By Keith McMillan
Repeating as Cardinal District Champions this past Saturday was no easy task for the Woodbridge girls’ swim team, but repeating as regional champions may be even more difficult.
Osbourn Park, Osbourn and Stonewall all gave the Vikings a run in the district meet, and all three are sending swimmers to the region meet in force. Colonial Forge, who had double-winners in Akemi Parker, Xenavee Pangelinian and Michelle Collier, should also press the Vikings for first. Patrick Henry of Roanoke finished behind Woodbridge at regionals last year, but was the Northwest’s highest finsher (eighth) at the state meet.
Even considering all of the challengers, the Vikings ever-present depth makes them this year’s favorites.
It wasn’t just highly-touted finishers Christy Cousins and Casey Quimby who led the way for Woodbridge. Eight individuals posted top-eight finishes in two events each Saturday, all qualifying for regionals.
Cousins set a district record in the 50 freestyle and won the 100 breast stroke. Quimby won the 500 freestyle and finished second in the 200 freestyle.
The Vikings carried the day with strong efforts from junior Megan Cleary and sophomore Janel Danchak, who each took a third- and a fourth-place. Freshman Sarah Lindberg added a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke and a fifth-place finish.
Junior Melanie Van Horn added a fourth and an eighth while junior Laura Freeman had a fifth and a seventh. Sophomore Lindsay Russell scored two eighth-place finishes, contributing 22 points toward the team title.
Having so many good swimmers is a significant advantage, acknowledged Cousins.
“It’s reassuring in a sense,” she said. “There’s always someone there to pick you up when you are down.”
The Vikings’ senior leader praised all of her teammates, but none more than junior Casey Quimby.
“If I had to [choose] one person who stood out,” Cousins said, “I’d have to say Casey Quimby in the 500 freestyle. It was a tough race in the beginning, but she pulled it out.”
Her 5:14.46 was more than nine seconds better than her closest competitor, Stonewall freshman Kerry Urso. Quimby also broke Tara Koff’s 200 freestyle district record by more than one second, but finished behind Kerry’s sister Kelly, who won the race in 1:56.44.
“Every sport has its own sense of teamwork,” said Andrew Hicks, who has tried his hand elsewhere, including on the gridiron.
“We’re so close,” he said of the Indian swimmers. “In football, we were all friends on the field, but here, we’re all friends away from swimming.”
“All my best friends are on the swim team,” added senior Greg Bishop.
“We work harder because of that,” said Hicks. “We [did] this for each other.”
Gar-Field had nine individuals qualify in 15 events Saturday, and each of their relays finished in the top two. Sophomore Brett MacLennan, who won two district titles, should be a major factor. Liz Penning will lead a solid group of Gar-Field girls.
Hylton won the 200 freestyle relay and finished second in the 400 freestyle. They qualified five swimmers for regionals. Four of them, Adam Krepp, Troy Sattgast, Gerardo Granados and Russell Wood, marked two top-four finishes each.
“We’re now starting to hit our best times,” said Bulldog coach Kim Sterling. “Now is the time you want to be doing that.”
Osbourn qualified eight boys and seven girls in indiviual events in Harry DeLong’s seventh and final year in charge of the program. Peter Waldron, who won the 200 individual medley, and Aaron Kendle are boys to watch. Shannon Woolard, who notched two second-place district finishes, Nicole Snyder and Wesley Hollinger should lead the Eagle girls.
Osbourn Park could post top-five boys and girls finishes for the second year in a row. The Yellow Jackets qualified eight girls and six boys in individual events after finishing second (girls) and third (boys) in the district.
Stonewall Jackson should post strong finishes in both the boys and girls standings. Ashley Razo and both Ursos combined for six firsts and two seconds at districts, and led the relay teams to two victories. Emily Slough and Allison Behrle round out the group.
Richard Packard and Michael Cartwright should score for a boys team that sends four individuals and one relay team.
Forest Park will be represented at districts by Clark Morgan, who won the 100 freestyle and finished third in the 200 freestyle. Bill Parris will also swim two events at regionals. Chris Coxe and Mike Bryce Jr. will represent the Woodbridge boys.
Parker, Pangelinan and Collier led Colonial Forge to a district title in their second year. Stafford finished second, North Stafford fifth and Brooke Point sixth.
Casey Rafter took first in 100 breast as well, while the 200 medley relay team of Higginbottom, Sweeney, Rafter and Will Rogers broke the school record with a time of 2:10.66.
Ryan Sweeney also took first in 100 fly and second in the 200 IM (school record).
Seton will swim at the DAC Championships Saturday in Fredericksburg.