Monacan makes re­gion splash

Chiefs’ girls keep ti­tle; Tro­jans win boys crown

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS 2 - BY DAVE LAWRENCE

Last year, Monacan’s girls edged King Ge­orge by just 19 points for their first Re­gion 4B swim­ming cham­pi­onship.

This year, the Chiefs showed the Foxes and ev­ery­one else who was boss.

Monacan was nearly 200 points ahead of King Ge­orge, the near­est com­peti­tor, with 500 points to the Foxes’ 301. The two teams were fol­lowed by Hanover (257) and Mid­loth­ian (248). Court­land rounded out the top five on Satur­day with 214.5 points.

It was the sec­ond straight re­gion ti­tle for the Chiefs girls in Monacan’s sec­ond year of VHSL com­pe­ti­tion. Chiefs coach Mark Van Deren said the keys to their suc­cess are skill and depth.

“We have some very good swim­mers and we’re very, very deep,” Van Deren said. “We have some su­per­stars, but we also have some girls that are just re­ally solid swim­mers grow­ing in the sport.”

Six Monacan swim­mers won in­di­vid­ual events: Jessie Wallin in the 200-yard freestyle, Shan­nah Dill­man in the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley, Kayla Hob­son in the 100 but­ter­fly, Allison Pick­els in the 100 freestyle, Paige Strycker in the 500 freestyle and Kelsey Peel in the 100 back­stroke. Peel and Pick­els com­bined for two more wins as part of the 200 med­ley re­lay team (with Dill­man) and 200 freestyle re­lay team (with Wallin).

Ta­mara Wheater got the only win for King Ge­orge in the 50 freestyle. The other two vic­to­ries went to Mid­loth­ian’s Caro­line Gray (100 breast­stroke) and Hanover’s 400 freestyle re­lay team of Natalie Cul­ley, Caro­line Blaser, Claire Grant and De­laney Childs.

The boys meet was much closer, and the vic­tory went to an­other Chesterfield team, Mid­loth­ian, with Monacan close be­hind. The Tro­jans scored 424 points to the Chiefs’ 390. Hanover and Pa­trick Henry were third and fourth with 331 and 228 points, re­spec­tively. King Ge­orge rounded out the top five with 185.

Nei­ther of the top two boys teams dom­i­nated. While Mid­loth­ian’s top per­form­ers did as hoped, the con­tri­bu­tions of the Tro­jans’ other swim­mers gave them the edge over Monacan.

“It’s ev­ery point counts, and ev­ery­body swam their hard­est tonight,” Mid­loth­ian swim­ming coach Gene Bryson said. “We had peo­ple drop­ping three and four sec­onds off the times they had com­ing in, so it was just a great job by the en­tire team. Of course, we have our No. 1 guys, but we had a great ef­fort by ev­ery­body.”

Samuel McKey was the main win­ner for the Tro­jans, with vic­to­ries in the 50 and 100 freestyles and as part of Mid­loth­ian’s first-place 200 freestyle re­lay team (with Matt Duren, Caleb Smi­etana and Alexi Gentz). Smi­etana also won the 100 breast­stroke.

The per­for­mances of the Chiefs’ sup­port­ing cast had to be huge, for Monacan had more win­ners — in­clud­ing in the re­main­ing two re­lays.

Ryan Polino and Abel Buell had two in­di­vid­ual wins apiece, Polino in the 100 but­ter­fly and 100 back­stroke and Buell in the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley and 500 freestyle.

Polino con­trib­uted two other wins and Buell to one other. Polino was part of the Chiefs’ cham­pion 200 med­ley re­lay team (with Marc Ma­com­son, Tim Hig­gins and Xavier Ray­mond­son). Polino and Buell were part of the win­ning 400 freestyle re­lay team (with Ma­com­son and Lan­don El­lis).

Hanover’s Luke Da­ley was the only Mid­loth­ian and Monacan win­ner, claim­ing the ti­tle in the 200 freestyle.

DAVE LAWRENCE/ME­CHAN­ICSVILLE LO­CAL

Mid­loth­ian’s Caleb Smi­etana won the boys 100-yard breast­stroke in the Re­gion 4B meet at the Col­le­giate School Aquatic Cen­ter.

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