Chapel Hill: Sports

High school swimmers pick up right where they left off

Carrboro swimmers at last weekend’s meet in Winston-Salem included, left to right: Max Smith, Cici Sullenger, Palma Baca, Pete Hand, Kevin O’Donnell, Casey Mook, Harrison Pletzke, Levi Hencke, Olivia Wiegle, Izzy Benson and Savannah Dolan.
Carrboro swimmers at last weekend’s meet in Winston-Salem included, left to right: Max Smith, Cici Sullenger, Palma Baca, Pete Hand, Kevin O’Donnell, Casey Mook, Harrison Pletzke, Levi Hencke, Olivia Wiegle, Izzy Benson and Savannah Dolan. Courtesy of Julie Neal

Their conferences may have been reconfigured some last summer, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to the aquatics programs at Carrboro, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill. Like most years, their sights appear to be set on bigger things, like more state championships.

All three performed well in meets last week.

Both 3A Chapel Hill and 2A Carrboro are coming off boys championships in last year’s N.C. High School meets. For Chapel Hill, last year’s team title was their second straight. Both schools enjoyed top-10 finishes in last year’s girls championships, while East Chapel Hill took 11th in the girls’ meet and 13th in the boys’ – lower than normal for a program with multiple state championships.

East faces the toughest upstream swim this year. The Wildcats graduated 24 seniors off last year’s PAC-6 Conference champions and start this season with just eight. Meanwhile, state powerhouse Cardinal Gibbons has left the 3A and joined the Wildcats in the 4A PAC-6 Conference.

“The addition of Cardinal Gibbons means there might be a little bit of a shift at the top of our conference,” Northern Durham coach Stephen Buczynski observed last Wednesday. “East Chapel Hill is going to feel it the most – East Chapel Hill and Jordan.”

East still had little trouble out-pointing Riverside and Northern in their tri-meet Wednesday at Homestead Aquatic Center. Scoring the meet as duals, East Chapel Hill’s boys defeated Riverside 120-49 and Northern by a 133-35 score. East’s girls won 126-43 against Riverside and 128-39 against Northern.

Daniel Wohl (200 Free, 100 Free); James Gildard (50 Free); sophomore Christopher Chao (100 Butterfly, 100 Backstroke) and Connor Sept (100 Breaststroke) led East’s boys.

The only other individual winners were Riverside’s Josh Rigsbee (200 IM) and Northern’s Thomas Pritchard (500 Free).

East swept the girls’ individual events, led by sophomore Sophie Perez as a double-winner (200 Free, 100 Backstroke); while classmates Olivia Kayye (100 Breaststroke) and Katie Marson (500 Free) earned first places, as did teammates Alison Lai (50 Free); Corri Sept (200 IM); Ashley Slocum (100 Butterfly) and Annie Huang (100 Free).

East also swept the relays.

For the girls: Lai, Huang, Sept and Marson won the 200 Medley; Lai, Sept, Slocum and Perez took the 200 Free Relay; and Jennifer Xu, Marson, Huang and Perez won the 400 Free.

For the boys: Chao, Sept, Niko Perez and Wohl won the Medley; David Dingfelder, Max Morgan, Emile Charles and Sept were first in the 200 Free Relay; and Chao, Max Morgan, Charles and Wohl took the 400 Free.

“Before this meet, I told our team than all these others teams have about the same numbers as we do,” East coach Lyn Smith said. “So I asked ‘How are you going to step up and show them that you are the best in the conference? I need you to not to miss a race, not to DQ; I need to see what you can do today.’ And they all stepped up in a big way.

CHHS cruises past Orange, N. Vance

Chapel Hill won most of their events Wednesday. The CHHS girls won with 125 points to the 45 for Orange and Northern Vance’s 34. The CHHS boys won with 114 points, followed by Orange with 55 and Northern Vance with 39.

Individual winners for Chapel Hill’s girls included: Natalie Thomas (100 Butterfly, 500 Free); 14-year-old Marissa Tocci (100 Free, 100 Backstroke); 15-year-old Katherine Acierno (200 Freestyle); 14-year-old Katrina Nunez (200 Individual Medley) and Niki Billman (100 Breaststroke).

Chapel Hill winners in boys events included: double-winner Seth Samuelson (200 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly); 15-year-old Adam Batson (200 IM); Takoda Ren (100 Free); and Nick Pan (100 Breaststroke).

Winners for Orange’s boys included Gabe Walker (500 Free, 100 Back) and Reilly Geise (50 Free). Stephanie Nolte of Orange won the girls 50 Free.

Chapel Hill swept the relays. Its 200 Medley Relay “A” team of Thomas, Sarah Taekman, Tocci and Acierno won with a time of 1:59.43, more than 5 seconds in front of their even younger “B” relay teammates Victoria Hoffman, Billman, Nunez and Emily Trusky. The Tigers also won the 200 Free Relay with Rose Shain, Acierno, Emily Trusky and Taekman and the 400 Free Relay with Tocci, Thomas Nunez and Taekman.

Chapel Hill won the boys’ opening 200 Medley Relay with Adam Batson, Nick Pan, Samuelson and Ren. The 200 Free Relay of Pan, Deil Cho, Spencer Ferris and Ethan Champagne finished in 1:41.12 and won a close race with Orange’s Connor Towell, Sam Rasinske, Collin Montague and Geise (1:41.37). Adam Batson, Smauelson, Alexander knight and Ren won the 400 Free Relay by more than 6 seconds over Orange.

Carrboro ahead of its times

Though Carrboro’s Paloma Baca won both the 200 Free and 200 IM at last weekend’s WSSU Freshman-Sophomore Invitational at Winston-Salem State – winning the high point award in the process – the Jaguars came away with more than just points. Several Jaguars also recorded automatic qualifying times for the NCHSAA regionals.

They included: Baca (200 Free, 200 IM); Cici Sullenger (200 Free, 100 Back); and Olivia Weigle (100 Fly, 200 IM).

Seven others got regional consideration times: Harrison Pletzke (200 Free, 100 Free); Savannah Dolan (100 Fly, 200 IM); Max Smith (100 Fly); Levi Hencke (100 Free); Kevin O'Donnell (100 Free, 100 Breast); Riley Ervin (100 Back) and Casey Mook (100 Back).