Green Hope came up just short in its quest for a third straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A swimming and diving championships at Cary’s Triangle Aquatic Center on Saturday.
The Falcons entered the final event down by eight points to South Mecklenburg. A win, plus a third-place finish by South Meck, would give Green Hope a co-title.
Instead, Green Hope finished second in the 400 freestyle relay while the Sabres were fifth.
Final score: South Meck 232, Green Hope 230.
“I’d like to say I’m not disappointed, but it’s kind of hard not to say I’m not disappointed,” Falcons senior Alex Carson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this team. We came in, all swam our best. This was a team second place. Every single person came in and stepped up as much as they possibly could.”
“It is disappointing to come in runnersup, especially when it’s by six one-hundreths of a second (the time separating South Meck from sixth, which would have given the teams a co-title), but that’s swimming.”
Charlotte Catholic’s girls kept their title streak alive at 14, second straight at the 4A level, with 298 points. Cornelius’ Hough High was second with 254. The top Triangle team was Green Hope in fourth (160 points). Panther Creek was seventh followed by Middle Creek in eighth and Leesville Road, which tied for ninth.
The Cary boys were fourth while Athens Drive was ninth.
Falcons 2nd, Cary’s Ress takes MVP: Green Hope’s Carson won the 100 freestyle (45.54) with East Chapel Hill’s Michael Wohl in second. Carson was also fourth in the 50 freestyle and anchored the 200 freestyle relay team of Chris Daniels, Henry Hollinshead and Seth Maslowski to a win (1:25.02).
“There’s nothing more you can ask for as a senior,” Carson said. “The key to the (individual) win was everyone getting behind me. ... It takes a team to win even an individual race, and that’s the beauty of Green Hope.”
Cary’s Justin Ress won the 200 IM (1:49.36) with teammate Tosh Kawaguchi in third, then repeated his 500 freestyle (4.29.08) title for his second gold medal on the day, third in his career.
He was also on the 200 medley relay that finished fourth and the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:07.22) with Kawaguchi, Will Atkinson and Garrett Troxler en route to MVP honors.
“It’s a good way to end the high school experience. That relay at the end was fun,” said Ress, who didn’t qualify for states until his junior year. “It’s been a great ride for me ... When I came into high school I was scrawny and little, but you’ve just got to focus on working hard every day because the growing will come. That came for me last year and that’s really boosted my swimming.”
Athens Drive’s Tyler Silver won the 100 backstroke (50.27). He went from third to first in the last 10 yards.
“I’ve got to give credit to everybody in that heat because it was a fast heat,” said Silver, whose dad Paul is an area club coach. “It means a lot to me, but for him it just means that he gets to be happy watching his son up there on the podium. For high school meets, I don’t really consider him my coach, I just consider him my dad, and it makes everything more fun.”
Panther Creek junior Connor Callahan repeated his 4A diving championship Friday as the Triangle took the top seven places. Durham Riverside’s Aaron Daniels-Freeman was second with Middle Creek’s Quinlan DeVal, Holly Springs’ Andrew Capobianco and Green Hope’s Connor Slater following close behind.
Wohl was also third in the 200 freestyle.
“I’m definitely happy with medaling. I didn’t do it last year,” Wohl said. “My high school swimming is coming to a close and I could not be more happy with how it ended. ... I was really happy with how I did in prelims. Sometimes it’s hard to get going in the morning, to really get yourself in a good spot to go fast at night. At a meet where the room for error is so small, you really have to show up in the morning and go fast. If I had gone as fast as I did at regionals I wouldn’t have made it to any finals.”
Apex’s Brayden Lauffer was fifth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breaststroke. Broughton’s Colter Carman was third in the 500 freestyle while Panther Creek’s Jamison Hauser was fifth. Kawaguchi was fourth in the 100 backstroke with Leesville Road’s William Countie fifth.
Enloe’s Tom Gordon was second in the 200 freestyle.
“It feels fantastic. Last year I finished seventh and 12th, so finishing second is just incredible. My goal at the beginning of the year was to finish top three so I did that,” Gordon said. “I saw (Trey Poff) over there and he had a really good last 50.”
Other winners were: Hough’s Trey Poff in the 200 freestyle (1:39.65), Ragsdale’s Henry McGugan in the 50 freestyle (21.00), Myers Park’s Jackson Smith in the 100 butterfly (49.63) and Reagan’s Paul Neil in the 100 breaststroke (57.36). Reagan High’s 200 medley relay team broke the NCHSAA state record (1:33.51).
Poole, Hayden only area girls’ champs: Middle Creek sophomore Julia Poole became the first Mustangs swimmer to win a state championship by claiming the 200 IM (2:00.75) and just missing the state record of 2:00.58 by Athens Drive’s Kirsten Smith.
“I knew coming in it would be tough. The girls that were in my heats are good. I knew I had to go fast to achieve what I wanted to achieve,” said Poole, who was also second in the 100 breaststroke.
Panther Creek’s Kristen Hayden won the diving title Friday while setting a new state record in prelims (507.55).
East Chapel Hill’s Alyssa Wang was third and Leesville Road’s Monika Ronk was fifth.
Leesville Road’s Grace Countie was third in the 50 freestyle with Millbrook’s Sophia Clayton-Luce fifth. Panther Creek’s Haley Bishop tied for third in the 100 butterfly and Holly Springs’ Kelsey Lawton was fourth in the 100 freestyle.
Middle Creek’s Sarah Giamber was third in the 500 freestyle and Holly Springs’ Ana Pozder was fifth. Green Hope’s Kate Moore was third in the 100 backstroke.
Other winners were: Charlotte Catholic’s 200 medley relay team (1:43.70), 200 freestyle relay (1:33.68) and Nora McCullagh in the 50 freestyle (22.93) and 100 backstroke (54.19), T.C. Roberson’s Mary-O Soule (55.73) in the 100 butterfly, Hough’s 400 freestyle relay (3:25.51) and Emily Allen in the 100 freestyle (49.85) and Charlotte Catholic’s Rebecca Postoll in the 500 freestyle (1:47.02). Hough’s Erika Brown set a new NCHSAA record in the 200 freestyle (1:46.49) while Roberson’s Alyssa Arwood broke Cary graduate Torrey Bussey’s record in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.10).
McCullagh won girls’ MVP honors.