High School Swimming
Newnan leads top-5 efforts at Troup Invitational
If the first two weekends of the high school swim season are any indication, county lineups should be more than able to hold their own in the pool this winter.
Led by Newnan's secondplace finish among a dozen schools, Newnan, Northgate and East Coweta all finished in the top five in team scores at Saturday's Troup County Invitational held at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center in LaGrange.
Newnan finished with 608 points overall behind only Veterans High of Warner Robins, which won the meet with 691.
'Lots of swimmers had best times,' said Newnan coach Courtney Stillwell. 'They've been working hard all year.'
Northgate teams put together victories in eight events while nipping on Newnan's heels while just 14 points behind in third-place overall with 594 points. Justin Moore and Andrew Wheeler were involved in six of the first-place efforts for the Vikings including two individual wins apiece and two relay efforts.
East Coweta was fifth among team scores with 400 points.
Swimming minus four of its swimmers, Newnan was able to challenge Veterans for the overall title led by team-record setting swims from junior Caleb Schenck and senior Courteney Darrow.
In addition to breaking two Newnan swim records, Schenck qualified for the GHSA state championships in the 500-yard freestyle while winning the event in 5:18.16 ahead of teammate Hunter Spradlin.
The Cougars scored 372 points, tops among boys teams.
Schenck also finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2:19.52 among two Cougar scorers.
Schenck and Spradlin also joined senior Drew Mask and junior Harrison Pearson for a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. The relay finished in 1:41.54 while less than a second off a potential state qualifying time.
Pearson was even closer in the 50 freestyle while placing second in 23.89 among three Cougar scorers in the event. Spradlin was fourth in 25.25.
Darrow, meanwhile, gave the Lady Cougars a pair of secondond-place individual finishes including a team-record time of 1:09.43 in the 100 backstroke.
Also finishing second was junior Jacqueline Witt in the 200 freestyle in 2:30.46. Both swimmers joined junior Jessica Monroe and sophomore Shelby Stillwell for top-five finishes in the 200 freestyle (4th) and medley (5th) relays.
Witt and Monroe each added fourth-place efforts respectively in the girls 50 and 500 freestyle while Gabe Griffith took fifth in the boys 200 freestyle.
Newnan also had each of its 'A' 400 freestyle relays place in the top-five. A team of Connor France, Gray Gaude, Griffin and Michael Durant was fourth in boys while Kaitlyn Nichols, Stillwell, Lauren Starnes and Hannah Haynes was fifth among girls.
Also scoring for the Cougars individually were Andrew Cowe, Caleb Perry, Jared McKenzie, Gaude, France and Durant. The Lady Cougars also received points from Lizzi Haynes, Kaylee Wagstaff and Nichols .
Northgate put together 332 points in the second-best effort among girls teams. The Lady Vikings were led by a victory in the 400 freestyle relay where Kelly Henderson, Wendy Cervantes, Rachel Schick and Hayley Holmes finished in 4:33.24.
Holmes, Henderson and Cervantes each added top-five efforts individually.
Holmes was the top local finisher in the 50 freestyle, placing third in 28.72 as well as the 500 freestyle by finishing second in 6:28.37 just ahead of Cervantes (6:30.69), who was third.
Henderson added a thirdplace finish in the 100 freestyle in 1:06.05 for the Lady Vikings and was part of fourth-place 200 medley relay for Northgate's girls with Holmes, Katherine Keller and Sarah Ziegler in 2:19.41.
Returning boys standouts Justin Moore and Andrew Wheeler, meanwhile, combined for six victories including wins in both the 200 medley and freestyle relays.
Moore and Wheeler joined Harrison Griffiths and Sean McCool in the medley victory in 1:52.71. Wheeler then started a state-qualifying effort to win the 200 freestyle that was anchored by Moore. The two, along with Zach Kula and Ben Taylor, to finish in 1:39.27.
Individually, Moore won the 50 freestyle while also qualifying for the GHSA state meet in 22.96, winning the event by nearly a full second. He later added a third qualifying time in the 100 backstroke in an equally dominating effort that included a winning time of 58.79.
Wheeler, meanwhile, added two individual victories of his own, including a state-qualifying time in the 100 freestyle in 50.31. His other individual victory came in the 200 freestyle in 1:52.94.
Also placing in the top-five for Northgate individually was Griffiths with a fifth-place performance in the 100 breaststroke, which was won by East Coweta senior Sam Siprelle.
Also scoring for the Vikings individually were Sean McCool, Griffiths, Kula and Taylor. Lady Vikings scorers also included Julia Yarbrough, Paige Ryan, Anna Wisniewski, Madeline Long, Tegan Pedersen, Rachel Schick and Emerson Griffiths along with Ziegler and Keller.
Siprelle's victory in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.69 led East Coweta's efforts which included significant time drops, some by as many as eight seconds according to to coach Alicia Porras.
The Indians were the third highest scoring boys team with 280 points while getting points from Siprelle, Jesse Murr, Cole Hanus and Josh Buth among top-five effort individually.
In boys relay efforts, the East Coweta teammates placed third in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.68 Murr and Hanus finished third and fourth, respectively in the 200 with times of 2:10.96 and 2:13.50. Hanus dropped eight seconds in the 200 freestyle and six from his 100 freestyle time.
A boys 400 freestyle relay of Buth, Siprelle, Trey Doss and Murr finished second in 4:00.38.
Along with his victory, Siprelle was fifth in the 100 freestyle while Murr placed second in the 100 backstroke to Northgate's Justin Moore.
Buth also added fifth-place finishes in the 200 IM (2:32.44) and the 100 butterfly (1:07.71). Doss dropped his 50 freestyle time by 3.8 seconds while scoring with an 11th-place finish.
Katie Sears and Anna Dean helped lead the Lady Indians while posting top-five individual efforts in addition to a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay with Courtney Dowdell and Catherine Coble.
Sears bettered her top time in the 100 butterfly by a 8.5 seconds while finishing fifth overall in 1:22.01. Dean led East Coweta's girls with a fourthplace effort in the 100 freestyle in 1:09.33.
Dowdell placed sixth in the girls 50 freestyle and Dean took eighth.
Both Kevin Speiler and Mia Clark also turned in best times for East Coweta over the weekend. Also scoring individually were Isaac Epps, Charlie Donnelly,