Pa­triot, Madi­son claim re­gion cham­pi­onships

The Washington Post Sunday - - HOCKEY - BY KELYN SOONG kelyn.soong@wash­

The ex­pec­ta­tions were un­der­stand­ably high for the Pa­triot boys’ swim team. Af­ter two years as con­tenders who came up just short of the re­gion ti­tle, the Pi­o­neers en­tered Satur­day night’s Vir­ginia 6A North re­gion swim­ming and div­ing cham­pi­onships as the heavy favorites.

This was their year to shine, and with tal­ented se­niors Spencer Rowe, Will Cum­ber­land, Cole Cooper and AJ Ross lead­ing the charge, Pa­triot led through­out the meet at Oak Marr RECen­ter in Oak­ton to win its first re­gion team ti­tle. The Pi­o­neers piled up 247 points to dis­tance them­selves from sec­ond-place Oak­ton (209). Madi­son fin­ished third (203).

“We’ve been build­ing up to this,” said Rowe, a four-year team mem­ber who will swim at Auburn. “It’s been a while in the mak­ing.”

Within a few min­utes of the start of the meet, the tal­ented four­some of Rowe, Cum­ber­land, Cooper and Ross — all Di­vi­sion I re­cruits — had bro­ken their own boys’ 200-yard med­ley re­lay state record in 1:31.78. By the time Ross dove into the pool for the fi­nal leg, his team­mates had given him an in­sur­mount­able lead.

It was no longer a mat­ter of whether Pa­triot would win but by how much.

“We have an eye on the na­tional record,” Rowe said. “We’re still get­ting bet­ter.”

The girls’ com­pe­ti­tion also pro­duced a first-time re­gion win­ner. Madi­son used its depth on the div­ing board and strength in its re­lays to pro­pel it­self atop the podium with 229 points. Chan­tilly took sec­ond (205), and Robin­son claimed third (167).

Madi­son fin­ished sec­ond in the girls’ 200 free, 400 free and 200med­ley re­lays, and the Warhawks likely aren’t slow­ing down any­time soon. The team will not grad­u­ate any of the swim­mers who scored points Satur­day.

“The fu­ture is re­ally bright,” Madi­son Coach An­drew Foos said. “We’ll be a con­tender for at least two years.”

Sev­eral meet records fell dur­ing the night, in­clud­ing in the boys’ 100 but­ter­fly, which saw Stonewall Jack­son se­nior Sam Po­ma­je­vich lead wire to wire in 48.26.

Po­ma­je­vich’s vic­tory was fu­eled in part by his nar­row loss in the 200 free to West Spring­field se­nior Lane Stone, who won the event in 1:37.81 to Po­ma­je­vich’s 1:38.46. Stone also won the 500 freestyle in 4:24.31, just miss­ing his meet record from last year.

“To be hon­est, I was kind of mad af­ter the 200 free,” said Po­ma­je­vich, a Texas re­cruit. “So my race plan [in the 100 but­ter­fly] was to go out hard in the first 50 and fin­ish strong. My goal was to def­i­nitely break the record, and I want to go un­der 48 [sec­onds] at states.”

The Chan­tilly girls picked up sev­eral vic­to­ries, in­clud­ing a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance in the 200-med­ley re­lay. Sopho­more Elise Moze­leski, se­nior Jac­quee Clabeaux, se­nior Lea Gwen­nap and sopho­more Lau­ren Young teamed up to break the meet record by nearly two sec­onds in 1:43.37.

In the girls’ 200 free, McLean ju­nior Sinead Ek­steen smashed the meet record with a 1:46.91, and Oak­ton se­nior Tommy Hal­lock swam a meet record 44.58 in the boys’ 100 free. Hal­lock also claimed the 50 free ti­tle (20.63).

Ear­lier in the week, Madi­son se­nior Greg Dun­can won the boys’ one-me­ter div­ing ti­tle with 550.9 points, while Mount Ver­non ju­nior Hai­ley Fisher (440.40) re­peated as the girls’ cham­pion.

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