North Point girls claim first-ever SMAC swim meet ti­tle

North Point girls swim team claims first-ever SMAC meet ti­tle

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TAMMY SHOWAL­TER tshowal­ter@somd­news.com

North Point head swim coach Jeff Riven­burg turned 38 on Sun­day. One day ear­lier, he got one big birth­day present.

Satur­day, the Ea­gles’ girls pro­gram made his­tory with its first-ever cham­pi­onship at the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence swim cham­pi­onships, held at the Michael P. O’Brien Ath­let­ics and Recre­ation Cen­ter’s aquatic cen­ter in St. Mary’s City.

Just weeks af­ter de­thron­ing Leonard­town for the reg­u­lar sea­son crown, North Point scored 427 points to win the con­fer­ence meet ti­tle, edg­ing the Raiders by 17 while North­ern placed third with 360. Leonard­town took home top hon­ors in boys with 380 points, with North Point in sec­ond with 369.50 and North­ern grab­bing third with 367.

The Ea­gles girls saved the best for last, set­ting a new SMAC record in the 400-yard freestyle re­lay. The team of Car- la Ar­quero, Ker­ri­gan McMillen, Mya Riven­burg and Nathalie LaFon­tant fin­ished the race in 3 min­utes 47.65 sec­onds, break­ing Leonard­town’s 2016 record by nearly a sec­ond.

Leonard­town won the first two laps, but it was Riven­burg who made the dif­fer­ence in the third lap to pull the Ea­gles ahead and beat the Raiders by nearly four sec­onds.

“In the 400, we knew that we were up, but we knew if we wanted to win, we had to swim legally and that we couldn’t make any mis­takes,” Mya Riven­burg said. “Find­ing out that we got the SMAC record was ab­so­lutely crazy. It’s the best feel­ing ever. I think both of our teams did an ex­tra­or­di­nary job to­day. Leonard­town is an ex­tra­or­di­nary team and that will al­ways be great com­pe­ti­tion and have great drive. To know that we gave ev­ery­thing that we had to­day is an amaz­ing feel­ing.”

Jeff Riven­burg said he’s been ask­ing for this gift for a cou­ple years.

“We needed some points go­ing in to give us a buf­fer be­fore the fi­nal re­lay,” he said. “Leonard­town’s 400 free re­lay is dom- inant, so we wanted to make sure we had a lit­tle bit of a point mar­gin. I didn’t ex­pect the girls to set a SMAC record there so that’s pretty cool. We had to get that buf­fer be­cause no­body can beat Hay­ley New­ton head to head. As good as we are, we had to get our lead se­cured. It was pretty im­pres­sive.”

North Point’s 400 free re­lay record was one of seven new SMAC marks set Satur­day.

Leonard­town’s girls 200 med­ley re­lay of Leila McCloskey, Emma Car­rigg, Hay­ley New­ton and Kaylee Sim­cic fin­ished in 1 minute 56.59 sec­onds, break­ing a 2006 record.

New­ton, a ju­nior, also went on to win two more events. She broke her own SMAC record in the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley (2:11.54), edg­ing North­ern ju­nior Kelly Mo­ton by seven one-hun­dredths of a sec­ond.

New­ton also cap­tured the 100 but­ter­fly, touch­ing the wall in 1:00.37, just beat­ing North­ern ju­nior Lau­rel Gal­laudet by three one-hun­dredths of a sec­ond.

“The 200 IM was one of my fa­vorite races of the day,” New­ton said. “It feels good to be pushed by such great ath­letes and hav­ing close races is so much more fun and I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the sports­man­ship of the North­ern girls swim team. It was so re­fresh­ing. I’m proud of all the Leonard­town swim girls. They didn’t give up any­thing and I’m ex­cited for next sea­son.

“I have to give it to North Point. It was ob­vi­ous that those girls worked hard through­out their sea­son and earned their win.”

It was also a good day for the Great Mills girls 200 free re­lay, who broke their own 2016 SMAC record of 1:46.68 with Hay­ley Mesmer, Sa­man­tha Chan, Jes­sica Mesmer and Sa­van­nah O’Dell. O’Dell touched the wall to give the quar­tet a time of 1:45.45.

O’Dell, a ju­nior, won the 200 free in 2:02.19, pre­vail­ing over Riven­burg. The North Point sopho­more won the first and third laps, with O’Dell tak­ing the sec­ond and fi­nal and was all smiles af­ter the tough race.

“I de­cided to gut it out, but slip­ping was not the best way I could have done that,” O’Dell said. “I re­ally wanted to keep it strong and I’ve been work­ing re­ally hard on it, so I wanted to show it off. I’m more of a fin­isher. I like neg­a­tive splits bet­ter, so I was just go­ing for the neg- ative splits, so I was per­fectly fine with that.”

Gal­laudet broke a 2003 SMAC record in the 500 free by over a sec­ond, pac­ing her­self to win in 5:22.43. Sopho­more team­mate Nolan Dennes also set a new SMAC record in the 100 fly in 54.14 sec­onds, break­ing a 2016 time of 54.41.

Mo­ton broke a 2009 SMAC record in the 100 breast­stroke when she won in 1:08.00, break­ing the pre­vi­ous mark by nearly a sec­ond.

“We had best times and many in­cred­i­ble races and re­ally per­formed well as a team,” Mo­ton said via text mes­sage with South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers. “My races all went very well and I knew my 200 IM was go­ing to be a tough race, but we both went best times so it was just fun to race against her [New­ton].”

Hunt­ing­town se­nior Bekah John­son was a dou­ble winner, with wins in the 100 free (55.92) and 100 back­stroke (1:03.14). And North Point’s LaFon­tant, a fresh­man, won

Leonard­town came up with three in­di­vid­ual wins en route to tak­ing the crown over North Point.

Ju­nior Ben Car­rigg won the 100 free (51.81), fresh­man Kyle Rock picked up a clear win in the 500 free (5:03.69) and the 400 free re­lay team fin­ished in 3:29.22.

“I’ve been lucky to see them grow and get to this level. It’s Raiders boys claim SMAC meet ti­tle some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted to do,” Raiders as­sis­tant coach Alex Smith said. Head coach Chuck Ja­cobs wasn’t present due to a sched­ul­ing con­flict. “I’ve never been bored coach­ing. I’m very proud of Alec Ba­con, Ben Car­rigg. Both of them are ju­nior cap­tains who stepped up to the plate and re­ally worked hard to­day and swam some of their best times to­day. Kyle Rock moved up some places and swam amaz- ing. the whole team re­ally. We have a lot of kids who play dif- fer­ent sports who pull to­gether. We had two DQ’s and were still able to pull it off, so I’m proud of them.”

La Plata fresh­man Conor Vi­en­neau was a dou­ble winner, cap­tur­ing the 200 IM (2:03.18) and 100 back (55.24). His brother Liam Vi­en­neau, a se­nior took home first place in the 200 free in 1:51.25. The War­riors also claimed the 200 free re­lay (1:34.65)

North Point ju­nior Tyler Whit­sett won the 100 breast (1:05.64) and the Ea­gles claimed the 200 med­ley re­lay (1:44.76).

Calvert ju­nior Wal­ter Kuha­neck took the ti­tle in the 50 free (23.47).

Kuha­neck said he didn’t swim his best time in the event, but was happy over­all.

“I can’t be too mad about it since it got me first place,” he said. “I usu­ally talk to some of my team­mates and they get me psyched up for it and I get into a zone and I know what I want to do in the race. And since it’s so short, you can’t make too many mis­takes. You just have to get ev­ery­thing per­fect to get the time you’re look­ing for. Con­nor [Glea­son], since he’s a se­nior and his last sea­son, he’s al­ways push­ing me. He’s one of my best friends, so I’m just try­ing to make him proud dur­ing the sea­son.” Twit­ter: @tam­lyn­nusa

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY SHOWAL­TER

The North Point Ea­gles cel­e­brate an early birth­day gift for coach Jeff Riven­burg af­ter the girls win the first-ever SMAC swim cham­pi­onships ti­tle with 427 points, 17 bet­ter than Leonard­town. The boys fin­ished sec­ond with 369.50 points, while Leonard­town cap­tured first with 380.

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