Cary Academy’s girls were three-time conference champions entering Monday’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A swimming championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, but a state title had eluded the Chargers.
After back-to-back runner-up finishes, CA broke through without the help of an individual gold.
Cary Academy’s first girls swimming title came with 260.5 points, stopping a four-year streak by Ravenscroft, which was runner-up (246.5).
The top finishers for the Chargers were Isabella Barnette (third, 100 free) and Rachel Marston (tied for third, 100 breaststroke). Helen Chen, Emma Zayas, Nisma Said and Barnette were also third in the 400 free relay.
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“That’s been one of the things that we’ve been preaching for years. We don’t have necessarily that top-end, first-place finisher, but we just stack up points in seconds, thirds, fourths and all the way through,” CA coach Kevin Jones said. “That’s made us successful at the conference level and now at the state level.”
Cary Academy’s boys were second, finishing with 328 points to come a little short of Charlotte Latin’s 359.
Cary Academy’s Will Newman, Josh Pullen, Ben Humphries and Ari Kaufman teamed up to win the 200 free relay (1:31.36). Kaufman was also third in 200 free, and the 400 free relay took third.
Saint Mary’s had two champions and finished fourth overall.
Abby Arens won the 200 IM (2:02.98) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.69) while Caroline Crouse took the 200 free (1:52.15).
Arens, a freshman, broke the state record set in 2012 by five-tenths of a second.
“It’s just really exciting to be able to represent a school in swimming, because I’ve never been able to represent a school before,” Arens said. “I was so excited, it’s really exciting to be able to (set a state record).”
Crouse, like many swimmers, got into town on Thursday for a big regional invitational and was on her fifth straight day of competitive swimming.
“I was really tired in the last 100 (yards) but I did what I wanted to do, which was drop some time,” Crouse said.
Ravenscroft’s team of Kaitlin Ramsden, Mary Pruden, Madeline High and Grace Bergstrom won the 200 girls medley relay (1:49.28). Bergstrom, her sister Nora Bergstrom, High and Pruden won the 400 free relay with a new state record (3:32.29) that broke a 13-year mark set by Cardinal Gibbons in 2004.
“Honestly, we were focused on breaking a school record that has been around a very long time. They got it, we were super excited, and then we realized ‘Hey, they broke a state record,’” Ravenscroft coach Greg Warren said. “It was an amazing performance by all four girls.”
Pruden was also second in both he 200 IM and 500 free. Nora Bergstrom was third in the 500 free. High was second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 100 backstroke.
Ravenscroft’s Dylan Boyd claimed two titles – the 200 free (1:40.83) and the 500 free (4:34.61). His time in the 200 broke the 15-year 3A meet record held by former Raven Matt McGinnis, set in 2002. McGinnis still owns the overall state record by almost two seconds in a non-championship event in 2004.
Boyd, a senior, is in his first season at Ravenscroft. An Australian who has been stateside since 2012, he moved to North Carolina from Illinois, where the Wisconsin recruit also won one state title.
“I wanted to come here and score as many points as possible for Ravenscroft. Really, just try to win, break records and I thought it’s been a great day,” Boyd said. “It’s just great awesome to be here with the team in that kind of atmosphere.”
North Raleigh Christian Academy sophomore Jonah Holt won the 200 IM (1:59.94) and was third in the 100 backstroke.
“It was a little rough in the IM but I came out on top,” Holt said. “I’ve been up here since Thursday so it’s been a long week, just grinding through it. It’s all mental.”
Ravenscroft was also third in the 200 free relay as the Ravens finished fourth in the team standings. NRCA was ninth.