Local swim teams excel at sectional meets, send athletes to districts in 24 different events

Milford sent 13 student-athletes to the district meet.

Milford sent 13 student-athletes to the district meet.
By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

Local swimmers and divers converged on Mason High School’s Competition Pool to set school records and begin their advances upstate this past weekend, resulting in 26 student-athletes advancing to the district meet in 24 events.

Milford, Glen Este and New Richmond will all be represented at the district meet taking place this week at Miami University. District fields are determined by the top-two finishers at each sectional sites, combined with criteria specific to each gender and division to determine the at-large berths in the meet.

In boys’ Division I, the top two qualifiers from each sectional will be accompanied by the next 24 at-large individuals to make a field of 32 in individual events, while relays will consist of 16 at-large qualifiers for a field of 24. In boys’ Division II, the top two individuals from each of the four sites will be combined with the top 16 at-large qualifiers to create a 24-person field in individual events, while the same criteria applies for relay teams.

The girls’ Division I district field is made up of the top two individual qualifiers from three sectional sites combined with the next 26 at-large individuals to create a 32-person field for individual events and the top-two teams along with 18 at-large teams to complete the relay field of 24 teams. In Division II girls’ districts, the two sectional sites’ top-two finishers will be joined by 20 at-large qualifiers to make up a 24-person field for individual events with the same criteria being used to determine relay fields.

Milford led the way in district qualifiers, placing 13 student-athletes in 14 events, led by Cade Williams, Joel Keefer, Mitch Connor, Kelsey Meranda, Carolyn Storch, Haley Kennedy and Marlee McCloud as individual qualifiers in Division I.

Cade Williams will compete in four events at the meet – three relays and the 50-yard freestyle. Williams finished in sixth place in the district in the 50 free with a time 22.22 seconds. He is also competing on the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay.

Joel Keefer will also compete in four events. He qualified individually for the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.44 as well as members of the 200 freestyle relay, the 400 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay.

Mitch Connor will compete in three events – the 100-yard freestyle, in which he finished in 30th place with a time of 51.45 seconds, the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

Alex Hahn will race as a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relays as well as the 200 medley relay team whose fourth member is Riley Hinkley.

On the girls’ side for the Eagles, Kelsey Meranda will compete in four races. She individually qualified for the 50 freestyle, finishing in ninth place with a time of 25.11 seconds, as well as the 100-yard freestyle, finishing in 12th place with a time of 55.06 seconds. She will also race on the school-record-setting 200 medley relay team and the 400 freestyle relay team.

Carolyn Storch qualified individually in the 100-yard backstroke, setting a school record with a time of 1:00.66, which was good enough for 10th place in the district. She was also a member of the record-setting 200 medley relay team and the 400 freestyle relay.

Haley Kennedy, the Eagles’ final individual swimming qualifier, will race in the 100-yard butterfly as well as the 200 medley relay, the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

Grace Villano will compete as a member of the 200 medley relay team and the 200 freestyle relay team.

Chelsea Sick will race as a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Marlee McCloud competed on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in the 1M diving competition, which she qualified for by virtue of her 24th-place finish at sectionals.

For Glen Este in Division I, Joe Randazzo qualified individually for the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley. He was 16th in the 500 with a time of 4:55.91 and 9th in the IM with a time of 2:02.87.

Jenny Howell of Glen Este was the lone Lady Trojan to qualify for the district meet. She will compete in the 100-yard breast stroke by virtue of her 28th-place finish.

In Division II, New Richmond will send 11 student-athletes to compete in seven events.

The boys’ team is led by Tyler David who qualified in four events, two individually and two as a member of a relay team. David finished 11th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.18 and 8th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:04.01.

David will compete alongside Henry Bezold, Cole Bird and Derek Gelter in the 200-yard medley relay in which the team finished in 24th place with a time of 1:59.16.

David, Gelter and Bird will be joined by Nick Flake in the 200-yard freestyle relay on a team that finished in 23rd place with a time of 1:42.53.

The Lady Lions were led by Kara Burns who qualified for districts in the 500 freestyle individually and as a member of the 200 freestyle relay team. Burns also set a school and personal record in the 100-yard breastroke (1:16.05), but did not qualify for districts in that event.

Joining Kara on the qualifying 200 freestyle relay team are Jessica Nazareth, Ashlee Lewis and Megan Woolum. They set a school record with a time of 1:53.85 and finished in 19th place.

On the 400 freestyle relay team, which qualified in 16th place, are Woolum, Nazareth, Paige Anderson and Alicia Bailey

The girls’ 200 medley relay qualified as alternates for the district meet and feature Kara Burns, Claire Burns, Ann Bishop and Woolum.

The boys will compete in their district meet on Friday, Feb. 15 with Division II starting at 10:45 a.m. and Division I starting at 5:45 p.m. The girls will race on Saturday, Feb. 16 in the same time slots.