February 25, 2016 Bulldog Sports Round-up
- Published: February 25, 2016
Five Bulldog swimmers competed in the district meet at Miami University’s Natatorium last Friday, Feb. 19. All excelled, and two — Team Captain Aman Ngqakayi and Team Captain Olivia Chick — came away with district titles and earned berths at the state tournament, held this week on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 25 and 26, in Canton.
“Amazing and outstanding describe the experience of Bulldog wins at this year’s districts,” enthused Coach David Hardwick on Monday. “This is the first time we’ve earned first place in any meet and it’s the first time we’ve won at the conference level.” The team has depth, he added, and is “such a delight.”
Chick won first place and the district champion title in both the 200-yard and 100-yard freestyle events. In the 200-yard freestyle, she set a personal record and a new Yellow Springs High School record, breaking the previous record set by her sister, Erika, in 2011. Her time was 1:50.52. In the 100-yard freestyle, Chick set a second personal record, finishing in 50.98. She will continue to the state level, where she is seeded second in the state for both events.
“Olivia has been really awesome!” Coach Hardwick said.
Ngqakayi was district champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, breaking the one-minute barrier to finish at 59.68, his best time. He also swam to seventh in the 100-yard freestyle, with a time of 48:10. He was among the eight top finishers honored on the winner’s podium for that event. Ngqakayi will continue to the state level for both events. He is seeded fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke and twelfth in the 100-yard freestyle.
Ngqakayi’s combined score for the two events was 32 points, bringing the Bulldog boys to nineteenth place overall (out of the 33 boys teams in the district).
The second Bulldog girl competing individually was Eden Spriggs. She was just recovering from illness, but managed to hold her own, finishing at 1:07.19 in the 100-yard butterfly.
Four Bulldog girls — Chick, Olivia Brintlinger-Conn, Charlotte Walkey and Spriggs — competed in two relays, the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle. In the 200-yard relay, the girls “swam their hearts out,” said Coach Hardwick, shaving .58 seconds off an 18-year-old Yellow Springs High School record. In the 400-yard relay, the girls knocked more than two seconds off their season record.
The combined team scores of both boys and girls totaled 72 points, earning the Bulldog swimmers eighteenth out of 46 teams overall.
This was Coach Hardwick’s first year coaching swimming. Working with Assistant Coaches Franklin Halley and Bradley Martin and Girls’ Coach Jody Chick was a great experience, he said. He also praised the swimmers’ dedication and work ethic.
“These kids have just done marvelously — they’ve gone everywhere we asked them to go.”
Coach Martin congratulated the team for “really honing their technique and gaining confidence throughout the season.” Coach Halley echoed the theme. “I saw so much improvement,” he said, calling the year’s coaching “an honor.”
“Watch out for the Bulldog swimmers next year!” was the main message — or was it a warning? — offered by Coach Chick.
The third-seeded Bulldog boys won the first game of the state tournament on Saturday, Feb. 20, advancing them to the next round. They faced off against Jefferson Township High School, and came away with a strong 58–35 win. Senior Kaner Butler was the scoring leader: he scored the first eight points of the game and 24 points overall. Senior Isaiah Taylor also played a “really effective game,” according to Coach Steve Grasso, posting 10 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Thanks to the Bulldogs’ powerful defense, Jefferson Township only scored eight points in the first half, said Grasso. In the second half, with the Bulldogs in a solid position to win, the coach subbed in several non-starting players. Jefferson Township sunk some points — but not nearly enough to upset the Bulldogs’ well-placed win.
The boys played their second tournament game on Tuesday, Feb. 23, against Springfield Catholic Central at Troy High School. The results were not available by press time. Springfield Catholic Center is seeded ninth, but they recently upset a fifth-seeded team. So, Coach Grasso said on Monday, “we have to be really aware of what they can do.”
A win will set the boys up to play the defending state sectional champs, Tri-Village High School, on Friday, Feb. 26.
The Lady Bulldogs fought hard, but fell to Tri-Village High School last Tuesday, Feb. 16 at their state tournament game. The final score was 60–39. The game started strong, with a 17–17 tie with three minutes to go in the second quarter, according to Coach Vance Venesky. By half time, though, the girls were down 24–17, and the game got tougher from there.
“We had a good game plan and the girls did everything we wanted them to do, but we had a bad third quarter,” said Coach Venesky candidly.
Junior Elizabeth Smith scored 30 of the Bulldogs’ 39 points. “She did great!” the coach said. Another bright spot was a well-executed “box-and-one” defense played by sophomores Ayana Madison and Amani Wagner.
Reflecting on the season, Coach Venesky said, “The girls played well at the end of the season. This was a rebuilding year, and hopefully next year we’ll be stronger.” He also thanked his assistant coach, Paula Fry, for her hard work.
“Thanks to her, the girls are looking at a promising future for years to come,” he said.