By Kevin Prise
MIDDLEPORT — After wrapping up a stress-free victory over Medina, Roy-Hart swimming coach Bruce Matthews was all smiles. He talked about how the team is looking forward to the upcoming holiday break, where the whole team will be able to swim together during practice, as opposed to the norm when the team is split into "A" and "B" groups for practice.
In the meantime, the Roy-Hart boys and girls squads took care of business in Thursday evening's Niagara-Orleans League rivalry contest against the Mustangs. The Roy-Hart boys defeating Medina by a 116-52 margin to earn their 106th consecutive dual-meet victory, while the girls coasted to a 104-66 win. In both boys and girls competition, Roy-Hart won 10 of 11 races.
In boys competition, Roy-Hart improves to 4-0 in league play, while Medina falls to 2-2. On the girls side, Roy-Hart is now 3-1, while Medina is 1-3.
"A lot of our guys swam well, and we were able to get some of the rookies in, too," Matthews said. "You've got to give them a lot of credit. It's been a good start to the season, and we're looking forward to swimming together over break."
On the boys side, Matthews was particularly impressed with the effort of senior Nich DiNardo in the 100 breaststroke. DiNardo doesn't usually swim breaststroke during meets, Matthews said, but was nonetheless able to contend for the title — which was ultimately earned by freshman Tanner Rees with a time of 1:14.76.
Matthews also credited versatile senior Roy Phipps in his efforts as anchor for the winning 200 freestyle relay team, as Phipps swam a swift finishing leg to help Roy-Hart overtake a gutsy Medina relay team that led the race before Phipps entered the pool. The team of senior Kyle Shanahan, junior Ray Sack, senior Ben Werth and Phipps emerged victorious with a time of 1:42.22.
Phipps also won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.18 — 22 seconds in front of the second-place finisher — and won the 100 butterfly at 58.89.
Senior Lyle Wagner also emerged as a double winner for Roy-Hart, winning the 200 individual medley at 2:16.82, and taking the 100 freestyle at 53.96.
The Medina team of Austin Heil, Chase Pecoraro, Austin Brown and Derek Donley won the 400 freestyle relay at 4:04.27. Mustangs boys coach Aaron Moessinger also wanted to credit his 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay teams for posting their best times of the year on Thursday.
On the girls side, Matthews pointed out the efforts of senior Calee Coleman in winning the 500 freestyle at 5:48.94. Coleman is within a few seconds of setting a school record time in the 500 free, Matthews said, and the team looks forward to seeing her break it.
Coleman also won the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:11.32, while freshman Alex Hill won the 200 individual medley (2:41.44) and 100 butterfly (1:14.52). Junior Lindsay Yates emerged victorious in the 50 freestyle (27.65) and 100 freestyle (1:02.66).
Before the season, Matthews noted that his team seemed to be coming together nicely, with senior leaders such as Wagner and Phipps stepping up to help mentor the freshmen and other younger swimmers.
Parents in the crowd echoed the sentiment on Thursday, noting how team leaders have embraced the role and organized team-bonding activities, such as bowling outings, over the last few weeks.
Whatever it is, it's clearly working. The Roy-Hart boys are clearly the team to beat in N-O swimming competition, and aside from Newfane, the girls aren't that far behind.
Barker 111, Akron 31
BARKER — A trio of double winners led the Raiders on Thursday evening, as Barker took care of business against Akron to improve to 3-1 in N-O competition.
Senior Tim Flint won the 200 freestyle (2:11.87) and 100 breaststroke (1:16.18), as the Barker boys won all eight individual races and all three relay races. Senior John Stansbury won the 200 individual medley (2:30.52) and 100 freestyle (57.07), and junior Casey Webb took the 50 freestyle (23.15) and 100 backstroke (1:10.48).
Eighth-grader Andrew Jenks came up big with a victory in the 500 freestyle at 6:44.37, and senior Alonzo St. Louis won the 100 butterfly at 1:05.37.
Akron remains winless in league competition at 0-4. Barker is off until Jan. 7, when it will host Newfane in a league meet.
Barker 95, Akron 75
BARKER — The Lady Tigers hung tough with victories in two relays and two individual races, but Barker pulled away for a 20-point victory in an N-O league meet on Thursday.
Sophomore Emma Jenks paced Barker with victories in the 50 freestyle (28.50) and 100 freestyle (1:05.35), while freshman Christiana Carestia won the 200 freestyle (2:26.17) and 500 freestyle (6:38.03).
Barker senior Brooke Targus won the 200 individual medley at 2:39.52, and senior Hayley Richbart won the 100 breaststroke at 1:22.80.
Akron's Julia Diebel won the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly, but the Lady Tigers fall to 1-3 in league play.
Barker improves to 3-1 in the league.
Tonawanda 56, Barker 36
TONAWANDA — Sophomore standout Caitlyn Mason scored 11 points and added nine rebounds, but the Lady Raiders suffered a 56-36 defeat at the hands of a tough Tonawanda squad in a non-league contest on Wednesday evening.
Tonawanda plays in ECIC IV and is a B-1 school for sectional play, while Barker is a C-1 school. So although the Barker team fell short, coach Jeff Costello was happy to give his team a test against higher-level competition at this point in the young season.
"Tonawanda should be right up there in their division, along with Cleveland Hill," Costello said. "They're going to have a lot of success, someone to reckon with in B-1."
Alanna Herne led the Warriors with 16 points, as Tonawanda built a 15-6 lead after the first quarter and extended the margin to 27-13 at halftime.
Julia Atwater had nine points for Barker, while Olivia Denny added six.
Tonawanda maintained a competitive advantage throughout the game with strong zone defense and good ball movement, Costello said.
"They played a 2-3, and we struggled to move the ball against that," Costello said. "They did a good job at taking away our wings. Defensively, we got beat down the court at times, and they moved the ball well. They worked for it."
Barker returns to Niagara-Orleans League action tonight in a home contest against Akron. Start time is slated for 6:30 p.m.