South boys make big splash at regionals

WELLSBURG -It was a great day for swimmers from the city of Parkersburg on Saturday at the Region 1 Championships conducted at Brooke High School.

In the boys competition, Parkersburg South and Parkersburg High waged a day-long duel for the team championship, with the Patriots finally emerging with a three-point win over the runnerup Big Reds, 112 points to 109. Meanwhile, the PHS girls also placed second, just four points behind Morgantown, 112 to 108.

The South boys won the way have done it all year -with balance. South had just one first place finish, when the 200 medle relay team of Lane Burton, Garrett DePergola, Garrett Fink and Ryan Pritchard touched the wall in 1:52.67.

It was the first regional title in the 11-year history of the Patriot program and naturally was a great source of pride for coach Steve Lutz, who founded the program and has been its only head coach.

Meanwhile, PHS swimmers won seven events. Preston Padden and Sean Snider dominated the freestyle races with Padden capturing the 50 and 100 titles and Snider winning the 200 and 500. Peyton Hughes nipped South’s Burton by less than a second to capture the 100 backstroke and PHS won a pair of relays as Snider, Hughes, Nic Cheuvront and Padden took the 400 freestyle and Cheuvront, Anthony Kist, Hughes and Padden captured the 200 freestyle.

South kept grinding out high finishes. Fink was second in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. DePergola was seond in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. The Patriots also placed second in the 400 freestyle relay with tea team of Corey Johnson, Kinzie Bailey, Joe Miller and Fink. Third place finishers for South included Miller in the 200 freestyle, Johnson in the 100 freestyle and Bailey in the 500 freestyle.

Named to the six-member all-tournament team were Big Reds Highes and Padden and Patriots Fink and DePergola.

The domination of the Parkersburg teams was evident in the team standings as Morgantown was third with 82, followed by Brooke and University with 59, John Marshall and Wheeling Park with 40, Wheeling Central (14) and Weir (1).

In the girls competition, Wheeling Park was third with 94, followed by Brooke (58), John Marshall (47), Weir (34), Parkersburg South and University (26), Wheeling Central (12) and Williamstown (1).

The Big Red girls displayed strong relay teams as Jen Standley, Tara Foster, Lacey Dulaney and Alexa Standley won the 200 freestyle while Jen Standley, Sarah Snider, Dulaney and Claire Collett were second in the 400 freestyle and Collett, Hannah Wareheim, Alexa Standley and Foster were second in the 200 medley.

Parkersburg’s top individual effort was a second place finish from Foster in the 100 butterfly. Jen Standley was third in the 100 freestyle and Wareheim was third in both the 100 breaststroke and the 500 freestyle.Alexa Standley had a pair of fourths, in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

South’s girls had three fifth place finishes -Emily Gersper in the 100 breaststroke, and the quartet of Gersper, Rachel Kirk, Anna Pasternak and Ryan Hesselrode on both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays..

PHS coach Linda Alt realized how close her teams came to sweeping the regional.

Both Lutz and Alt are encouraged by the results and ready to lead their teams into next week’s state meet, set Thursday and Friday at the WVU Natatorium. George Washington will be favored in both the boys and girls divisions, but the local teams can make a big, er, splash.