HUNTINGTON — A West Virginia state title likely is out of reach for local high school swimming teams, but several individuals said they are eager to show what they can do against the state’s best.
Several local athletes will participate in the state swim meet Feb. 21-22 at the West Virginia University Natatorium in Morgantown.
The contingent is led by Huntington High’s Henry Sheils, who was stellar Saturday in the Region IV meet at Marshall University’s Fitch Natatorium. Sheils, a sophomore, won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.77, besting runner-up Carson Rumer of Winfield by .40 and teammate Isaac Sutherland by .87. All three made the state tournament.
Sheils also won the 100-yard butterfly in 54.30, outdistancing second-place Kolton Hoffman of Capital by 3.1 seconds.
Hurricane freshman Bradley Boyd qualified in the 200-yard freestyle in 28.25, just off the pace of 1:49.58 set by Ian Adler of G.W., and the 500-yard freestyle, which he won by more than six seconds in 5:01.27
Two local girls qualified in he girls 200-yard freestyle. Spring Valley sophomore Lauren Peters was second in 2:08.68, 2.44 seconds off the pace set by G.W.’s Emma Martin. Huntington St. Joe freshman Katerina Smith qualified with a third-place finish in 2:11.94.
Huntington High sophomore Kindsey Kelly qualified in the girls 50-yard freestyle in 25.94, second to George Washington’s Ashlee Wilcher, who finished in 25.16.
Winfield freshman Madeline Foster won the 100-yard butterfly in 59.95. She was the only girl in the region to break the one-minute barrier. Foster also won the 100-yard freestyle in a meet-record 53.91, besting Hurricane junior Isabella Hart, who was second in 54.81. Hart, though, won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:11.12, a whopping 7.42 seconds ahead of runner-up Katie St. Jean of George Washington. Jodi Wright, a junior from Hurricane, finished third in 1:19.79 to earn a berth in the state meet.
Local relay units that qualified for the state championships included Huntington High’s girls in the 200-yard freestyle. Lucy Weir, Emma Conaway, Brigit Nilles and Lindsey Kelly finished second in 1:49.52, 1:14 behind a squad from George Washington. The Highlanders boys team of Cameron Hall, Garrett Cyfers, Sutherland and Sheils won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:34.94, edging Hurricane’s team of Boyd, J.R. Newman, Nathan Neville and Reid Painter, who came in second in 1:35.60.
Huntington High’s 400-yard freestyle relay boys squad of Hall, Khaled El-Shazly, Sutherland and Sheils finished second in 3:30.97. George Washington won the event in 3:27.53. Hurricane’s boys qualified in the 200-yard relay.
The Redskins quartet of Newman, Painter, Boyd and Neville finished second in the region in 1:46.81. George Washington won in 1:44.74.
The Hurricane girls also qualified in the 200-yard medley. Reagan Phillips, Hart, Lexi Antol and Katy Limanen combined for a time of 2:00.1, second to George Washington’s 1:53.41. The Redskins girls 400-yard freestyle relay team of Phillips, Megan Townsend, Antol and Hart was second in the 400-yard freestyle in 3:58.28, more than seven seconds off the pace set by a G.W. squad.
George Washington won both the boys and girls regional team titles.
Huntington High was second, Hurricane third, Winfield fifth, Huntington St. Joe sixth, Cabell Midland 11th, Buffalo 14th and Point Pleasant 16th in the boys standings. On the girls side, Hurricane was second, Huntington High third, Winfield fourth, Huntington St. Joe fifth and Spring Valley sixth in the 12-team field.