Pioneers, Warriors split district swim dual

Posted: December 29, 2012

Special to The Winchester Star

Sherando’s Kelsey Dingman helped the Warrior girls win three relays in their 118-52 district win over Millbrook Friday night. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Millbrook’s and Sherando’s dual swim meet Friday at Jim Barnett Park proved to be a repeat of last year.

The Pioneer boys, who were last season’s Northwestern District champs, held off a determined Warrior team to win 96-73. Sherando, whose girls were the district champs last year, dominated Millbrook 118-52.

“This is going to be a very close district race this year,” Pioneer coach Will Sigler said. “All of the teams have several really good swimmers. We had a few of our female swimmers that weren’t here, but the ones we had here swam strong. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year.”

The boys’ competition seemed to be two meets in one. After the Pioneers won seven of the first eight races and led 78-45, the Warriors staged a dramatic comeback, winning the last three races before falling to Millbrook.

“We knew coming into the meet that Millbrook’s boys were the top contenders for the district title again this year,” Sherando coach Joe Knight said. “We just wanted our guys to come out and swim really well against them. They did exactly that. I thought that they came on strong at the end of the meet and I was very proud of them for that.”

The girls’ competition, however, was never close with Sherando winning nine of the 11 races. The only Pioneer wins came from Katie Kozlowski, who took first in the 200 IM (2:49.56) and the 100 breast (1:23.84).

“I was happy to win my two individual races, but we were really struggling on both of the relays I was in,” Kozlowski said. “We were missing one of best swimmers and I thought that with her that we could have done a little bit better, particularly in the relays. I thought that many of the girls swam really well and our guys did a great job, but we still have a lot that we can work on.”

Millbrook got strong performances from Mark Graham and Alex Morrow early in the meet. Graham won the 50 free (26.20), 100 free (1:01.03), and was on the winning 200 medley relay (2:08.63) and the 200 free relay (1:54.27) with teammates Hunter Doherty, Chris Patton and Joe Patterson.

“We have a lot of good swimmers who are back from last year, and we have several new ones that have stepped up for us,” Sigler said. “They’ve filled in several gaps that we have.”

Those victories pushed the Pioneers to a comfortable lead with just three races to go, but James Williams (100 back, 1:11.93), and Jason Lee (100 breast, 1:22.04) won two straight races for the Warriors.

Williams then combined with Tommy McVey, Ethan Medrano and Mark Restrepo to take the boys’ final race, the 400 free relay (4:24.25). Williams also won the 100 fly (1:11.48) earlier in the meet.

“Millbrook is a deep team and a very fast team,” Knight said. “You have to give them a lot of credit for the way they compete. But I was also very proud of the way our guys competed tonight.”

Brenna Sharp, Genesis Utz, Christina Lee, Alexis and Brianna English and Kelsey Dingman made sure that no such late comeback would keep the Warrior girls from rolling over Millbrook.

Sharp, Lee, Brianna English and Dingman took the opening race, the 200 medley relay (2:17.50), and, after subbing Laura Ferguson for English, won both the 200 free relay (2:03.98) and 400 free relay (4:38.25).

“We came into this meet with the goal of working on our relays,” Knight said. “We’re trying to get them qualified for state. So we set up our line up with Lee, Sharp, and Dingman swimming on all three of our relays, and that worked out well for us. That scored a lot of points, and, of course, they then turned around and won their individual races too.”

Utz won two individual races for Sherando, winning the 200 free (2:39.47) and the grueling 400 free (5:43.73). Alexis English won the 50 free (31.45) and Lee the 100 fly (1:20.86) to give the crowd a demonstration of the Warriors’ depth.

Despite the lopsided victory, Dingman wasn’t pleased with her performance.

“I was really tired and I wasn’t expecting much,” Dingman said. “I know we won all of the races I was in, but it was the times that I’m really worried about. They weren’t so good.”