WHEELING - Athletes from five area schools will look to make waves at the West Virginia High School Swimming Championships, which begin this morning at West Virginia University's Natatorium in Morgantown.
Swimmers from Wheeling Park, Wheeling Central, Brooke, John Marshall and Weir will hit the pool for the preliminaries. Girls' events will begin at 8:30, with the boys' starting at 3:30 p.m. Finalists will return at the same times Friday.
All told, 46 local tankers will participate - 26 girls and 20 boys. Wheeling Park has the most at 13.
Members of both the Wheeling Park High School and Wheeling Central High School Swimming Teams are preparing to compete in the West Virginia State Swimming Championship Meet scheduled to take place today and Friday at West Virginia University in Morgantown. Pictured are front row, from left: Wheeling Park students Katlyn Curnes, CeCe Jebbia, Stacey Chaplin, Madie Friday, and Cristin Dolan, and Wheeling Central’s, Jocie Humpe, Shelby Grendel, Megan Cain, and Joee Humpe, second row, from left: Wheeling Park’s, Donte DeFazio, Marisa Custer, Hannah Butts, and Abbey Griffith, and Wheeling Central’s, Emily Gordon, Dotteum Choi, Anthony Lusardi, and Matt Schuetz, and third row, from left: Wheeling Park’s, Josh Garrett, Noah Salvatore, Jordan Carman, and Brandon McLaughlin, and Wheeling Central’s, Luke Drnach, Roger Targosky, Nicholas Leasure, and Shane Stoehr.
''I think the girls' team is deeper this year,'' Patriots coach Pat Durkin said Wednesday night from Morgantown, who expects a strong finish from his 200 medley relay foursome of Madie Friday, Katlyn Curnes, Stacy Chaplin and CeCe Jebbia.
The group is a shining example of how veterans and youngsters have come together to make this another successful season for Park.
Chaplin is a senior, Friday is a freshman and Curnes and Jebbia are both sophomores.
Curnes, Chaplin and Jebbia will participate in four events for the Patriots.
Curnes will swim in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, Jebbia will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle, while Chaplin will swim in the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay with Marisa Custer, Hannah Butts and Cristin Dolan.
Custer will also take part in the 400 freestyle relay with Curnes, Chaplin and Jebbia, as well as the 50 freestyle.
Friday will also swim in the 100 backstroke, while Abbey Griffith qualified for the 500 freestyle.
''It's going to be a battle,'' Durkin said of the team race. ''If we do as well as we can, third place will be a great finish for us.''
The Park boys have five qualifiers - Jordan Carman (200 MR, 100 Fly, 100 Back); Donte Defazio (200 MR, 200 FR, 100 Breast, 400 FR); Brandon McLaughlin (200 MR, 50 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR); Josh Garrett (200 MR, 50 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR); and Noah Salvatore (200 Free, 500 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR).
''I was really happy with the boys,'' Durkin said. ''We had all three relays qualify, and I think our best is probably the medley.
''If we're going to place in the Top 6 that will be the one.''
Eleven Wheeling Central swimmers qualified.
''This is the most I've taken (to state) in my five years (as coach),'' Maroon Knights coach Jeani Humpe said.
It's also the first time Central has had three boys' relays qualify during Humpe's tenure - the 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle.
Nicholas Lasure and Anthony Lusardi will compete in all three. Lusardi will also swim in the 100 breaststroke.
Matt Schuetz will compete in the 200 medley relay and 100 butterfly, while Shane Stoehr will be in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
Doheum Choi will participate in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays, while Roger Targosky will be in the 100 breaststroke and Luke Drnach will swim in the 400 freestyle relay.
On the girls' side, three Maroon Knights will swim in four events. They are: Jocie Humpe (200 Free, 500 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR); Shelby Gredel (50 Free, 100 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR); Joee Humpe (50 Free, 100 Free, 200 FR, 400 FR) and Megan Cain (200 FR, 400 FR).
Brooke's boys arrived in Morgantown as back-to-back Class AAA Region One and three-time defending OVAC champions.
Bruins boys in the pool will be: Alec Salakovich (200 MR, 50 Free, 100 Fly, 200 FR); Josh Harrick (200 MR, 100 Free, 200 FR, 100 Back); Kevin Rowland (200 MR, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 FR); Jordan Harlan (200 MR, 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 FR) and Dante Rosso (200 IM, 500 Free).
''Alec and Josh have really stepped up as leaders,'' Brooke coach Gina Reitter said. ''When you have good leaders you have good followers and to be able to come back and three-peat and repeat says a lot about our program.''
Even with the graduation loss of Kaylea Dulaney, the Brooke girls have turned in another fine season. Set to compete at state are: Sara Riggs (200 MR, 100 Fly, 100 Back, 400 FR); Emma Simon (200 MR); Rachel Richard (200 MR, 50 Free, 400 FR); Hannah Cebula (200 MR, 200 Free, 100 Free, 400 FR); Jessie Wayne (200 Free, 500 Free, 400 FR).
''The girls are less than a second away from the school 400 freestyle relay record and that's been a goal all season,'' Reitter said. ''And I'm really excited to see what Sara is going to do. We have high hopes for her.''
Weir's girls will be led by senior Kelsey Ferguson, who will competing in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. She will also be swimming in the 200 medley relay (Dominique Gilbert, Allyson Martin, Alexis Virtue) and the 400 freestyle relay (Gilbert, Martin, Virtue).
Gilbert will also be competing in the 100 breaststroke, while Martin will be in the 100 freestyle.
John Marshall's girls will be represented by: Kristine Minor (200 MR, 200 FR); Jade Worrels (200 MR, 100 Free, 200 FR, 100 Breast); Jenna Ingram (200 MR, 100 Fly, 200 FR); Alexa Blatt (200 MR, 200 FR); Rachel West (200 IM).
Alex Vannest (200 IM), Tanner Young (100 Fly), Aaron Mull (100 Breast) will compete for the Monarchs boys.