Warrior boys, Cleveland girls claim ECC swim team titles
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 23, 2013 1:47 PM
Eastern Wayne's boys pulled off a surprise.
Cleveland's girls used their depth.
And each emerged a team champion during the season-ending Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference swim meet contested at B.G. Darden Natatorium inside the Family Y on Tuesday evening.
The Warriors seized their first league title since 2010 and fourth overall in the past six years with a nail-biting 107-105 decision over 2012 ECC champion Charles B. Aycock.
"I thought we had a chance, you always do," EW head coach Sidney Myers said. "Things just worked out extremely well. The kids the last two weeks have been swimming their very best times and have been focused. They're motivated and extremely focused on what they need to do to get better.
"It's all the kids."
Triton, the 2010 ECC champ, placed third with 89 points. Southern Wayne, which had just five swimmers, collected four individual gold medals and compiled 82 points. South Johnston and Cleveland rounded out the six-team event with 58 and 51 points, respectively.
Eastern Wayne pulled off the victory without any gold medalists.
Willie Samson took silver in the 200 free, while teammate Devin Locklear claimed the bronze in the 100 butterfly. Seniors Joseph Henry and Sean O'Connell finished runner-up in the 100 and 500 free, respectively. The duo, along with Willie Smith and Bradley Makdad, earned the silver medal in the meet-ending 400 free relay.
Smith won silver in the 1-meter diving.
A startled Myers gushed with excitement.
"It's been hard work, they've done everything we've asked them to do and they wanted more," Myers said.
Dressed in his tweed jacket and his Crocs squishing on the wet concrete, C.B. Aycock head coach Zeke Jackson praised his team's effort.
The quartet of Travis Thaxton, Devin Hall, Sam Chastain and Dustin Pike pulled out an incredible comeback victory over Triton, and captured the 200 medley relay gold medal. Hall repeated as ECC champion in the 1-meter diving.
Chastain secured the gold medal in the 100 backstroke, secured the silver medal in the 50 free and swam the anchor leg on the 200 free relay that ended up second to Triton. He was joined by Pike, Hall and Thaxton.
Thaxton was runner-up in the backstroke.
"Our boys did absolutely fantastic, everybody gave it everything they had," Jackson said. "Of course, we were really hoping to eke out the two-point difference. Sam and Travis did excellent ... all the guys on the relay.
"Eastern Wayne had a little bit more. It was good competition and that's what the sport is all about."
Southern Wayne senior Chad Davis repeated as the ECC male swimmer-of-the-year after picking up gold medals in the 200 individual medley and 100 free. He also swam the anchor leg on the gold medal-winning 400 free relay that touched the wall in 4 minutes, 09.09 seconds.
Davis was joined on the relay by freshman Austin Edgecomb, Myles Davis and Lonnie Medlin.
"I swam the 200 IM, went out of my normal (routine) so we could get team points," Davis said. "I did my best time. My 100 free was very close to my best time, I just wanted to go faster."
Edgecomb topped the competition with gold-medal performances in the 200 and 500 free. He helped the Saints collect the bronze medal in the 200 medley relay that included Davis, Medlin and Brandon Murray-Cruz.
"It got hard," Edgecomb said after winning the 200. "The first 100 ... got tired but I wanted to get the medal, so I just kept on. I wasn't really worried about the other swimmers, just concerned with my time."
Cleveland didn't rely too much on its depth during regular-season competition, but proved tough to handle in its final ECC meet.
The Rams earned medals in 10 of 11 events and knocked off three-time defending champion C.B. Aycock, 136-110. March Petzinger won the 50 and 100 free, and swam the anchor leg on the gold medal-winning 200 free relay.
Eastern Wayne, which had two individual champions and won the 400 free relay, placed third with 105 points. Triton (69 points), South Johnston (39) and Southern Wayne (10) completed the six-team field.
"Cleveland ... oh my gosh," CBA head coach Linda Chastain said. "We didn't see that (depth) the whole season, especially not on the heat sheet. They swam great. Our team did great, everybody swam their hearts out.
"We had some kids who swam better than I could ever expect. There was some heartbreak, but that happens all the time."
Savannah Sauls continued a recent tradition established by former Golden Falcon teammates. In addition to gold medals in the 200 free, 500 free and 200 medley relay, Sauls was named the ECC female swimmer-of-the-year.
Carrigan Chastain and Bryce Connolly combined to win the previous four swimmer-of-the-year awards.
"It's an honor," said a modest Sauls. "I thought my 200 was pretty good, was my best time of the year. My 500, it could have been better, but I'm happy with it. I'm been practicing a lot with my distances this year, trying to get my splits down in practice."
Joining Sauls on the relay were Taylor Bradshaw, Kylie Robertson and Alexus Lemasters. Bradshaw finished runner-up in the 200 IM and 100 back, while Lemasters took third in the 200 free.
Robertson was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 100 fly. Ashton Wilson took third in the 500 free.
Eastern Wayne freshman Emily Grant won the 200 IM gold, while teammate Lilly Boyette seized the 100 back gold medal. Boyette, Allison Bailey, Kaitlin Tallarida and Tricia Malcolm combined to claim the gold medal in the 400 free relay.
"Painful," Grant said of the IM. "My breaststroke killed me, I really could have gone faster. My main focus was my backstroke and that's where I kicked the hardest, didn't save enough for my breaststroke.
"Usually, Taylor is not that fast ... she's really good and she really brought it to the plate. I had a run for my money in that one."
The Warriors' foursome of Boyette, Brianna Applegarth, Grant and Malcolm took the bronze medal in the 200 medley relay. Malcolm grabbed silver medals in the 50 and 100 free, while Grant was third in the 100 free.
Southern Wayne's Chloe Edwards placed fifth in the 200 free and sixth in the 50 free. Teammate Chloee Britt ended up sixth in the 100 backstroke.
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