Fly­ing to reg­u­lar sea­son crowns

Ea­gles swim teams sweep Calvert, Great Mills to fin­ish un­de­feated

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TAMMY SHOWAL­TER tshowal­ter@somd­news.com

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.”

PHOTO BY IVETTE MUNOZ

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.

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