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River boys dominate field to capture another WSC crown

Everything is even at the start, but not so at the finish during the boys competition last Saturday at the Gemini Center. Nine records fell in the final West Shore Conference event at the pool. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)

Everything is even at the start, but not so at the finish during the boys competition last Saturday at the Gemini Center. Nine records fell in the final West Shore Conference event at the pool. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)

            Rocky River head coach Kati Dye was all smiles.

            Her boys team, bolstered by the MVP performance of senior Peter Stark, had just scored 182.5 points at the Gemini Center pool to defend its West Shore Conference swimming and diving championship.

            “Our boys have been pretty steady all season long,” Pirates head coach Kati Dye said Saturday afternoon. “Over the summer, they got a bunch of their friends to join the team. So this year, we’ve had a bunch of first-year swimmers who have come out of nowhere and done a phenomenal job for us.

            “The whole team was motivated to swim in the off-season, and it really showed this year,” she said.

            Bay, with some strong performances by senior Duncan MacMillan, was second with 74.5 points, followed by Avon (53 points), Fairview and Firelands. In all, records were rewritten in nine of the 12 events.

            The Pirates won eight of the 12 events, including four record-setting performances. Stark had a part in three of those, winning two individual events with records and swimming leadoff on the Pirates’ record-setting 400 freestyle relay team.

            “Both Peter and Megan (girls MVP Megan Auzenbergs) are extremely hard workers,” Dye said. “This year, Peter has worked so hard. He sets a good example by showing up to practices on time and working hard when he gets there.

            “He motivates all the other kids on the team,” Dye said. “We’re really going to miss him next year.

            River’s championship run began the previous night when Thomas Moran set league and pool records in winning the diving crown. On Saturday morning, the Pirates kept things rolling when the 200 medley relay team of Stark, Daniel Parris, Michael Kariotakis and Zach Kacpura  won it in 1:47.05. Bay was a close second as junior Justin Kestler, seniors Adam Figliuzzi and Mike Sorge, and junior Duncan MacMillan swam a 1:50.67.

            MacMillan had a strong day for the Rockets, coming right back in the 200 freestyle with a pool record. He won it with a time of 1:53.69, just missing the WSC mark. The old pool record was 1:56.57 set by Avon’s Elliot Runge in 2009. The league mark stood at 1:53.32, set by Rocky River’s Pat Kilbane in 2008.

            Parris and sophomore teammate Chris Grant finished second and third, respectively, in the 200 IM behind Runge’s pool and league record time of 2:03.59. Parris swam a 2:07.22, while Grant came in with a 2:16.36. Runge broke his own record of 2:09.21 set last year.

            Junior Michael Henry got the next win for the Pirates, winning the 50 freestyle with his time of 23.48. Kariotakis took runner-up honors with his 23.62, while freshman Eric Salberg picked up valuable team points with his fourth-place time of 26.17.

            In the 100 butterfly, it was Stark’s turn to shine again. The senior edged out Sorge with a time of 58.79, breaking the old pool and league marks. Sorge also broke both records with his second-place finish. Bay’s Tom Bricmont had the old pool record of 59.50 set in 2009, while River’s Ben Sullivan owned the WSC mark at 59.23.

            MacMillan got his second record on the day when he claimed the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.88. The old WSC mark was 51.55 set by River’s Brett Thomas in 2006, while the pool record of 51.34 previously belonged to Joe Butara of Benedictine.

            Aside from Runge’s record time of 1:01.98 in the 100 breaststroke, the rest of the wins on the day went to the Pirates.

            Parris notched another win when he claimed the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:12.18. He toppled the old records set back in 2008. That year, Will Ivansic of Benedictine set the pool mark with a 5:13.04, while River’s Kilbane had the WSC mark with a 5:16.81. Junior teammate Kevin Arnold took runner-up honors for River with his 5:25.36 clocking.

            The Pirate onslaught continued in the 200 freestyle relay as they claimed four of the first five spots. That performance included a first-place finish by junior Andrew Goecke, Grant, Salberg and Henry in 1:37.83. They edged-out Avon’s 1:38.26 effort as Runge swam anchor for the Eagles.

            Stark struck again in the 100 backstroke, eclipsing Runge’s old pool and league record of 57.79 set in 2009. Stark hit the wall with a time of 56.82, with Salberg taking second with a time of 1:05.31. But Stark wasn’t quite done in his final WSC meet.

            He led off the winning 400 freestyle relay, joining Kariotakis, Kacpura and Parris to turn in a record-setting time of 3:28.29. The previous WSC mark was 3:32.26 set by Rocky River in 2006, while Avon’s Gemini mark of 3:36.05 in 2009 also fell.

            “I’m very impressed with where our conference has gone,” Dye said of the record-setting day. “This is my third year of coaching, and every year it seems more and more records are broken. I’ve been very impressed by that.”

 

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