There was no runner-up trophy — and no doubt about its place as state champion — for the George Washington boys swimming team Friday morning.
The Patriots returned to the top of the medal stand after a one-year hiatus, capturing their sixth team crown in the past seven seasons at the WVU Natatorium in Morgantown. The George Washington girls team’s streak of four straight state titles came to an end with a third-place finish.
Led by senior Patrick Reed, GW’s boys avenged last season’s one-point loss to Parkersburg South. George Washington finished with 166 points, followed by runner-up Parkersburg with 125 and third-place Parkersburg South with 120.
“It’s amazing,” GW coach Kaycee Wheeler said. “For the boys, and the hurt I saw in their eyes last year, today was a complete 180. The only tears were mine, because these are such hard-working kids who deserved it.”
In George Washington’s return to the state title, it was Reed at the front of the pack. He opened the day by swimming a leg in GW’s state-title-winning 200 medley relay, then picked up individual championships in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Hurricane’s Michael Lyons finished second to Reed in the 200 IM. Reed ended his day with another gold medal, swimming a leg on the Patriots’ state champion 400 free relay team.
“I was pretty nervous and really excited at the start of the day,” Reed said. “My mindset was that I’ve gotten this far, so I need to just keep doing what I’m doing.”
State championships weren’t the sole property of the Patriots boys team Friday. Nitro senior Nick Fraley capped his prep career with a state title in the 100 butterfly with a speedy second half to his swim. Fraley’s 50-yard split was the fourth-fastest in the championship race, but he touched the wall first at the end, beating George Washington’s Cameron Penn by a little more than half a second. It was a big swim for Fraley, who cut more than four-tenths of a second off Thursday’s preliminary time, which was just five-hundredths of a second faster than Penn’s. Fraley capped his day with a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
Hurricane finished fifth in the team standings, while Nitro finished 16th and Charleston Catholic finished tied for 24th.
Wheeler said after Thursday’s preliminary races that the GW girls team had plenty of room for improvement for the championship round. Wheeler saw improvement on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to secure another title. The Patriots finished behind champion Wheeling Park and runner-up Fairmont Senior in the team standings.
The Patriots picked up one individual state title, with Savannah Jackson winning the 100 breaststroke. Jackson nudged past Capital’s Grace Clonch by .14 seconds to capture gold. Jackson is a sophomore, just like half of the team Jackson took to the state meet this year, which bodes well for the future.
“I am so proud,” Wheeler said. “They went out there and did everything I asked them to do. They went out and, with the exception of one race, dropped times. We swam well. It just wasn’t our year.”
Winfield’s Alyssa Rittinger was able to defend a state title, winning her second straight in the 500 freestyle. Rittinger was in just her second meet in weeks after nursing a shoulder injury, but that bum shoulder didn’t slow her down at the WVU Natatorium. She defeated runner-up Abigail Riggs of Morgantown by more than four seconds, and her state-title winning time of 5:13.05 was more than 18 seconds faster than her winning time at the regional championships.
There was a hotly contested race between Kanawha County swimmers in the 50 freestyle that featured a razor-thin finish. Charleston Catholic’s Sara Carr and St. Albans’ Regan Raines were separated a hundredth of a second in their preliminary times. The gap got a little wider in the championship race, where Carr edged Raines by four-hundredths of second to win the title. Raines and Carr also finished in the top three in the 100 freestyle, with Raines finishing second and Carr third to Morgantown’s Courtney Deem.
Charleston Catholic finished seventh in the team standings, with Hurricane coming in 11th, St. Albans 12th, Capital 14th, Winfield 15th and South Charleston 21st.
WVSSAC State Swimming Championships
WVU Natatorium, Morgantown
Team results: George Washington 166, Parkersburg 125, Parkersburg South 120, University 95, Hurricane 93, Bridgeport 66, Weir 65, Wheeling Park 62, Jefferson 60, Washington 56, Hedgesville 50, Elkins 44, Morgantown 37, Hampshire 36, Notre Dame 33, Nitro 32, Fairmont Senior 27, John Marshall 26, Woodrow Wilson 17, Cabell Midland 16, Pikeview 15, Wheeling Central 13, Shady Spring 12, Brooke 11, Charleston Catholic 11, Martinsburg 7, Huntington 5, Philip Barbour 2.
Individual events — Local results
200 medley relay: 1. George Washington (Cameron Penn, Patrick Reed, Robbie Hageboeck, Adam Sutton) 1:42.62; 3. Hurricane (Cole Newman, Caleb Laskey, Michael Lyons, Alik Assi) 1:45.97; 11. Nitro (Nick Fraley), Nathan Harvey, Cameron Klem, Preston Oxley) 1:55.07.
200 free: 1. David Snider, Parkersburg, 1:48.70; 2. Robbie Hageboeck, George Washington, 1:51.84.
200 IM: 1. Patrick Reed, George Washington, 2:02.13; 2. Michael Lyons, Hurricane, 2:03.78; 7. Ben Acklin, Charleston Catholic, 2:18.13.
50 free: 1. Nathan Burd, Parkersburg, 21.77; 7. Adam Sutton, George Washington, 23.35; 10. Alik Assi, Hurricane, 23.69.
100 butterfly: 1. Nick Fraley, Nitro, 55.22; 2. Cameron Penn, George Washington, 55.76; 8. Cole Newman, Hurricane, 59.60; 12. Patrick Tiffey, George Washington, 1:02.33.
100 free: 1. Nathan Burd, Parkersburg, 47.84; 7. Adam Sutton, George Washington, 52.05.
500 free: 1. Ricard Marcal-Castan, Hedgesville, 4:58.31, 4. Robbie Hageboeck, George Washington, 5:05.68; 5. Michael Lyons, Hurricane, 5:07.39;
200 free relay: 1. Parkersburg South, 1:32.53; 5. Hurricane (Alik Assi, Cole Newman, Caleb Laskey, Michael Lyons) 1:36.65; 10. George Washington (Eli Sutton, Patrick Tiffey, Gabe Price, Logan Blankenship) 1:39.56
100 back: 1. David Snider, Parkersburg, 54.23; 3. Cameron Penn, George Washington, 59.17; 9. Ben Acklin, Charleston Catholic, 1:02.74.
100 breast: 1. Patrick Reed, George Washington, 1:00.98; 3. Nick Fraley, Nitro, 1:05.83.
400 free relay: 1. George Washington (Adam Sutton, Robbie Hageboeck, Patrick Reed, Cameron Penn) 3:22.08; 6. Hurricane (Alik Assi, Caleb Laskey, Jack Buchanan, Cole Newman) 3:39.74.
Team results: Wheeling Park 144, Fairmont Senior 142, George Washington 134, Morgantown 112, Parkersburg 111, Jefferson 87, Charleston Catholic 86, Bridgeport 80, University 52, Buckhannon-Upshur 52, Hurricane 51, St. Albans 46, Musselman 37, Capital 36, Winfield 29, Liberty 19, St. Joseph 15, Hedgesville 14, Brooke 12, Parkersburg South 12, South Charleston 9, Washington 5, Weir 5, Robert C. Byrd 4, Pikeview 3, Cabell Midland 3, Philip Barbour 1, Notre Dame 1.
Individual events — Local results
200 medley relay: 1. Wheeling Park, 1:56.95; 2. George Washington (Madeleine Swint, Savannah Jackson, Alayna Thompson, Karly O’Dell) 1:57.22; 3. Charleston Catholic (Emma Malinoski, Mary Kathryn Kay, Sara Carr, Olivia Lewis) 1:58.88; 8. Hurricane (Natalie Neville, Alexia Assi, Madelyn Anderson, Grace Peyton) 2:03.86; 12. Capital (Chloe Carpenter, Kassie Hoffman, Callie Chambers, Callie Perry) 2:09.09.
200 free: 1. Adriana Abruzzino, Fairmont Senior, 1:56.00; 2. Alyssa Rittinger, Winfield, 1:56.46; 5. Karly O’Dell, George Washington, 2:01.59;
200 IM: 1. Courtney Deem, Morgantown, 2:11.58, 2. Grace Clonch, Capital, 2:18.83, 3. Savannah Jackson, George Washington, 2:19.36; 9. Mary Kathryn Kay, Charleston Catholic, 2:27.95.
50 free: 1. Sara Carr, Charleston Catholic, 24.43; 2. Regan Raines, St. Albans, 24.47; 11. Lauren Phillips, South Charleston, 26.93.
100 butterfly: 1. Sarah Heilman, Wheeling Park, 1:00.00; 4. Alayna Thompson, George Washington, 1:02.49; 8. Olivia Lewis, Charleston Catholic, 1:06.65; 12. Madelyn Anderson, Hurricane, 1:09.50.
100 free: 1. Courtney Deem, Morgantown, 52.40; 2. Regan Raines, St. Albans, 53.14; 3. Sara Carr, Charleston Catholic, 53.71; 7. Mary Kathryn Kay, Charleston Catholic, 58.65; 8. Grace Peyton, Hurricane, 59.29.
500 free: 1. Alyssa Rittinger, Winfield, 5:13.05; 4. Karly O’Dell, George Washington, 5:29.01; 7. Alayna Thompson, George Washington, 5:46.51.
200 free relay: 1. Fairmont Senior, 1:42.90; 5. Hurricane (Madelyn Anderson, Grace Peyton, Natalie Neville, Alexia Assi) 1:50.55; 7. St. Albans (Reagan Oliver, Rachel Beck, Samantha Humphreys, Regan Raines) 1:51.16; 8. George Washington (Josie Lorea, Carly Smithson, Madison Nichols, Abigail Hemsworth) 1:53.19; 9. Capital (Callie Chambers, Hannah Dolin, Kassie Hoffman, Callie Perry) 1:53.94; 10. South Charleston (Lauren Phillips, Kristen Shomo, Allyson Poe, Kelley Bare) 1:54.23.
100 back: 1. Kelsie Drennen, Fairmont Senior, 1:00.51; 6. Madeleine Swift, George Washington, 1:05.96.
100 breast: 1. Savannah Jackson, George Washington, 1:10.17; 2. Grace Clonch, Capital, 1:10.31; 8. Alexia Assi, Hurricane, 1:15.50.
400 free relay: 1. Morgantown, 3:42.07; 4. George Washington (Madeleine Swint, Savannah Jackson, Alayna Thompson, Karly O’Dell) 3:50.14; 6. Charleston Catholic (Mary Kathryn Kay, Emma Malinoski, Olivia Lewis, Sara Carr) 3:56.94; 8. Hurricane (Grace Peyton, Natalie Neville, Mallory Thomas, Alexia Assi) 4:08.16; 10. St. Albans (Rachel Beck, Reagan Oliver, Samantha Humphreys, Regan Raines) 4:10.47; 12. South Charleston (Allyson Poe, Kristen Shomo, Kelley Bare, Lauren Phillips) 4:14.54.