High School Sports

N&O high school girls swimming preview: Ravenscroft brings back top 3

Ravenscroft’s Kaitlin Ramsden talks with a teammate after winning her heat in the girls 50-yard freestyle during the TISAC conference meet in Raleigh in February.
Ravenscroft’s Kaitlin Ramsden talks with a teammate after winning her heat in the girls 50-yard freestyle during the TISAC conference meet in Raleigh in February. newsobserver.com

There is no end in sight for Ravenscroft’s run in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A girls swimming championships.

The Ravens are three-time defending champs and bring back their top three swimmers in junior Madeline High, who won the 100 butterfly (55.86), senior Chloe Mikles, who claimed 50 freestyle (24.11) and 100 freestyle (51.94) titles, and sophomore Mary Pruden, who won the 200 IM. The Ravens also won the 200 and 400 freestyle relays to edge Cary Academy 288-275.

Teams to watch

Apex: Led by Katie Godlewski, a St. Bonaventure recruit, and UMass recruit Ashlyn Butkowski. Senior Hannah Day and junior Madison Deters also return.

Cardinal Gibbons: The reigning 3A runners-up move to 4A this year and will have seniors Haley Allen (second in 200 IM and 100 butterfly) and Emily Dykstra (third in 200 freestyle). Junior Olivia Allen helped Dykstra and Allen win the 200 medley relay. Juniors Adelaide Cairns and Jacqi Rocque add depth.

Carrboro: Mia Morrell, a senior, was fourth in 100 butterfly and second in 200 IM. She’s joined by senior Leah Abrams, junior Emine Arcasoy, junior Isabel Chung, a diver, and sophomore Chloe Turner.

Chapel Hill: The Tigers were third in 3A last year, led by senior Claire DeSelm, who swept titles in the 200 IM (2:04.84) and 100 butterfly (55.39 seconds). Chapel Hill brings back almost everyone from last year’s state meet: sophomore Katherine Acierno, juniors Niki Billman, Uma Knaven and Jaylyn Forrest (fourth in 500 freestyle) and seniors Paige Jones, Sarah Taekman and Natalie Thomas.

East Chapel Hill: The Wildcats were young last year and return junior Annie Huang, sophomore Sophie Perez, senior Corriene Sept, junior Anne Whitsel and sophomore diver Alyssa Wang.

Green Hope: The Falcons, fourth in 4A, return junior Kate Moore, who was third in the 100 backstroke. N.C. State recruit Brooke Rubendall and senior Jenny Nusbaum provide experience, along with sophomore Hannah Kota, junior Samantha Medlin and sophomore Rebecca Ssengonzi.

Leesville Road: The Cap-8 Conference champs are led by Grace Countie, a sophomore who was third in the 4A 50 freestyle, and senior diver Monika Ronk. Sophomore Ashley Brodnick, senior Jacalyn Schoening and junior Alexis Vetrano also return.

Middle Creek: The Mustangs are buoyed by senior Sarah Giamber, third in the 4A 500 freestyle, and junior Julia Poole, the school’s first state champ after she won the 4A 200 IM (2:00.75). Junior Charlotte Watts also qualified for the state meet.

Raleigh Charter: The winners of five straight 1A titles graduated some standouts, but junior Lily Whalen and sophomore Sydney Parsons helped win a relay title last year. Junior Emma Caulfield, sophomores Emma Peck and Kate Schauss and seniors Daniella Welsh, Bridget Williams and Paige Whalen give the Phoenix hope for a sixth title.

Ravenscroft: In addition to Mikles, Pruden and High, the Ravens also return sophomores Grace Bergstrom and Kaitlin Ramsden from their winning relay teams.

Individuals to watch

Elena Adcock, Jr., Cary: Only state qualifier returning for the always-strong Imps.

Ann Carr, Jr., River Mill Academy: Fourth in the NCHSAA 1A/2A 200 freestyle.

Sophia Clayton-Luce, Soph., Millbrook: Regional champ in 50 freestyle.

Stephanie Grandin, Sr., Corinth Holders: Regional champ in 100 breaststroke.

Melissa Hamrick, Sr., Cary Academy: Fourth in the NCISAA 3A 500 freestyle, second in the 100 backstroke.

Kristen Hayden, Jr., Panther Creek: Set new NCHSAA record in the 4A diving championships.

Caroline Knowles, Sr., Heritage: UNC Wilmington recruit.

Abigail Lloyd, Sr., Trinity Durham-Chapel Hill: Swept NCISAA 1A/2A 200 freestyle (1:56.62) and 500 freestyle (5:13.97) titles.

Sophie McNeill, Sr., Riverside: East Carolina recruit.

Misha Neal, Sr., Durham School of the Arts: Fourth in the NCHSAA 1A/2A 100 freestyle.

Ana Pozder, Soph., Holly Springs: Regional champ in 200 freestyle.

J. Mike Blake: 919-460-2606, @JMBpreps