CARY, North Carolina, February 9. THE Charlotte Catholic Cougars set five state and nine Division 3 records on their way to their 12th straight girls crown at the North Carolina State 3A Championships Feb. 8 in Cary.
Charlotte Catholic was led by Nora McCullagh, the Most Valuable Performer on the girls side with her state record 22.92 in the 50 yard free and division mark 55.09 in the 100 back. McCullagh became the first North Carolina 3A swimmer to go under 23 seconds in the 50 free, clearing Emily Allen's 23.03 from the 4A championships this year (state) and Lauren Rhodes' 2011 time of 23.41 (division). The 100 back record bettered Erin Gaeckle's division mark of 56.69 from 2010.
McCullagh was joined by Lauren Rhodes, who bettered her division records form last year in the 100 free (50.02) and the 200 free (1:47.98). Her previous times were 50.05 and 1:50.22. Also scoring first-place points for Charlotte Catholic were Nicole Emery (division record 2:02.01 in the 200 IM), Sara Stranick (1:05.00 in the 100 breast) and Elsa Welshofer (division record 54.69 in the 100 fly).
Tuscola's Katy Stringfield took charge in the 500 free, lowering her division standard from last year (4:56.87) with her 4: 56.08.
Charlotte Catholic set state records in claiming all three relay races. The 200 medley relay of Emery, Stranick, Welshofer and Maria Sheridan combined for a state record 1:45.52 in the 200 medley relay, erasing Apex's 1:45.91 from 2011. Both of Hough's state marks from yesterday's 4A competition fell in the free relays. Allison McDonough joined McCullagh, Sheridan and Rhodes for a 1:35.00 state record in the 200 free relay; McCullagh, Emery, Welshofer and Rhodes completed the trifecta of state records with their 3:24.61 in the 400 free relay.
Charlotte Catholic collected 469 points for their victory, followed by Marvin Ridge (258), Chapel Hill (228), Cardinal Gibbons (184) and Jay Robinson (133).
In the boys races, Cardinal Gibbons earned its fourth straight 3A crown and sixth in a row (two classifications). Cardinal Gibbons' 312 points was followed by Charlotte Catholic (283), Chapel Hill (212), Jay Robinson (149) and Marvin Ridge (132).
Gibbons was led by Most Valuable Player Bailey Maloney, who grabbed individual first-place times in the 50 and 100 free (21.46 and 46.57). He also swam legs on the division record-setting 200 free relay (1:27.51) with Andy Lui, Robbie Mohney and Kai Wombacher; and the winning 400 free relay (3:14.63) with Emmett Williams, Wombacher and Noah Cairns. Wombacher captured the 200 free individual event (1:43.17).
Dalton Shaw took out Chris Spooner's 2005 mark of 1:52.43 in the 200 IM with his 1:51.63. Other event champions included Griffin Fielder, J.M. Robinson (100 fly, 50.68); Jake Pierce, F.T. Foard (500 free, 4:36.83); Garrett Simpson, Crest (100 back, 52.00) and Matthew Rigali, Charlotte Catholic (100 breast, 58.63).
Rigali swam on Charlotte Catholic's victorious 200 medley relay with Chris Wilson, William Webb and Ryan Hall (1:37.98).