February 18, 2016 Bulldog Sports Round-up
- Published: February 18, 2016
“What a wild and exciting ride it has been,” Coach Hardwick said, summing up the season.
The Bulldog swimmers met and challenged 25 other teams at their sectional tournament meets at Centerville (boys) and Mason (girls) on Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13, respectively.
Bulldog boys scored 63 team points, plus three additional personal records. Team captain Aman Ngqakayi had a great performance, finishing second in the 100-yard breast stroke (1:02.20) and forth in the 100-yard freestyle (50.45). Additional individual points were scored by Trystan Burch (200-yard freestyle, 2:27.45, and 100-yard backstroke, 1:16.00) and David Walker (200-yard individual medley, 2:42.25, and 100-yard butterfly, 1:17.1). Personal records were also set by William Gregor (100-yard freestyle, 1:04.07, and 100-yard breast stroke, 1:32.37) and Harper Mesure (100-yard freestyle, 1:25.08).
In their final effort for the day, the boys finished seventh in the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:05.83), the team consisting of Burch, Gregor, Walker and Ngqakayi.
Fourteen Bulldog girls participated in the Saturday morning sectionals at Mason, scoring 183 points to finish a strong seventh. Team captain Olivia Chick was the meet’s outstanding swimmer, snagging two place/sectional champ finishes: one in the 200-yard freestyle (1:55.32) and a second in the 100-yard freestyle (53.10). Eden Spriggs made an exceptional effort, finishing sixth and posting a personal record in the 100-yard butterfly (1:06.55) and finishing tenth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:10.73, another personal record).
“The depth of the team was very evident as they put on the steam in the three relays they competed in,” said Coach Hardwick.
Highights of the day were the combined efforts of Olivia Chick, Eden Spriggs, Olivia Brintlinger-Conn and team captain Charlotte Walkey, finishing fifth in two relays and beating seed times (200-yard freestyle relay, 1:53.03, and 400-yard freestyle relay, 4:13.17). Ellie Peifer, Jordie Sieck, Sara Zendlovitz and Madison Kellar swam strong in the 200-yard medley, finishing tenth with 2:30.37.
The roll call of noticable finishes included Zendlovitz, Madison Kellar, Walkey, Lauryn Dewine, Ellery Bledsoe, Brintinger-Conn, Hannah Morrison, Amelia Gray, Jude Meekin and Aza Hurwitz.
Looking ahead, looking back
“The season exceeded my expectations! The YSHS swim team ended strong,” said Coach Jodi Chick. Five of the team’s finest will represent the Bulldogs this Friday, Feb. 19, at Miami University for the district meet: Aman Ngqakayi in the 100-yard breast stroke and 100-yard freestyle; Olivia Chick in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle; Eden Spriggs in the 100-yard butterfly; and relay teams of Charlotte Walkey, Olivia Britlinger-Conn, Olivia Chick and Eden Spriggs in both the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays. These latter races are where “more surprises are possible,” hinted Coach Chick.
Accolades are deserved all around, according to Coach Hardwick. Assistant Coach Bradley Martin highlighted the crucial role of parents this season.
“We’d like to thank the parents who made sure their swimmers were at practices and at the meets, along with all the volunteers who have helped time and organize the events,” he said. “Parent involvement is just as much a contribution to this successful year as anything, and made up the backbone of this year’s successful program!”
And Assistant Coach Franklin Halley weighed in with enthusiasm: “I’m super proud of all of this Bulldog swim team! Lots of excitement … and it’s not over yet!”
The Bulldog boys clinched the Metro Buckeye Conference title, finishing with a conference record of 11–1 and an overall record of 16–6. On Saturday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m., they will play the first game of the state tournament, facing off against Jefferson Township High School at Troy High School. The Bulldogs are third seed in their section of 13 teams.
“It’s been a few years since we won a game in tournament, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity to win a few games,” Coach Steve Grasso said.
Teams have to “win to play,” so he said he couldn’t speculate about games beyond Saturday. “We’re taking them one at a time,” he said.
In addition to emerging as the Metro Buckeye Conference champs, individual players and Coach Grasso himself snagged significant awards. YSHS senior Isaiah Taylor was voted Metro Buckeye Player of the Year by conference coaches, with the best overall play stats. Taylor had a per-game average of about 12 points, nine rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.5 assists.
“He had a very nice season,” Coach Grasso said, a delicious understatement.
Taylor and fellow senior Kaner Butler were both named first team all-conference players. Butler was the conference’s leading scorer, averaging 13.5 points per game. He also posted 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. YSHS senior Devon Perry was named the second team all-conference player, with nine points per game, as well as 4 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
Coach Grasso was recognized as “co-coach of the year” by the conference, an honor he also earned (as a single recipient) last year.
The Lady Bulldogs played in the state tournament Tuesday, Feb. 16, against Tri-Village High School. Results were not available at press time, but Coach Vance Venesky said on Tuesday morning that the girls “are convinced they’re going to win tonight” — and who was he to challenge them?
The girls have a 2–20 season record, but they’ve won two of their last three games, so momentum is on their side. If they don’t win, the game will be senior Molly Hendrickson’s last, Coach Venesky noted. Tri-Village is an extremely strong team — number four in division four in Ohio, with a season record of 20–3.
In other highlights, Coach Venesky congratulated junior player Elizabeth Smith for scoring her 1,000th point in a recent game against Cedarville.
“We’re very excited for the future,” he said. “We have a young team with freshmen, sophomores and juniors.”