Tiger Sharks edge Cougars for boys' county swim title
ROACHDALE -- Greencastle boys' swimming came out on top of a closely contested Putnam County meet on Wednesday night, besting host North Putnam 246-235.
South Putnam was third in the meet with 147 points.
All three schools represented themselves with some strong swims, with the Tiger Cubs claiming six events, the Cougars four and the Eagles two.
Tiger Sharks coach Kent Menzel credited his team's veteran leadership with the win.
"We had a very solid night once again, as has been the case all year long, with very strong leadership from all of our seniors," Menzel said. "It's a great support for the team to be able to look to them to perform great and then it brings everyone else's performances up with them."
As expected, the Greencastle attack was spearheaded by three-time state qualifier Nash Firebaugh, who claimed four all-county spots Wednesday evening.
"I would say the standout for the night has to be Nash Firebaugh, as he won both of his events convincingly," Menzel said. "He hasn't even begun to really rest. So to be able to swim this well tonight is a statement of his talent and of his willingness to be a leader for the team and set an example for others to follow."
The senior was dominant in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, as well as being a member of both champion Tiger Cub relays.
The 200 medley relay of Nathan Gardner, Taylor Secrest, Firebaugh and Elijah Brattain kicked the meet off with a victory, while the team of Firebaugh, Brant Mangrum, Secrest and Gardner claimed victory in the 200 freestyle relay.
Also with individual wins for Greencastle were Brattain in the 100 butterfly and Gardner in the 100 breaststroke.
"Also tonight, great performances from Elijah Brattain and Nathan Gardner, who both stepped up and swam very well on the night," Menzel said. "Good, solid swims also. Very nice preparations for next week's sectional championship."
Nipping at the Tiger Sharks' heels throughout the meet, the Cougars claimed four races, with senior Dane Gray leading the way.
Gray joined Firebaugh as the only swimmers to claim two individual titles on the night, winning the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.
Gray was also part of the winning 400 freestyle relay team, along with Trevor Troyer, Jonah Creamean and Nick Kaufman. This foursome also teamed up for a second place in the 200 medley relay, breaking school records in both events.
"It was an amazing evening for us," North Putnam coach Tony Gray said. "The kids were lights out from beginning to end. I think just about every swim was a lifetime best, so I was just blown away.
"Anytime you can take down two school records in one night, it's really great."
Just as proud of the personal bests as the records and wins, the coach could not find enough good things to say about his team.
"This is just a testament to all the work they've done all season," Coach Gray said. "We're just about a day and a half into our taper. I'm expecting a lot bigger things next week from us."
The young Eagles squad, while a little behind in the standings, had two victories and a number of nice swims to be proud of at night's end.
Zane Crosby claimed South Putnam's lone swimming victory when he shaved nearly three seconds off his seed time to win the 200 freestyle.
In diving, the Eagles' Tyler Neumann followed up his WCC win by narrowly defeating Greencastle diver Levi Lewis.
Assistant coach Evan Trotta spoke with pride of the way the team competed.
"We are really proud with how we did despite the outcome of the overall meet," Trotta said. "We kind of compete within ourselves and so on an individual level and as a team, we saw a ton of improvements, lots of PRs.
"We had a few swimmers who were right on that thresholds of whether they would make to sectionals, and they made it in their respective events."
One such individual was Ron Hattenbach, who got his 500 freestyle time under the seven-minute threshold required to swim at sectional. Trotta highlighted this swim and another nice swim by a freshman swimmer.
"Ron went under seven minutes in the 500. And Justin (Marcum) got a heat win as well in the 100 back," Trotta said. "They're both freshmen, so there's lots of potential there."
The teams now have a week to prepare for sectional. With practice schedules tapering to prepare for the tournament, coaches are expecting times to drop even more.
"We swam well all night long and made some very nice setups for what we hope to do next week in the sectional championship," Menzel said.
Gray said his team's goal see how well it can compete in the tough Avon Sectional.
"Our goal is to finish in the top half. If we do that, we're going to have a really successful day," Gray said.
Sectional preliminaries are set for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Avon High School.
At North Putnam
Putnam County Swim Meet
North Putnam 235
South Putnam 147
200 Medley Relay: Nathan Gardner, Taylor Secrest, Nash Firebaugh, Elijah Brattain (G) 1:46.46.
200 Freestyle: Zane Crosby (SP) 1:56.78.
200 IM: Dane Gray (NP) 2:07.38.
50 Free: Nash Firebaugh (G) 23.18.
Diving: Tyler Neumann (SP) 146.15.
100 Butterfly: Elijah Brattain (G) 55.81.
100 Freestyle: Nash Firebaugh (G) 50.02.
500 Freestyle: Nicholas Young (NP) 5:31.05.
200 Freestyle Relay: Nash Firebaugh, Brant Mangrum, Taylor Secrest, Nathan Gardner (G) 1:35.87.
100 Backstroke: Dane Gray (NP) 57.18.
100 Breaststroke: Nathan Gardner (G) 1:09.17.
400 Freestyle Relay: Trevor Troyer, Jonah Creamean, Nick Kaufman, Dane Gray (NP) 3:32.24.
200 Medley Relay: 1. Greencastle (Gardner, T Secrest, Firebaugh, Brattain) 1:46.66, 2. North Putnam (Gray, Creamean, Troyer, Kaufman) 1:46.85, 3. South Putnam (Rayce, Neumann, Arnold, Nees) 1:54.50, 4. Greencastle (Johnson, C Lewis, Kessler, Wood) 1:57.98, 5. North Putnam (Timm, Young, Rogers, Allen) 1:59.59, 6. South Putnam (H Fields, Barnes, Marcum, Duggan) 2:18.63.
200 Freestyle: 1. Crosby (SP) 1:56.78, 2. Creamean (NP) 1:57.97, 3. Harms (G) 2:04.81, 4. Davis (NP) 2:06.14, 5. Sheldon (NP) 2:13.42, 6. Gobert (G) 2:15.32, 7. Ummel (G) 2:19.20, 8. Hattenbach (SP) 2:32.06, 9. E Lewis (G) 2:47.78, 10. A Fields (SP) 2:56.02.
200 IM: 1. Gray (NP) 2:07.38, 2. Gardner (G) 2:16.72, 3. Troyer (NP) 2:19.61, 4. Wood (G) 2:31.71, 5. H Fields (SP) 2:43.89, 6. Johnson (G) 2:44.91, 7. Z Secrest 2:45.94, 8. Marcum (SP) 2:58.07, 9. B Wunderlich (NP) 3:04.91, -- C Lewis (G) DQ.
50 Freestyle: 1. Firebaugh (G) 23.18, 2. Arnold (SP) 23.60, 3. Kaufman (NP) 23.88, 4. Kessler (G) 24.65, 5. T Secrest (G) 24.82, 6. Mangrum (G) 24.82, 7. Nees (SP) 26.92, 8. Timm (NP) 27.27, 9. Duggan (SP) 28.63, 10. C Wunderlich (NP) 30.70, 11. Dunbar (G) 32.09, 12. Shelton (NP) 34.19, 13. Kim (SP) 36.25.
Diving: 1. Neumann (SP) 146.15, 2. L Lewis (G) 142.45, 3. Ruble (NP) 123.20, 4. Rogers (NP) 100.05.
100 Butterfly: 1. Brattain (G) 55.81, 2. Arnold (SP) 57.27, 3. Creamean (NP) 1:01.78, 4. Kessler (G) 1:03.62, 5. Rayce (SP) 1;04.11, 6. Rogers (NP) 1:06.47, 7. Gobert (G) 1:07.14, 8. Ballard (NP) 1:08.84, 9. Watson (G) 1:27.27.
100 Freestyle: 1. Firebaugh (G) 50.02, 2. Troyer (NP) 53.52, 3. Allen (NP) 54.98, 4. T Secrest (G) 55.64, 5. Mangrum (G) 56.59, 6. Nees (SP) 1:00.36, 7. Sheldon (NP) 1:01.38, 8. C Wunderlich (NP) 1:13.15, 9. Duggan (SP) 1:13.40, 10. Shelton (NP) 1:16.79, 11. E Lewis (G) 1:17.53, 12. Barnes (SP) 1:20.73.
500 Freestyle: 1. Young (NP) 5:31.05, 2. Harms (G) 5:42.11, 3. Wood (G) 6:04.93, 4. Ballard (NP) 6:15.56, 5. Noble (NP) 6:17.41, 6. Ummel (G) 6:24.76, 7. A Fields (SP) 6:33.57, 8. Chambers (SP) 6:43.73, 9. Hattebach (SP) 6:55.87.
200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Greencastle (Firebaugh, Mangrum, T Secrest, Gardner) 1:35.87, 2. North Putnam (Kaufman, Davis, Sheldon, Rogers) 1:43.27, 3. South Putnam (Rayce, Neumann, Nees, Arnold) 1:45.38, 4. North Putnam (Ruble, B Wunderlich, C Wunderlich, Noble) 2:00.93, 5. Greencastle (Dunbar, Z Secrest, Watson, C Lewis) 2:01.34, 6. South Putnam (Marcum, Kim, Evens, Hattenbach) 2:07.92.
100 Backstroke: 1. Gray (NP) 57.18, 2. Brattain (G) 58.65, 3. Rayce (SP) 1:02.24, 4. Johnson (G) 1:07.81, 5. Timm (NP) 1:10.77, 6. Allen (NP) 1:11.82, 7. Marcum (SP) 1:24.17, 8. Dunbar (G) 1:30.77, 9. Barnes (SP) 1:40.69.
100 Breaststroke: 1. Gardner (G) 1:09.17, 2. Neumann (SP) 1:15.52, 3. Davis (NP) 1:15.57, 4. Z Secrest (G) 1:16.01, 5. Young (NP) 1:18.56, 6. Noble (NP) 1:19.16, 7. H Fields (SP) 1:19.52, 8. Watson (G) 1:22.05, 9. C Lewis (G) 1:22.53, 10. B Wunderlich (NP) 1:30.88, 11. Ruble (NP) 1:31.28, -- Kim (SP) DQ.
400 Freestyle Relay: 1. North Putnam (Troyer, Creamean, Kaufman, Gray) 3:32.24, 2. Greencastle (Mangrum, Kessler, Harms, Brattain) 3:43.91, 3. Greencastle (Gobert, Johnson, Wood, Ummel) 4:02.32, 4. North Putnam (Allen, Sheldon, Timm, Davis) 4:04.01, 5. South Putnam (A Fields, Duggan, H Fields, Albright) 4:20.40.