Flying to regular season crowns
Eagles swim teams sweep Calvert, Great Mills to finish undefeated
One huge obstacle has stood in the way of the North Point swim teams over the years: the Leonardtown Raiders.
The Eagles defeated Leonardtown on Jan. 13, with the girls team breaking the Raiders’ 153meet win streak, but they weren’t done yet.
Wednesday night in a tri-meet with Calvert and Great Mills at the St. Charles High School pool, North Point ended Leonardtown’s streak of Southern Maryland Athletic Conference regular season titles by sweeping the event and ending with identical 13-0 records.
It’s the first SMAC reg- ular season crown for the boys since the 2012-13 campaign, while it’s the first such honor in the program’s history for the girls.
The boys defeated Great Mills 158-115 and Calvert 154-119, with the Cavaliers (8-5) capturing a 142-131 over the Hornets (7-6). The girls defeated Great Mills 151-122 and Calvert 186-87, with the Hornets (10-3) knocking off the Cavaliers (7-6), 180-93.
North Point head coach Jeff Rivenburg was able to move a few swimmers around and wasn’t afraid to put them in brand-new events so late in the season. The next event for all three teams is the conference championships on Feb. 11 at St. Mary’s College of Mar yland.
"It's a great feeling," Rivenburg said in regards to finishing the regular season undefeated. “Our guys have done it twice, back in 2011 and then in 2013. The boys have always been up there and it’s nice now to have gone over the hurdle at the end. It’s a good feel- ing, but these kids have earned it. I’m blessed to coach and I’m blessed with really good swim- mers. They’re really hard workers. We ask them to do something and they do it. You can’t ask for more than that. We were trying some different things tonight to try and get ready for SMAC [championships] and even in chang- ing some things up, they really performed well.”
Senior Carla Arquero swam the 100-yard back- stroke and took home second place in 1 minute 8.39 seconds, with team- mate Kerrigan McMil- len winning in 1:06.17. Arquero swam the first leg of the winning 200 freestyle relay, teaming up with Carsen Essing, Mya Rivenburg and Nathalie LaFontant to take the event in 1:47.39. Arquero was the third leg of the winning 400 free relay with Teagan Rohrbaugh, McMillen and Rivenburg, which won in 4:02.35.
“I did add in my back- stroke, but I was coming from the 200 freestyle relay so I feel like that was something I had never done before and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do, so I’m thankful that coach put me on there for the first time and last time,” Arquero said. “I was a little [nervous] because our last meet was against Leonardtown and that was a great win for ourselves and we were really proud of ourselves for that, and so we want- ed to make sure we could keep our streak up and go undefeated because that’s just something we’ve never done before and I’m really proud of our team.
“I think this year, we have more depth to our team and a lot more support on our team. Now as a senior, I’ve seen our team grow and it’s come a long way. We’re able to get those important sec- ond and third places that we need.”
The Eagles had three double winners. Mc- Millen paced herself in the 500 free, winning in 5:39.25, to go along with her 100 back win. Rivenburg won the 200 free (2:07.60) and 100 free (57.98 seconds). LaFontant took home wins in the 200 individual medley (2:25.05) and 100 breast- stroke (1:14.77).
Great Mills junior Sa- vannah O’Dell captured two victories, the 50 free (26.59) and 100 butter- fly (1:04.63). O’Dell also teamed up with senior Hayley Mesmer in the second-place 200 medley relay as well as Mesmer’s sister Jessica in the 200 free relay. Jessica Mesmer also swam the final leg of the second-place 400 free relay.
“I’m just going to focus on practice and get my times back down,” Hayley Mesmer said. “It’s always fun just to see the work you’ve put in through the season after you rest and see how you go down.”
The boys represented the Eagles this season with 17 swimmers, a smaller Class 4A team size and Rivenburg said he was happy with how his team stepped up, bat- tling through injury and low numbers.
“The guys stepped up, too,” Jeff Rivenburg said, “with smaller numbers, even against Northern and then against Leonardtown, every point counts.”
North Point junior Dar- iusz Mckenzie swam the first leg of the winning 200 medley relay, teaming up with Tyler Whitsett, Emmanuel Agravante and Kevin Rohrbaugh to win in 1:49.47.
Mckenzie went up against Whitsett in the 100 breast, a new event for him. He finished second in 1:09.69, 62 one-hundredths of a second behind Whitsett. Great Mills junior Jake Wild was third in 1:11.83.
“Tonight I would say, personally, I swam my best for the events that I was given,” Mckenzie said. “They weren’t my usual events tonight, but I felt like I did the best that I could. I ended up finishing close to the SMAC time from last year, from what I’ve been told. To me, being at the same pool where it all happened [against Leonardtown] it was really reminiscent and I felt like we were going to get another win.”
Whitsett and Rohr- baugh joined Tyler Per- rie and Lawrence Sapp in the winning 200 free relay (1:37.28). Sapp also doubled, winning the 50 free (22.87) and 100 back (58.22).
“It was one of my better meets, but the team as a whole really stepped up, just as they have all sea- son.” Rohrbaugh said.
Great Mills sophomore Liam Poole was a double winner, taking the 200 free (2:05.71) and 500 free (5:47.08).
“Liam, who wasn’t feel- ing great, had some really nice swims tonight,” Hornets head coach Troy Kroll said, “and Jessica [Mesmer] swam her fast- est time in the 200 free [2:14.35] and close to her personal best in the 100 [free]. I’m really proud of our seniors. They are the ones that really put this team on the map and this is the pool where Eric Askins holds the 500 free record, so it was a great night. I’m really looking forward to SMAC, regionals and states.”
Calvert freshman Ben Voelker won the 200 IM (2:14.52) and teammate Walter Kuhaneck won the 100 free (52.76).
“I thought that the meet went very well,” Cavaliers head coach Brian Dryer said. “Great Mills and North Point are good teams that are well coached, so it’s a wonderful experience to step up and swim close races with them.
“We had 18 personal best times. The kids have put in a lot of hard work this whole season and to have our last regular season meet show what they are capable of will really put us in a good frame of mind as we prepare for championships. Our boys team has set seven school records this season. The kids have really set out to do some great things as a team this year and I’m excited to see how things will end up as we swim at SMAC, regionals and hopefully states.”
Calvert senior Amara Soffos competes against North Point senior Carla Arquero in the 100-yard backstroke during Wednesday’s tri-meet at St. Charles High School. Soffos finished fourth overall, first for Calvert, in 1 minute 12.97 seconds, while Arquero took second in 1:08.39. North Point sophomore Kerrigan McMillen won the event in 1:06.17.