Boys' swimmers finish strong at sectional

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Greencastle freshman Elijah Brattain plunges in for the third leg of the 200 freestyle relay as teammates Nash Firebaugh (left) and Mitchell Ball observe.

AVON -- Saturday's sectional final was a stepping stone for Greencastle's Nash Firebaugh and South Putnam's Sam Gould.

For the rest of the county swimmers and divers, Saturday was the end of a long season, but no one was hanging his head in defeat.

In the team scores, Greencastle placed fifth with 182 points, the best finish among schools with enrollments less than 1,800.

North Putnam was seventh with 124, and South Putnam was ninth with 99.

The late season has been something of an arrival for North Putnam's program. Under the guidance of first-year coach Tony Gray, the Cougars defeated Greencastle in a dual meet for the first time in school history and won their first county title in school history.

On Saturday, they tied the best sectional finish anyone associated with the program can recall. The key difference this time was, they were swimming with the big boys at Avon, not the Crawfordsville Sectional.

"I'm just really excited for all the kids. They've believed in what we've been selling all year long," Gray said. "They knew coming here they were going to have to step it up, and everyone today set a personal best in their swims. I'm just ecstatic."

One highlight of the day was the 200 free relay of Nicholas Kaufman, Dane Gray, Jared James and Hunter Logan. They finished a team-best fifth on the day, and their time of 1:34.80 again broke the school record for the event.

They have shaven seven seconds from the school record over the course of the year.

In the medley relay, the team of Joe Lehr, James, Gray and Logan was sixth in the medley relay.

The 400 relay team of Lehr, Trevor Troyer, Taylor Thornell and Kaufman finished seventh when the heat was on. Had the Cougars not finished within two spots of Tri-West, they would have given up their seventh-place finish.

"I don't really want to point any individuals out because we've done this as a team," the coach said. "That's how we won county, as a team, and our 400 free relay team brought it, we had to hold off Tri-West."

In the Cougars' only individual finals appearance, Dane Gray placed eighth in the 100 backstroke. The sophomore's other appearance on the day was a 10th-place finish in the 200 IM.

Many of the Cougars points on the day came from a trio of seniors -- sprinters James and Logan and diver Shorter. Gray expressed his gratitude at what these three have done for the program.

"Our three seniors, what can I say? Jared James is a Lily scholarship finalist. Tyler Shorter and Hunter Logan are two kids who came over from football who really helped get the enthusiasm going," Gray said. "They showed the kids that swimming is not just some little thing they don't know about."

He said the momentum the seniors and underclassmen have provided should translate into good things in the future.

"We're on the radar at the school now," Gray said. "Since we won the county, we've had eight or nine more middle school kids come out. We have 43 middle school kids.

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Gould was the only individual in the top eight for the Eagles, but their medley relay also made the finals. The team of Tayler Arnold, Gould, Matthew Lund and John McCammack started the day with a seventh-place finish.

Other individuals in action included Arnold (ninth in the backstroke and 10th in the 100 freestyle) and Tyler Neumann, who finished 11th in diving, following two years in Gould's shadow.

"Tyler did great. He's come such a long way this season," Eagle coach Matthew Edwards said. "He really challenges himself and sets really high goals. The thing about Tyler is that if something doesn't work out the way he wants, in no way does he let it affect him. He came out tonight and surpassed his own and my expectations."

Edwards expressed his happiness at all of his swimmers on the day and the season.

"Unbelievable times by these guys tonight. Saturday's generally the faster day, but we had no idea what they were going to pull," Edwards said. "They've kept their momentum up. For the most part, every single meet's been better than the one previous."

Looking forward, the future without Gould will be tough, but the Eagles return everyone else.

"We lose Sam as a senior, and everybody else is going to come back next year," Edwards said. "This has been a transition season this year. We had a change of coaching staff. I talked to them last week about how proud we are of their performance."

Greencastle coach Kent Menzel looks at his team in a similar way. Of course, Firebaugh makes the headlines, but he thanked every one of Saturday's swimmers for their efforts.

"I have to mention every single name that swam today, from Elijah Brattain, Mitchell Ball, Nathan Gardner and Nash, who all had swims in the championship finals, to Taylor Secrest, a freshman who stepped up and got a Saturday swim in the top 16 of the breaststroke," Menzel said. "Also you have to mention Isaac Harms, who had a pair of great swims tonight and managed to get lifetime best swims in the 200 and 500 and lifetime best split in the 400 free relay.

"I have to add, also, Alex Briones and Jason Ummel to that mix -- both freshmen who had lifetime best swims on Thursday and lifetime best swims tonight (in the 400 free relay)," he added. "That 400 free relay was a great look at the future of Greencastle swimming. Those boys next year will take this experience and snowball it up into some really great things."

Among the GHS finalists, Ball had the second-best finish of the day, placing fourth in the 100 butterfly, the event Firebaugh won. Brattain was sixth in the IM, and Gardner was sixth in the backstroke.

Firebaugh also added a sixth-place in the 50 free.

"We improved across the board. We had a chance to move up in the placings and were able to get the team up to fifth place overall, which was our goal coming in," Menzel said. "So I'm very pleased with the swims and very proud of our boys."

With relays counting for double points, strong finishes in all three were key to the Tiger Sharks' placing in the meet.

The medley relay of Gardner, Ball, Firebaugh and Brattain finished third, while the 200 free relay of Ball, Gardner, Brattain and Firebaugh was fourth. A young 400 free relay of Harms, Briones, Ummel and Secrest completed the day with an eight-place finish.

The biggest challenge Menzel sees is replacing Ball, his only senior.

"It's hard to calculate the value he gave to our team," Menzel said. "Mitchell really led the boys this last week. They were in the pool by themselves and Mitchell stepped up and kept them calm day to day and kept them focused on this weekend. And even between Thursday night and tonight, Mitchell provided all sorts of leadership that helped us to stay strong today.

"To lose an athlete like Mitchell Ball is hard, but, boy, to lose a leader like Mitchell Ball is even more difficult."

At Avon High School

IHSAA Boys' Swimming & Diving Sectional

Avon 432, Terre Haute South 410, Plainfield 364, Terre Haute North 188, Greencastle 182, Danville 176, North Putnam 124, Tri-West 121, South Putnam 99, Cascade 79, West Vigo 38

200 Medley Relay: 1. Terre Haute South 1:36.51, 2. Plainfield 1:37.97, 3. Greencastle (Gardner, Ball, Firebaugh, Brattain) 1:41.09, 4. Danville 1:47.23, 5. Terre Haute North, 6. North Putnam (Lehr, James, Gray, Logan) 1:51.12, 7. South Putnam (Arnold, Gould, Lund, McCammack) 1:52.51, -- Avon DQ. Consolation: 9. Tri-West 2:03.55, 10. West Vigo 2:03.73, 11. Cascade 2:12.45.

200 Freestyle: 1. McPhail (Av) 1:45.81, 2. Sprout (Av) 1:45.88, 3. Wilhelm (THS) 1:47.05, 4. Weisbach (Pf) 1:50.61, 5. Goldhammer (Av) 1:52.06, 6. Brattain (Gc) 1:53.08, 7. Jones (THN) 1:53.77, 8. Charld (Pf) 1:57.14. Consolation: 9. Cook (TW) 1:56.90, 10. Neilson (Dv) 1:57.49, 11. Gilmore (Ca) 1:59.70, 12. Rosine (Pf) 1:59.84, 13. Gemmecke (THS) 2:01.55, 14. Lehr (NP) 2:03.38, 15. Harms (Gc) 2:04.08, 16. Barnes (THN) 2:05.50.

200 IM: 1. Ferguson (Av) 1:57.52, 2. Sakbun (THS) 1:58.80, 3. Lewis (Av) 1:59.10, 4. Hurst (Pf) 1:59.46, 5. Ford (THS) 1:59.85, 6. Lorenz (Av) 2:03.25, 7. Philip (Pf) 2:06.22, 8. Priester (THN) 2:06.45. Consolation: 9. Guell (THN) 2:07.49, 10. Gray (NP) 2:11.80, 11. Allen (THS) 2:13.85, 12. Hayne (THN) 2:18.96, 13. Bridge (Pf) 2:22.19, 14. Schoening (Dv) 2:25.06, 15. Dugan (Ca) 2:25.19, 16. Corbet (TW) 2:25.46.

50 Freestyle: 1. Roach (THS) 21.44, 2. Kelly (TW) 22.18, 3. Tice (Pf) 22.46, 4. Schilling (THS) 23.01, 5. Jameson (Av) 23.09, 6. Firebaugh (Gc) 23.25, 7. Bradshaw (Dv) 23.33, 8. Scalf (Av) 23.80. Consolation: 9. Miller (Pf) 23.44, 10. Arnold (SP) 23.48, 11. Rank (Av) 23.59, 12. Logan (NP) 23.88, 13. Pawlowski (Pf) 23.97, 14. James (NP) 24.20, 15. Clark (Dv) 24.28, 16. Gardner (Gc) 24.56.

Diving: 1. Becker (Pf) 354.55, 2. Davis (THS) 330.55, 3. Gould (SP) 319.60, 4. Lux (Pf) 283.30, 5. Archer (Ca) 267.50, 6. Trent (Ca) 258.35, 7. Lee (THS) 248.70, 8. Hedrick (Dv) 239.60, 9. Hairston (Av) 231.95, 10. Latta (THS) 230.85, 11. Neumann (SP) 228.75, 12. Humphrey (THN) 226.25, 13. Alexander (Dv) 220.65, 14. Shorter (NP) 186.25, 15. Dadson (THN) 184.10, 16. Foster (Dv) 172.80. Semifinals (8 dives): 17. Kaufman (NP) 137.70, 18. Lewis (GHS) 134.50, 19. Volland (NP) 91.53.

100 Butterfly: 1. Firebaugh (Gc) 51.59, 2. Ferguson (Av) 52.89, 3. Lewis (Av) 54.03, 4. Ball (Gc) 54.17, 5. McCord (THS) 54.61, 6. Mothersead (Av) 55.68, 7. Guell (THN) 56.20, 8. Schilling (THS) 56.67. Consolation: 9. Wright (Pf) 55.63, 10. Philip (Pf) 56.55, 11. McCord (THS) 57.58, 12. Charles (Pf) 1:00.11, 13. Longa (THN) 1:00.58, 14. Hayne (THN) 1:01.69, 15. Clark (Dv) 1:03.55, 16. Austin (Dv) 1:03.84.

100 Freestyle: 1. Roach (THS) 47.13, 2. Mitchell (THS) 49.01, 3. Callahan (Dv) 49.24, 4. Jones (Av) 49.36, 5. Stowe (Av) 50.20, 6. Kelly (TW) 50.83, 7. Rhodes (Pf) 51.01, 8. Bradshaw (Dv) 51.12. Consolation: 9. Weisbach (Pf) 51.46, 10. Brattain (Gc) 51.86, 11. Goldhammer (Av) 52.41, 12. Cook (TW) 52.77, 13. James (NP) 52.95, 14. Dowell (THS) 53.45, 15. Pawlowski (Pf) 53.91, 16. Logan (NP) 53.98.

500 Freestyle: 1. Allen (Pf) 4:46.90, 2. Wilhelm (THS) 4:48.22, 3. Sprout (Av) 4:52.26, 4. McCord (THS) 4:59.33, 5. Priester (THN) 5:04.42, 6. Landau (Av) 5:07.61, 7. Moore (Av) 5:11.29, 8. Jones (THN) 5:11.47. Consolation: 9. Neilson (Dv) 5:18.80, 10. Hayden (Pf) 5:21.29, 11. McCord (THS) 5:25.92, 12. Brink (Pf) 5:27.09, 13. Harms (Gc) 5:35.83, 14. Hubbs (THN) 5:41.78, 15. Thornell (NP) 5:43.64, 16. Sheets (TW) 5:57.57.

200 Free Relay: 1. Avon 1:29.31, 2. Plainfield 1:30.66, 3. Terre Haute South 1:31.17, 4. Greencastle (Ball, Gardner, Brattain, Firebaugh) 1:33.06, 5. North Putnam (Kaufman, Gray, James, Logan) 1:34.80, 6. Tri-West 1:35.94, 7. Terre Haute North 1:37.49, 8. Danville 1:38.87. Consolation: 9. South Putnam (Arnold, McCammack, Albright, Lund) 1:39.74, 10. Cascade 1:44.50, 11. West Vigo 1:46.63.

100 Backstroke: 1. Mitchell (THS) 53.65, 2. Stowe (Av) 54.07, 3. Jameson (Av) 54.39, 4. Hurst (Pf) 54.42, 5. Rhodes (Pf) 57.80, 6. Gardner (Gc) 58.20, 7. Scalf (Av) 58.50, Gray (NP) 1:00.85. Consolation: 9. Arnold (SP) 59.75, 10. Lehr (NP) 1:01.09, 11. Longa (THN) 1:01.55, 12. Allen (THS) 1:02.99, 13. Hubbs (THN) 1:04.20, 14. Robinson (THS) 1:04.58, 15. Bailey (Pf) 1:04.60, 16. Jones (TW) 1:11.57.

100 Breaststroke: 1. Lorenz (Av) 58.48, 2. Wright (Pf) 59.51, 3. Mothersead (Av) 59.72, 4. McPhail (Av) 1:00.07, 5. Sakbun (THS) 1:00.35, 6. Callahan (Dv) 1:01.72, 7. Ford (THS) 1:02.46, 8. Miller (Pf) 1:04.50. Consolation: 9. Ball (Gc) 1:05.87, 10. Shaver (THS) 1:08.88, 11. Koos (THN) 1:08.90, 12. Gould (SP) 1:10.57, 13. Brandkamp (TW) 1:10.69, 14. Bridge (Pf) 1:13.37, 15. Schoening (Dv) 1:14.06, 16. Secrest (Gc) 1:14.44.

400 Free Relay: 1. Terre Haute South 3:11.96, 2. Avon 3:15.90, 3. Plainfield 3:15.94, 4. Danville 3:31.35, 5. Terre Haute North 3:33.95, 6. Tri-West 3:34.97, 7. North Putnam (Lehr, Troyer, Thornell, Kaufman) 3:46.65, 8. Greencastle (Harms, Briones, Ummel, Secrest) 3:55.60. Consolation: 9. Cascade 3:54.06, 10. South Putnam (Albright, Crosby, Gould, Fields) 3:58.42, 11. West Vigo 3:59.88.

--State cut time.