Chapel Hill: Sports

Chapel Hill and East win regional championships

Left to right: Diving coach Candacie Schrader, Daniel Margolis, Richard Cato, Tommy Billman, and Isabel Chung.
Left to right: Diving coach Candacie Schrader, Daniel Margolis, Richard Cato, Tommy Billman, and Isabel Chung. Courtesy of Joanna Barnes

Fresh from excellent showings in regional meets, swimmers from Carrboro, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill will be heading to the N.C. High School Athletics Association state championships this weekend in Cary.

All three championships in the Triangle Aquatic Center begin with preliminary heats at 8:30 a.m. and continue with finals at 4:45 p.m. – the 3A meet on Feb. 12, the 1A/2A on Feb. 13 and the 4A on Feb. 14

The state’s diving championships, scheduled for Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh, will precede each classification’s swimming by one day – 3A diving on Wednesday, Feb. 11, the 1A/2A on Feb. 12 and the 4A on Feb. 13.

Jake Pudik won four titles to lead Chapel Hill’s boys to another NCHSAA swimming 3A regional championship last Saturday, while Morgan Smith’s victory in the 200 individual medley highlighted East Chapel Hill’s win the girls’ 4A regionals.

Taking first in the 100 butterfly (in 53.68 seconds), Patrick O’Donnell helped Chapel Hill win the 3A East boys regional by more than 100 points over Cardinal Gibbons.

Pudik won individual titles in the 50 free (22.26) and the 100 free (48.48), and he led off two winning relays — the 200 free (with Chris Eron, David Batson and Emery Harwell) and the 400 free relay (with Eron, Ang Li and O’Donnell).

Other 3A boys winners included Northwood junior Joshua Congar in the 200 free (1:46.68).

Claire DeSelm led Chapel Hill girls to second place behind Cardinal Gibbons in the 3A meet with her three individual wins — in the 200 IM (2:07.67) and 100 butterfly (57.06), and she was a member of the winning 200 medley relay (1:52.52) with Sarah Taekman, Uma Knaven and Paige Jones.

Chapel Hill sophomore Uma Knaven won the girls 500 free in 5:09.69.

“We will take a strong team to states on Thursday,” Chapel Hill head coach Steve Riegler said. “The men had a great meet, winning by over 100 points.”

East Chapel Hill will be sending 18 of its 28 swimmers and divers (11 girls and seven boys) to this weekend’s state 4A championships.

“We had a great showing with much more than just scoring at regionals,” coach Lyn Smith said, noting her Wildcats swam to personal bests in 44 of 52 entries.

Both Chapel Hill’s and East’s winning teams led from start to finish, thanks to sweeps Friday in the regionals’ 1-meter diving competitions.

In the 4A Central meet at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, East ninth-grader Alyssa Wang won the girls’ diving title and junior James Brady won the boys’ event.

At Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh, Chapel Hill’s boys took an early lead in the championships when seniors Daniel Margolis and Thomas Billman finished 1-2 respectively in 3A diving.

Carrboro’s Isabel Chung took first place in 1A/2A girls’ diving, while Carrboro’s Richard Cato took first for the boys.

East Chapel Hill swept the 4A diving, with Alyssa Wang placing first and Maya Sokoletsky eighth in the girls’ competition, and East’s James Brady won the boys’ event.

“It was a great day for all Chapel Hill-Carrboro divers,” said Candacie Schrader, who coaches divers from all three schools.

Carrboro places in top-five — twice

Paced by two individual wins each by Will MacMillan and Thomas Bilden, Carrboro High enjoyed two top-five finishes in the NCHSAA 2A Eastern Regional during Saturday morning’s session in Cary.

N.C. School of Science & Math won the 1A/2A boys championship without a single first-place finish in any event.

Carrboro’s boys won six individual events and two relays, but NCSSM racked up enough points in places 2-16 to end up with 344 points to Carrboro’s 334. Durham School of the Arts, with 149 points, was sixth and Voyager (65) was 11th.

The Unicorns trailed Carrboro early in the meet but caught the Jaguars by event 10 and moved ahead after Jared Noble, Cole Kirkpatrick and Jake Richter finished second, third and fifth respectively in 1-meter diving behind Carrboro’s Richard Cato.

Macmillan won the 200 free, 100 free, and he was the first Jaguar in the pool and the last one out. He led off the winning 200 medley relay, followed by Simon Deshusses (breaststroke), Thomas Bilden (butterfly) and Connor Murphy (freestyle); Macmillan also anchored the winning 400 free relay that included Deshusses, Justin Laatz and Bilden.

Bilden won the 100 butterfly and the 500 free style. His brother, Ted Bilden, was on the Carrboro 200 free relay — along with Caleb Bollenbacher, Jack Dozier and Murphy — which finished sixth to qualify for the state meet.