Haas Hall repeats as 1A-5A state champion
BENTONVILLE — Haas Hall’s sister act was too tough for the rest of the field at Saturday’s Class 1A-5A Arkansas State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Bentonville Community Center.
The tandem of Martina and Luciana Thomas earned four individual titles each and also helped the Lady Mastiffs to a pair of relays wins and an easy victory in the team race.
Haas Hall piled up 348 points to easily outdistance second-place Pulaski Academy (240) and claim its second consecutive girls state title.
Martina won the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke, while her sister Luciana took the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Both combined to help Haas Hall win the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
Haas Hall coach Rebecca Moll said the team title was exciting because all eight individuals contributed in some way.
“We thought we could (win it),” Moll said. “But we talked a lot in some team meetings and stressed how we could accentuate everybody’s strengths.”
The Thomas sisters are hoping to continue the winning tradition with a third straight title next season.
“Our goal was to repeat and it was really good,” Luciana Thomas said. “We had a diver this year. That was cool. It went by really fast, but it was still fun.”
Sisters Corrine and Jade DeSpain also contributed to Haas Hall’s success. Corrine won the 100 breaststroke
and was third the freestyle, while Jade was third in the 200 freestyle. Jade graduates, while Corrine returns for her senior year, too. But the Lady Mastiffs will add another DeSpain sister in freshman Lilly next year.
Freshman Hayley Pike was Haas Hall Bentonville’s lone competitor, but came home with two gold medals. She won 100 and 500 freestyle events. Pike dominated the 500-yard event, winning by more than 27 seconds over the second-place finisher.
It’s the fourth year for a 1A-5A division to be contested, but no state records had been established previously for the smaller classification schools. So winners of each event will be designated as state record holders for the 1A-5A division.
On the boys’ side, Valley View snapped Magnolia’s string of state team titles at three by just two points. The Blazers finished with 213 points, compared to Magnolia with 211. Haas Hall was third
Jack Little led the Blazers, winning at least one event for the third straight year. The junior won the 500 freestyle and was second in the 200 freestyle. He also helped anchor two Valley View relay teams to victory — taking both the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle.
Little won the 500 and 200 freestyle events as a freshman, while winning the 200 freestyle and taking second in the 200 butterfly as a sophomore.
Valley View coach Jo Beth Mathis said she thought her athletes could compete well in their individual events, but taking the team title was a surprise.
“We only had two boys come compete at all last year,” Mathis said. “Jack won his event. Valley View has had swim for a few years and it’s been growing and i don’t have any seniors. Those are all juniors, sophomores and a freshman. I’m so proud of them.”
Luciana Thomas of Haas Hall Academy swims in the girls’ 100-yard butterfly Saturday during the Class 1A-5A Arkansas State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Bentonville Community Center. Thomas won the event with a time of 57.11 seconds.
Martina Thomas of Haas Hall swims in the girls’ 100-yard backstroke Saturday during the Class 1A-5A Arkansas State Swimming and Diving Championships. Thomas won with a time of 58.58 seconds.