew’s was led by double-event champion (and double Division 1 record-setter) Jack Smithson, who claimed titles in the 100 fly (53.41) and 200 IM (2:01.18), and Thatcher Shepard, who turned in a winning 5:17.71 in the 500 free.

St. Aloysius prevented a sweep of the relay events via their 1:37.09 in the 200 free relay, and Wally Wibowo took charge of the sprint events (50 free, 22.27; 100 free, 49.43). St. Patrick’s Zack Cruthirds lowered division records in both the 200 free (1:46.83) and 100 breast (1:02.80).

Tupelo High School, for the third straight year, swept the team titles in Division 2 action. The Golden Wave girls earned their third straight title, 101-80, over Madison Central. The boys have now earned six straight championships, dating back to the single-division era. They scored 124 points to Oxford’s 90.

Cris Roberts added valuable points for Tupelo with her Division 2 record-setting efforts in the 100 back (58.98) and 100 fly (57.27). Tupelo swimmers combined for a 1:52.53 victory in the 200 medley relay.

Laken Vickers set a state record 1:05.72 in the 100 breast, and division records were lowered by Lewisburg’s Gaby Sanchez (500 free, 5:06.96), Brandon’s Taylor Ballard (200 IM, 2:11.53) and Harrison Central’s Kyjana Webber (100 free, 52.45). Webber nabbed a second win in the 50 free (24.01). Division records were also claimed by Madison Central’s 200 free relay (1:42.52, just ahead of Starkville’s 1:42.58) and Starkville’s 400 free relay (3:46.34).

A.K. Mitchell from Northwest Rankin was the only sub-2:00 swimmer in the 200 free, cruising to a 1:58.99 finish.

Olive Branch’s Sean Kirwan missed out on setting division standards by a mere 6-hundredths. In the 100 free, he finished second to Tupelo’s Connor Anderson, 47.59-47.62. Kirwan again fell 3-hundredths shy of a victory in the 100 breast, placing runner-up to Northwest Rankin’s Ralph Moore, 1:00.26-1:00.29.Anderson picked up a second win courtesy of his 52.73 in the 100 fly.

Tupelo’s 200 free relay lowered the state record to 1:27.70 in the 200 free relay, and also finished first in the 200 medley relay (1:39.86). Corey Person from Columbus bettered the Division 2 mark he set last year (55.36) with this year’s 54.57.

Jackson Kojima of Madison Central topped the field in both the 200 free (1:45.93) and 500 free (4:50.34). Tupelo’s Michael Ray finished first in the 50 free (21.87), and Clinton’s Noah Young powered his way to a 2:00.16 win in the 200 IM. Oxford’s 400 free relay squad squeaked by Tupelo to prevent a relay sweep by 1-tenth, 3:21.19 to 3:21.29.

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