Golden Warriors: Eastern Wayne's Chenier seizes 50-, 100-free events
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 9, 2009 1:46 PM
It almost looked too easy.
Eastern Wayne's Mason Chenier added four gold medals to his already packed trophy case with four decisive wins during the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A eastern regional swimming championships contested Saturday in the Goldsboro Family Y pool.
The nautical superstar captured the mens' 50 yard freestyle, 100 yard freestyle, and anchored the Warriors' victorious 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
"It definitely wasn't easy, I can assure you that," said Chenier. "There were some great swimmers here, and in the relays we were really pushed by Ragsdale and West Carteret."
The final race of the night proved to be the Warriors' most exciting moment.
After three legs of the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Warriors were locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Ragsdale High School. The Tigers' third swimmer touched the wall with a one-length advantage.
Chenier entered the water with one thing on his mind.
"I knew I had to go, there was no time to worry," said Chenier. "I just focused on my stroke and went as hard as I could."
Chenier not only ran down the leader, he flew by him with ease. In the end, the Warriors' had a new school record time of 3:23.88 to show for their efforts. Chenier, Melvin Shipman, Marcus Corbett and Alexander Robinson celebrated as the other teams finished their final length.
"You never want to say, 'Our star will win it for us'," said Eastern Wayne head coach Sydney Myers. "The first three guys put Mason in good position and he came through."
The Warriors will be well represented in the state meet this weekend at Koury Natatorium in Chapel Hill.
Aside from the 400 relay, Robinson captured third place in the 200 individual medley and finished first in the 500 freestyle. Colin Hobbs became the first diver in Eastern Wayne history to reach the state finals with a cumulative score of 213 points.
"You never know what will happen when you run into the teams from the west," said Myers. "I think if we swim the way we did today, we have a chance to show well for ourselves."
But the Warriors won't sneak up on anyone -- especially Chenier.
"Every program has peaks and valleys," said Myers. "The last couple of years we have certainly been on one of our peaks."
Joining Eastern Wayne will be swimmers from Charles B. Aycock and Southern Wayne.
The Golden Falcons finished seventh in the women's' 200-yard medley relay and eighth in the 200 yard freestyle relay. Ashley Potts, Bryce Connolly, Carrigan Chastain and Taylor Allen will be looking to improve on a 200 medley time of 2:10.60 at states.
Chastain also advanced in the 200 free with a 2:09.47 which was good enough for seventh. Allen will take part in the 50 free after a fifth-place finish on Saturday.
Southern Wayne standout Phil Howell advanced in the 50 free with a third-place time of 22.67. Howell will also have an opportunity to advance in the 100 free if his time of 52.50 seconds holds up as one of the "next eight" qualifying marks.
The top eight finishers in each event earn automatic bids to the state meet. The next eight-best times, no matter the region, will also compete.
In the men's team standings, Eastern Wayne (204 points) finished second to Ragsdale (255). Reagan High (193) wound up third. On the women's side, Reagan (344) swam home in first place. Northern Guilford (188) finished second and Ragsdale took third with 164 points.
2009 N.C. High School
Athletic Association Class 3-A
Eastern Regional Swimming
(at Goldsboro Family Y)
Ronald Reagan 344
Northern Guilford 188
Jamestown Ragsdale 164
South Central 127
Western Guilford 125
Southern Nash 114
Harnett Central 106
Burlington Williams 102
Wilson Fike 95
200 medley relay -- 1Reagan 'A", 1 minute, 59.28 seconds; 200 free -- Rachel Wilson (Reagan), 1:54.84; 200 IM -- Eileen McGowan (Reagan), 2:18.4; 50 free -- Caitlin Ramsey (Reagan), 25.29; 100 fly -- Alison Simon (W. Guilford), 1:01.39; 100 free -- Anna Pfeiffer (Washington), 55.62; 500 free -- 1. Wilson (Reagan), 5:07.83; 200 free relay -- Morehead 'A", 1:47.52; 100 back -- Hillary Costin (S. Central), 1:02.15; 100 breaststroke -- Pfeiffer (Washington), 1:09.5; 400 free relay -- Reagan 'A', 3:49.14.
Jamestown Ragsdale 255
Eastern Wayne 204
Ronald Reagan 193
Northern Guilford 172
West Carteret 146
Western Guilford 121
Harnett Central 113
Southeast Guilford 83
Rocky Mount 81
Nash Central 77
200 medley relay -- Eastern Wayne 'A', 1:45.82; 200 free -- Sawyer Hubbard (Reagan), 1:48.73; 200 IM -- Michael Baric (E. Alamance), 1:58.07; 50 free -- Mason Chenier (EW), 21.45; 100 fly -- Bobby Bittner (W. Carteret), 51.00; 100 free -- Chenier (EW), 47.56; 500 free -- Alexander Robinson (EW), 4:50.79; 200 free relay -- Reagan 'A', 1:33.2; 100 back -- Bittner (W. Carteret), 51.95; 100 breaststroke -- Zach Blom (Williams), 59.78; 400 relay -- Eastern Wayne 'A', 3:23.88; 1-meter diving -- Colin Hobbs (EW), 213 points.
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