WHEELING - Melanie Eaton's week was both tiring and rewarding.
As head swimming coach at St. Clairsville, Eaton first had to tend to what seemed like around-the-clock preparations for Saturday's St. Clairsville Invitational. Then, there was coaching her swimmers, who entered the 15th annual event at Wheeling Jesuit University with high hopes.
The meet, which featured nearly 180 competitors from 14 schools (10 OVAC), again went off without a hitch. And, again, the Red Devils walked away with some major hardware.
Photo by Rick Thorp
Martins Ferry’s Tara Fogle was part of her team’s 400 Freestyle Relay victory during Saturday’s St. Clairsville Invitational at Wheeling Jesuit’s Alma Grace McDonaugh Center.
St. Clairsville captured the boys' championship and finished second on the girls' side inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center.
Barnesville took home the girls' championship.
''I was very happy,'' Eaton said. ''My boys are all doing very well. They're swimming their best times and all improving.''
The Red Devils finished with 215 points, while Cambridge was second with 182. Steubenville Catholic (164), Rosecrans (154) and Wheeling Central rounded out the top 5.
The Shamrocks' girls scored 205 points, six better than the Red Devils. Martins Ferry was third with 179, followed by Steubenville Catholic with 175 and Cambridge with 170.
''It's a good win for us because we haven't been in the water to even practice for about three weeks,'' Barnesville coach Bobbi Jo Johnson said. ''They came in and did what they needed to do and I'm just thrilled.''
Michael Eaton earned four first-place ribbons to pace St. Clairsville's boys - two as an individual and two on relays. The senior won the 50 Free (22.69) and 100 Breast (59.18).
In the 200 Medley Relay, Eaton, the second leg, teammed with Quentin Clark, DJ Beck and Dylan Krone to win in 1:51.89. Krone, Christopher Blackwell, Clark and Eaton won the 200 Freestyle Relay in 1:39.19.
Clark, a junior, was a winner in the 200 Freestyle in 2:06.89, while Beck emerged victorious in the 500 Freestyle in 5:49.76.
''You can't win a meet with just one person,'' Melanie Eaton noted. ''They're all doing a good job and contributing
Martins Ferry's Brandon Bliss, a sophomore, captured the 200 IM in 2:20.12.
Rosecrans' Daniel Clifford was a triple winner. The junior won the 100 Butterfly (55.46) and 100 Backstroke (58.09). Later, he teammed with Gabe Skrobot, Zac Anderson and Brendon Schaumleffel to win the 400 Freestyle Relay in 3:59.76.
Cambridge's Garth Charlton won the 100 Freestyle (55.66).
Barnesville's girls boasted no individual champions, but their depth, especially in a few relay events, was crucial. All told, the Shamrocks collected two runner-up finishes, three thirds and a fourth to go along with a plethora of others in the top 8.
''All of my girls performed beyond my expectations,'' Johnson said. ''We had a lot of girls participate and I can't pick one out that didn't go beyond what their capable of.
''I just thought that, overall, we did really well.''
Freshman Kasi Castello was second in the 50 Freestyle (28.18) and as part of the 200 Freestyle Relay foursome (1:56.94) with Carolyn Blattler, Olivia Jones and Myka Gordon. The same group was third in the 400 Freestyle Relay (4:23.59). Castello was also third in the 100 Butterfly (1:14.88), while Alexis Starr was third in the 100 Breaststroke (1:24.67).
Martins Ferry freshman Alyssa Kalinski picked up three victories. She won the 200 IM (2:23.51), 500 Freestyle (5:36.65) and was part of the winning 400 Freestyle Relay (4:18.87) squad along with Tara Fogle, Abbey Ecker and Shelby Poludniak.
The Red Devils' Alaina Fasola earned victories in the 100 Butterfly(1:11.59), as part of the 200 Medley Relay (2:09.78) and 200 Freestyle relay (1:54.52) teams with Delainey Banks, Carly Falcone and Hanna Vera.
Wheeling Central junior Jocie Humpe won the 200 Freestyle in 2:12.73, while teammate Shelby Grendel captured the 50 Freestyle in 28.08.
Steubenville Catholic's Maddie Gulan won the 100 Backstroke (1:09.89), Cambridge's Lindsey Nunamaker swam to the 100 Freestyle title (1:02.37) and East Liverpool's Jay Foster won the 100 Breaststroke (1:18.4).