South boys swim team captures OVAC crown

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -Parkersburg South’s boys swim team dominated the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference big school meet on Saturday as the Patriot boys claimed the league championship by more than a 100-point margin over runner-up Wheeling Park, 323 points to 221.

It marked back-to-back titles for South, who easily defended the championship it won last year. Plus, with the Patriot girls placing fourth, South was declared the overall champions of the meet.

“It really felt good,” said South swim coach Steve Lutz, who got a “bath” at the end of the meet thanks to his swimmers. “I didn’t mind getting dunked.”

Lutz was proud that many Patriot swimmers recorded their best times of the season.

“I don’t know how many kids we had seeded in the 17 to 24 range that finished in the top 16 and scored points in the meet,” he said. “This is one of the best meets in which I have been involved.”

Ironically, although South’s boys were dominating the scoreboard, the Patriots waited until the final event of the day to capture their only first place. It came when Garrett Fink, Garrett DePergola, Joe Miller and Kinzie Bailey combined efforts to win the 400 freestyle relay in a time of 3:33.57.

In addition to that first place, Fink had three second-place finishes as he was the runnerup in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and joined DePergola, Miller and Bailey on the second place 200 freestyle relay squad. Miller had a second in the 500 freestyle and a third in the 200 freestyle while Lane Burton was second in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 individual medley and DePergola – who participated on three relay teams -was fourth in the 100 breaststroke.

South’s girls missed out on a third place finish by a single point as Martins Ferry nipped the Patriots, 163 to 162. Morgantown ran away with meet, amassing 360 points to 244 for runner-up Wheeling Park.

Thanks for Anna Pasternak, South had a pair of third place finishes as she teamed with Rachel Kirk, Emily Lowden and Emily Gersper to place third in the 400 freestyle and individually came in third in the 50 freestyle. Kirk, Lowden, Gersper and Pasternak also placed fourth in the 200 freestyle relay and fifth in the 200 medley relay while Gersper took fifth in the 100 breaststroke.

Lutz praised swimmers like Sierra Parsons, one of the last to qualify in the 100 freestyle, but she improved her previous best time and placed 15th, adding to South’s point total.