CARY — Three outstanding Triangle girls and one boy combined for seven individual titles in Saturday's N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A swimming and diving state championships. But relays are a big component to winning NCHSAA titles, and that's what was missing as no Triangle team was ever in serious contention for top honors.
On the girls side, Cornelius Hough's girls had a whopping 314 points - well ahead of Panther Creek's runner-up total of 190. Charlotte Providence's boys won their third straight title, edging the Hough boys 265-213.
Neither state champion finished lower than fourth in any relay, and the two combined to win four of the six.
But the Triangle still made its impact known at Cary's Triangle Aquatic Center.
Leesville Road's Hannah Lincoln, a senior committed to North Carolina, made sure of that even in the morning prelims.
In the prelims alone, Lincoln broke a 4A meet record in the 50-yard freestyle and set a new all-classifications state record in the 100-yard butterfly.
She came back in the championship race to break her own 4A record in the 50 with a 23.26 and tie her state butterfly record with a 54.68.
"I was still nervous but really excited at night," Lincoln said. "It's a relief that I did it twice in a row. It wasn't just a lucky swim."
Lincoln, who was named MVP of the girls meet, only swam in the 50 last year and finished eighth.
"I'd never imagined myself in this spot," Lincoln said. "The difference between last year and this year is that I started to have a lot more confidence in myself... This year I was like 'I'm going to make it to states, I'm going to make it to the final.' I never knew I was going to win though."
Green Hope's girls finished fifth with 146 points, as sophomore Hannah Moore did one spot better than she did last year - which means she won two gold medals.
Moore, who was runner-up in the 200-yard IM and 500-yard freestyle a year ago, won each event with a 2:01.56 in the IM and 4:51.20 in the 500.
"This morning (in prelims) I thought I might have taken it out a little too hard, but tonight I was even faster," Moore said. "I was like 'I'm not getting second again.'"
Meanwhile, Panther Creek's Henriette Stenkvist ended her high school career with seven gold medals as she won the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 1:48.48 and the 100 backstroke in 54.73.
However, the Catamounts girls had two relays disqualified in prelims, costing a maximum 80 points and delivering a crippling blow to their chances of winning this year's meet.
In last week's 4A East regionals, the Green Hope boys - last year's 4A runners-up - suffered a similar fate as three relays were disqualified due to a paperwork error. The Green Hope girls had one disqualified for the same reason, and those relays were unable to place in the state meet.
Apex's Mitch DeForest, a North Carolina recruit, was the lone Triangle boys winner as he took the 500-yard freestyle with 4:31.71.
The MVP of the boys race was Southern Pines Pinecrest's Kurt Wohlrab, who broke a state record in the 100-yard breaststroke (55.63) just a few hours after Northwest Guilford's Daniel Le broke the same state record in the morning prelims with a 55.91.
On the boys side, third-place Leesville Road was the top Triangle team with 141 points, while East Chapel Hill was fifth (131), Millbrook sixth (111), Enloe seventh (98), Cary eighth (91) and Apex tenth (78).
Defending 4A champ Apex girls were third with 178 points, Cary was fourth with 150, Leesville Road was seventh with 127 and Athens Drive was eighth with 123.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps