Monacan makes region splash
Chiefs’ girls keep title; Trojans win boys crown
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.
Midlothian’s Caleb Smietana won the boys 100-yard breaststroke in the Region 4B meet at the Collegiate School Aquatic Center.