It has been a year of firsts for Northwest Whitfield’s swimming program. Earlier this season it was the first individual qualifying for state. Then it was the first females — as a relay — qualifying for state.
Add in a win against Dalton, and it gets sweeter for Northwest.
In both teams’ senior night meet with Chattanooga’s Notre Dame, the Lady Bruins won Monday at Dalton with 144 points while the Lady Cats finished second with 113 points and the Lady Irish (43) finished third. In the boys meet, Dalton dominated with 155 points, while Northwest (77) finished second and Notre Dame (66) in third.
It was both Dalton’s and Northwest’s final meet before the state meet Feb. 8-9 in Atlanta, and it was the participating seniors’ final chance to face their rivals. It ended great for the Northwest girls and Dalton boys.
Northwest’s swimming program is in its sixth season. In the first meet of this season, the Lady Cats held on for a narrow 117-115 victory. This time, the Lady Bruins came out on top. According to Dalton Charles Todd, it is the first time Northwest’s girls have beaten the Lady Cats.
“It has been an historic season,” Northwest coach Marta Hannah said.
Winning for the Lady Bruins were: Natalie Williams, Daniela Hannah, Macie Maret and Marlee Bingham in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2 minutes, 10.57 seconds; Hannah (200 individual medley, 2:36.07); Bingham (50 freestyle, 27.72); Maret (100 freestyle, 1:03.25); Hannah, Maret, Ana Hannah and Marlee Bingham (400 freestyle relay, 4:17.37).
The Lady Cats’ winners were: Nineve Arriola (100 butterfly, 1:10.01); Oli Valdez (500 freestyle, 6:14.30); Chandler Kinser, Valdez, Romina Mendoza and Arriola (200 freestyle relay, 1:56.27); Mendoza (100 breaststroke, 1:22.43); and Susan Meinders (diving, 206.10).
Dalton’s boys winners were: Ethan Young, Pierson Scarborough, Taylor Mathis and Taylor Dale (200 medley relay, 1:41.79; and 400 freestyle relay, 3:44.02); Dale (200 freestyle,1:53.44; 100 breaststroke, 1:01.80); Young (200 individual medley, 2:06.50; 500 freestyle, 5:08.69); Michael O’Brien, Alan Trejo, Sam Reeves and Mathis (200 freestyle relay, 1:35.18); and Mathis (100 backstroke, 1:00.31).
Northwest’s boys winners was Matthew Pipkin (100 freestyle, 51.71).
Now, the focus turns to state, a place some of the Dalton boys know a little about. Dalton individuals qualifying for the state meet include: Scarborough (50 freestyle; 100 breaststroke); Dale (100 butterfly; 100 backstroke); Mathis (100 butterfly 100 backstroke); Young (100 butterfly; 100 backstroke); Trejo (200 freestyle; 500 freestyle); Austin Richard (100 breaststroke); Arriola (100 backstroke); and Meinders (diving). Dalton also has four relay teams qualified, including: Scarborough, Dale, Mathis and Young (200 medley; 400 freestyle); and O’Brien, Reeves, Trejo and Chris Kazmierski (200 freestyle; 400 freestyle).
This is more going to the state meet than last year, said Dale, who won three state titles last season and was joined by Scarborough as an individual state winner.
“We have more people making individuals this year than last year, so we definitely have more numbers,” Dale said. “The problem is actually getting them to come back for the finals.”
That makes a ton of difference as Dalton tries to bring home a team state title in the Class A-5A group.
“If everybody comes through with times,” Cats coach Charles Todd said, “then we could definitely be a top-3 team or even win.”
Northwest’s 200 freestyle relay group of Chandler Rickett, Ellison Beard, Triston Smith and Pipkin continues a four-year tradition for the Bruins of qualifying a group for the event. However, the Bruins also send Pipkin in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle as the first Northwest individual.
The Lady Bruins’ 200 freestyle relay (Dala Hufstetler, Ana Hannah, Maret and Bingham) also is the first individual or relay on the girls side to qualify. The group qualified last weekend at a Westminster meet.
“Me and Macie Maret were sitting there watching the clock,” said Ana Hannah, Marta Hannah’s daughter and Daniela Hannah’s sister. “I didn’t know the time, but she did. When she jumped, I jumped.”
The Dalton seniors recognized at the meet were: Vincent Chazal, Dale, Anai Delgado, Matthew Franey, Kimberly Gallardo, Kazmierski, Melanie Lipscomb, Meinders, OBrien, Haley Richards, Scarborough and Macy Wilson.
The Northwest seniors recognized were: Beard, Trent Fordham, Rickett, Jake Rogers, Lorena Balino, Maggie Kalafut, Anna Stevens and Williams.
• Murray County girls 44, Coosa 27: In a game played on Monday night after last Friday’s game was postponed because of the weather, the Lady Indians built their lead through the first half and rolled with a balanced attack for a Region 7-2A victory.
Holly Stanfield led Murray County (7-14, 4-6) with 10 points, while Caitlyn Richardson, Caitlyn Sims and McKenzie Carroll each scored seven. Eight different players scored for the Lady Indians.
“It was pretty spread out and we played really good team ball,” Murray County coach Michael Hill said.
• Murray County boys 67, Coosa 62 (OT): Down by seven points with three minutes left to play, the Indians were able to tie the game 58-58 at the end of regulation and clamped down the defense in the overtime.
Murray County (11-10, 6-4) outscored Coosa 9-4 in the extra frame to move above .500 on the year.
“I am proud of the guys for how they came out and played,” Indians coach Greg Linder said. “Our execution for the last seven minutes on the offensive and defensive end was great. Coming off of a four-day break and travelling on a Monday, just to get a win, we will take it any day.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair all night with the biggest lead by either team being seven points.
Brady Todd led the Indians with 23 points, while Matthew Corbin finished with 22 points and Jake Ice had 10.