GHS swimmers trekking to Indy

Monday, February 8, 2010

To see more photos from the sectional meet, click here.

Greencastle's Melissa Ball's closest competition in the 100 butterfly at Saturday's sectional was nearly three seconds behind.

CRAWFORDSVILLE -- Greencastle swimming coach Luke Beasley said it himself: in swimming, the numbers don't lie. Upsets are hard to come by in this sport.

This phenomenon explains the unbridled joy displayed by Beasley and the Lady Tiger Sharks after they won the 200 freestyle relay Saturday afternoon, upsetting top-seeded Crawfordsville. The GHS team of Melissa Ball, Sydney Terry, Melanie Bittles and Natasha Aring shaved 7.54 seconds off their seed time to swim a 1:45.35 and out-touched the Athenians by 0.17 second.

"A lot of these girls are having the best meet of their lives," Beasley said shortly after the 200 relay upset.

Never short on confidence in his girls, the GHS coach admitted he had serious doubts about the race.

"That was a huge win for us in that 200 free relay," Beasley said. "I certainly didn't have us winning it, and I usually don't admit that I didn't think we were going to win. I didn't think we were going to win that relay. Our girls stepped up. They believed they could, and that's all that matters."

The relay, plus two monster individual performances from Ball gave GHS three wins, and three state finals berths, on the day. The Lady Tiger Sharks finished the day in second place with 201 points, as the host Athenians won with 318.

South Putnam placed ninth with 65 points, while North Putnam was 11th with 18.

In the winning relay, Ball got the team out to a three-second lead after the first leg and Terry, Bittles and Aring held off a hard-charging Crawfordsville team.

With 25 yards to go, Aring looked like she might be a sitting duck to Crawfordsville's Rebecca Howland, but out-touched her at the line. As they looked up at the scoreboard, the purple and gray faithful in the natatorium exploded with excitement.

It was an effort emblematic of the day for GHS.

"I'm absolutely thrilled. I couldn't be more proud of Greencastle High School today," Beasley said. "Crawfordsville was pretty far out front in terms of the team standings. We pretty much knew that was going to be the case -- swimming's a sport where the numbers don't really lie.

"But I don't think you saw any girl out there bow down. You didn't see any girl out there give in. The effort was incredible," he continued. "I'm actually a little emotional about it because they work so hard and they put so much into it. For them to see it pay off on a day like a today is the greatest feeling in the world."

Across the board, Beasley expressed his pride, highlighting performances from not only the relay swimmers, but also Alison Howard, Sara Culler, Sarah Beams and Sarah Dory -- every swimmer who touched the pool for GHS on Saturday.

Joining the swimmers on the day was diver Keri Goode, who placed eighth.

Besides Ball, the highest finishing individual was Sydney Terry, who was third in the 100 backstroke with a 1:06.70 and fourth in the 100 freestyle at 1:00.47.

It truly was Ball's day, though. In the 50, her first race of the day, she came in with a 25.48 seed time, favored by just 0.12 seconds over Western Boones Blair Kinslow. In the final, she swam a 24.14, beating Kinslow by nearly a 1.5 seconds and breaking the GHS record by a tenth.

"That's one of the faster school records we have," Beasley said.

She followed this up with three-second margin of victory in the 100 butterfly at 57.57. This was another school record, besting her old mark by 2.5 seconds.

"Melissa wins races because of how she trains and how she prepares," Beasley said. "Melissa, in her first 100 fly of the year, swam a 1:07 and got beat by two Crawfordsville swimmers in that dual meet -- a 1:07. She was 10 seconds faster today."

The coach couldn't find enough good things to say about his state-bound senior.

"Obviously she's talented, and she's got great family support that helps her so much -- all the pieces kind of came together. But still, if you know Melissa and know what kind of person she is, you simply couldn't be happier for someone. You couldn't. She's just everything you could ask for in a swimmer. It's pretty special," Beasley said.

While the Lady Tiger Sharks were facing a serious numbers disadvantage to the Athenians, the day was even more of an uphill battle for the rest of the field, including county-rivals South Putnam and North Putnam.

The Eagles had netted one finals appearance on Thursday night, with junior Jessica York qualifying fourth in the 100 breaststroke. She held her seed, finishing in 1:18.45.

A broken week of practice hurt South Putnam's times, but coach Emily Coers was happy with the effort.

"For the most part, we swam consistent with what we've been swimming all season. We really had our personal bests at county a week ago," Coers said. "We've had a couple of days where we missed practice. We had a boys' meet and then Friday we couldn't swim. That was tough.

"My girls responded as best as they could. They swam hard," she added. "Our times wouldn't necessarily show that we had our best meet, but the effort was there, and I'm proud of them for doing all that they can in spite of not being able to practice yesterday."

The effort showed. In spite of just one finals appearance, the Eagles had five consolation races, three of which they won. Sarah New finished seventh in the 100 backstroke.

"Sarah New, in the 100 backstroke, swam her personal best and moved up two spots. She is one who was a standout to me," Coers said.

Also placing seventh were the 200 free relay of Josalynn Farmer, Lyndsie Beasley, Samantha Tomasino and Amanda Lund, and the 400 free relay of Farmer, Kaelynn Cox, Tomasino and Lund.

In their final meet, Coers was especially proud of seniors Lund and Tomasino.

"My seniors, Amanda Lund and Samantha Tomasino, this was their last meet and they both really pulled it out. Both of them had season bests in the 400 free relay, and then they had good times in the 200 free relay," Coers said. "My senior diver Alysia Lollar finished seventh. That was also good for her."

With the season over and the seniors departing, Coers is now looking forward to a year with a more experienced team.

"I thought it was a good year. We're a young team, and I look forward to next year and improving on what we've already done. But we'll miss our seniors a lot," she concluded.

For North Putnam, sophomore Michelle Harper was 10th in the 200 IM and 12th in the 100 freestyle. The top Cougar finish came in the ninth-place performance of the 200 free relay featuring Halsey Foltz, Ashley Novak, Caroline Byrd and Harper.

Coach Wesley Richardson could not be reached for comment after the meet.

For four GHS swimmers, though, the end has not yet come. By winning events, Ball advanced in the 50 free and 100 butterfly, as well as Terry, Bittles and Aring joining her in the 200 free relay. The ladies will compete at the IHSAA State Finals preliminaries at 6 p.m. Friday at the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI.

Beasley has big goals for Ball in particular.

"We want to get her back for Saturday. That's been the goal all year long. We want to shoot for those school records and get her back for Saturday. That doesn't change," he said. "I think the swims today show Melissa that she has that ability, so we want her swimming on Saturday."

Another week of practice and high school swimming's biggest stage await the four Lady Tiger Sharks.

To see more photos from the sectional meet, click here.

At Crawfordsville

IHSAA Girls' Swimming Sectional

Crawfordsville 318, Greencastle 201, Western Boone 164, North Montgomery 156, South Vermillion 112, Southmont 103, Fountain Central 97, Seeger 95, South Putnam 65, North Vermillion 22, North Putnam 18, Attica 2

200 Medley Relay -- 1. Crawfordsville 1:50.31, 2. Greencastle (Terry, Ball, Bittles, Aring) 1:58.05, 3. North Montgomery 2:02.76, 4. South Vermillion 2:07.72, 5. Seeger 2:08.57, -- Southmont DQ

Consolation -- 7. Fountain Central 2:08.37, 8. South Putnam (New, York, Sherwood, Lund) 2:10.39, 9. Western Boone 2:17.42, 10. North Putnam (Foltz, Novak, Byrd, Harper) 2:18.30

200 Freestyle -- 1. Fairfield (Cr) 2:00.52, 2. Emmert (WB) 2:09.92, 3. Sheldon (FC) 2:11.47, 4. Hunt (Cr) 2:12.75, 5. McGee (WB) 2:13.03, 6. Howard (GHS) 2:20.33

Consolation -- 7. Hollis (Se) 2:18.41, 8. Culler (GHS) 2:21.62, 9. Smith (SV) 2:24.03, 10. Zachary (Sm) 2:24.42, 11. Brindle (WB) 2:28.67, 12. Trublood (FC) 2:29.54

200 IM -- 1. Robinson (Cr) 2:13.87, 2. Menzel (Cr) 2:20.85, 3. Burkhart (Sm) 2:28.44, 4. Jarvis (Sm) 2:34.03, 5. Aring (GHS) 2:34.36, 6. Millikan (SV) 2:37.80

Consolation -- 7. McGrady (FC) 2:39.93, 8. Hegedus (WB) 2:42.17, 9. Guinter (Cr) 2:42.59, 10. Harper (NP) 2:42.73, 11. Hensley (Se) 2:48.45, 12. Beisecker (FC) 2:50.86

50 Freestyle -- 1. Ball (GHS) 24.14, 2. Kinslow (WB) 25.58, 3. Simpson (NM) 26.40, 4. Thomas (SV) 26.66, 5. Gregory (Cr) 27.27, 6. Haddock (Se) 27.43

Consolation -- 7. Bittles (GHS) 27.28, 8. Parker (Sm) 27.63, 9. Leonard (Se) 27.70, 10. Beams (GHS) 28.00, 11. Ward (Sm) 28.81, 12. Zimmerman (WB) 28.89

Diving -- 1. Morgan (Cr) 284.80, 2. Leister (SV) 259.85, 3. Cagle (WB) 226.60, 4. Randolph (SV) 220.80, 5. Hudson (NM) 219.00, 6. Vanatti (SV) 193.00, 7. Lollar (SP) 186.85, 8. Good (GHS) 184.65, 9. Adams (NM) 173.15, -- Terry (SP) DQ

100 Butterfly -- 1. Ball (GHS) 57.57, 2. Fairfield (Cr) 1:00.36, 3. Menzel (Cr) 1:02.22, 4. Amstutz (NM) 1:06.56, 5. Bittles (GHS) 1:06.91, 6. Jarvis (Sm) 1:10.39

Consolation -- 7. Millikan (SV) 1:10.36, 8. Zimmerman (WB) 1:11.33, 9. Beams (GHS) 1:11.56, 10. Parker (Sm) 1:11.63, 11. Sherwood (SP) 1:14.01, 12. Lowe (WB) 1:16.14

100 Freestyle -- 1. Kinslow (WB) 56.21, 2. Simpson (NM) 58.57, 3. Horner (Cr) 59.85, 4. Terry (GHS) 1:00.47, 5. Haddock (Se) 1:00.75, 6. Thomas (SV) 1:03.88

Consolation -- 7. Gregory (Cr) 1:00.94, 8. Howard (GHS) 1:01.99, 9. McGee (WB) 1:02.05, 10. Ward (Sm) 1:02.66, 11. Piper (At) 1:03.85, 12. Harper (NP) 1:03.96

500 Freestyle -- 1. Howland (Cr) 5:24.02, 2. Conrad (Cr) 5:29.87, 3. Emmert (WB) 5:47.02, 4. Thompson (NM) 6:01.43, 5. Hollis (Se) 6:15.56, 6. McGrady (FC) 6:22.89

Consolation -- 7. Aring (GHS) 6:10.07, 8. Culler (GHS) 6:23.47, 9. Zachary (Sm) 6:28.42, 10. Carver (FC) 6:33.71, 11. Trueblood (FC) 6:42.67, 12. Mathison (NM) 6:47.09

200 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Greencastle (Ball, Terry, Bittles, Aring) 1:45.35, 2. Crawfordsville 1:45.52, 3. Western Boone 1:49.63, 4. North Montgomery 1:52.05, 5. Seeger 1:53.75, 6. Southmont 1:54.08

Consolation -- 7. South Putnam (Farmer, Beasley, Tomasino, Lund) 1:55.88, 8. Fountain Central 1:59.60, 9. North Putnam (Foltz, Novak, Byrd, Harper) 2:01.37, 10. North Vermillion 2:24.88, -- Attica DQ

100 Backstroke -- 1. Conrad (Cr) 1:02.01, 2. Hunt (Cr) 1;04.69, 3. Terry (GHS) 1:06.70, 4. Burkhart (Sm) 1:07.52, 5. Sheldon (FC) 1:08.91, 6. Riley (NM) 1:13.16

Consolation -- 7. New (SP) 1:13.17, 8. Byrum (NV) 1:13.69, 9. Guinter (Cr) 1:14.09, 10. Shumaker (FC) 1:14.34, 11. Lowe (WB) 1:14.59, 12. Venis (NM) 1:17.67

100 Breastroke -- 1. Robinson (Cr) 1:05.72, 2. Horner (Cr) 1:11.10, 3. Amstutz (NM) 1:11.71, 4. York (SP) 1:18.45, 5. Hegedus (WB) 1:18.73, 6. Roberts (SV) 1:17.48

Consolation -- 7. Wolf (Cr) 1:21.33, 8. Hall (NV) 1:21.61, 9. Ireland (FC) 1:22.40, 10. Leonard (Se) 1:23.05, 11. LeJeune (NM) 1:23.87, 12. Lowe (FC) 1:26.20

400 Freestyle Relay -- 1. Crawfordsville 3:42.78, 2. Western Boone 4:03.66, 3. North Montgomery 4:06.30, 4. Southmont 4:15.93, 5. Fountain Central 4:16.05, 6. Greencastle (Howard, Dory, Culler, Beams) 4:16.94

Consolation -- 7. South Putnam (Farmer, Cox, Tomasino, Lund) 4:21.24, 8. Seeger 4:29.89, 9. South Vermillion 4:38.18, 10. North Vermillion 5:25.49

--Meets state cut time.

Next meet: Greencastle's Melissa Ball, Sydney Terry, Melanie Bittles and Natasha Aring will compete at the IHSAA State Finals preliminaries at 6 p.m. Friday at the Indiana University Auditorium on the campus of IUPUI.