Claire Curzan’s NAG, National HS Records Highlight North Carolina Girls 4A State Championships

clair curzan
Photo Courtesy: NCHSAA Twitter (@NCHSAA)

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The 2020 North Carolina High School Girls’ State Swimming and Diving 4A State Championships took place on Friday, February 7 at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, N.C.

Cardinal Gibbons sophomore Claire Curzan stole the show with a pair of impressive record-breaking performances en route to being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer. The 15-year-old lowered her own National Age Group record in the 100 fly, while also setting new National High School standards in both the 100 fly and 100 back.

A pair of freshman also broke two 4A and state records during the meet. Myers Park’s Kiley Wilhelm crushed the previous mark in the 200 IM with a blistering 1:56.77, while Grace Rainey of W.A. Hough set a new standard in the 100 breast with a time of 1:01.26.

Click HERE for full results and team scores.

Top 5 Team Scores:

1. Green Hope – 251
2. W.A. Hough – 229
3. Myers Park – 178
4. Apex Friendship – 162
5. Needham Broughton – 149

W.A. Hough’s Amaya Hanley (25.57), Rainey (28.14), Elizabeth Sowards (24.57), and Martha Tripsa (24.30) began the meet by winning the 4×50 medley relay in 1:42.58.

W.A. Hough’s Kensley Merrittwho has committed to Auburn for 2020, cruised to a 1.5-second win in the 200 free for the second-straight year with a quick 1:47.34. South Mecklenburg’s Katie Rauch, who will stay in-state and attend UNC, also snuck under the 1:50 barrier in 1:49.88 for second.

Wilhelm absolutely dominated the 200 IM, throwing down an impressive 1:56.77 as the only swimmer in the field under the two-minute barrier. Defending champion Brooke Zettel, a future Florida Gator, of Apex Friendship was second in 2:01.25. Wilhelm crushed Zettel’s 4A and state record of 1:57.93 set in 2019.

Green Hope senior and Notre Dame commit Maria Baric just snuck under the 23-second barrier for gold in the 50 free, doing so in a quick 22.89 to defend her state title in the event. AKELL’s Teresa Ivan finished second in the 50 free in a final time of 23.02 before going on to take the top spot in the 100 free with a swift 50.46.

Green Hope’s Elizabeth Baric (24.17), Anna Long (24.15), Katherine Carson (23.56), and M. Baric (22.42) combined in 1:34.30 to win the 4×50 free relay, well over a full second ahead of the rest of the field.

In addition to new NAG and National High School records, Curzan’s blistering 50.35 in the 100 fly also broke her own 4A and state mark of 51.60 she set at this meet last year. Her winning time of 51.38 in the 100 back also lowered her own class and overall mark of 51.88 set in 2019.

Leesville Road’s Amanda Ray cruised to first in the 500 free, finishing in 4:50.48 as the first of only three athletes to crack the five-minute marker. Rauch was a close second in 4:51.11. Ray’s teammate Ashton Zuburg dove to first on the 1-meter board, finishing with a final score of 423.55 for the second-straight year.

Freshman Rainey of W.A. Hough got her hands to the wall in 1:01.31 for the gold medal in the 100 breast, edging out M. Baric’s 1:01.77 for the win. Her prelims time of 1:01.26 set a new state and 4A record. Rainey (51.33) then combined with Sowards (50.68), Hanley (52.02), and Merritt (49.62) to win the 4×100 free relay in 3:23.65 – six seconds ahead of Green Hope (3:29.46).