Haas Hall re­peats as 1A-5A state cham­pion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SWIMMING / BASKETBALL - PAUL BOYD

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

with 188.

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.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

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.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

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.

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