PILOT MOUNTAIN — Forbush High School hosted its first 2A Western Piedmont Athletic Swim Conference Championship with the boys taking a competitive runner-up finish to West Stokes’ first, and Surry Central girls claiming first at the Armfield Civic Center on Friday.
After the hours of hard, competitive swimming drew to its conclusion, it was Forbush’s Austin Doub that claimed Most Valuable in boys and Surry Central’s Katelyn Southard, Most Valuable in girls.
Surry Central girls coach Dara Kowalcik and West Stokes boys coach Marie Plummer were voted Coach of the Year.
Kowalcik said, “I was shocked. Every time it is mentioned I still cry. Every coach out there is a class act.”
Team fans and supporters packed the center with shouts of support as officials with timers and watchful eyes hustled to record each swimmer’s finish in 22 events from five high schools.
Coaches encouraged and coaxed the best out of the swimmers for hours as they mounted platforms in a tense moment before an event’s beginning or during the final stretch of a finish. Several swimmers showed incredible leadership when asked to swim new events during strategic moments. One such swimmer was Renee Vanhoy of Forbush who filled in the gap in the 100 fly to clinch a third.Vanhoy’s usual event is the 500 free.
Boys final scores were: West Stokes 182; Forbush 156; North Surry 67; South Stokes 42; Surry Central 35.
Girls final scores were: Surry Central 157; West Stokes 134; Forbush 108; South Stokes 43; North Surry 40.
Forbush Falcons Head Coach Mark Beuter said, “We thought we could stand a chance as long as things went our way, but West had no errors on relays or DQs.”
Doub’s times were competitive with last season’s, when he qualified for regionals and state finals in the 100 fly and backstroke.
Falcon Sarah Winters finished first in both of her events, the 200 yard IM and 100 yard breast. Beuter commended Winters’ performances, especially in relays. Tough competition came against Surry Central, in particular against Katelyn Southard.
Beuter noted that Maris Bey had a good meet and called Vanhoy’s performance in the 100 fly a nice surprise and good season ending.
The Falcons entered into the new 2A conference this season with a roster of 23. Some of the larger teams have as many as 27 to 28. Under that pressure, many Forbush swimmers still finished with personal bests during the tournament.
The Forbush boys team has won conference championships in the past. Beuter said they have finished in the top 16 in state finals and sent swimmers to regionals and state competition every year.
The Falcon girls team this season is a young group, mainly sophomores and freshmen. Beuter said they will have depth and accomplished talent at next season’s start.
Beuter began coaching for Forbush in the fall of 2005 and the prior swim coach was Oz Prim, now the coach of Elkin and Starmount.
“These kids have fun, but when they needed to get serious, they did. They are really good kids to coach.”
Kowalcik said her team did what it needed to do with every one of them performing better than what was expected. She said they are one of the “sweetest” she had coached but also “intense.”
In particular, Surry Central girls had great performances by Haley Stanley, Madison Robertson, Christine Hawks, Kaitlin Kidd and Katelyn Southard. Also good finishes were put in by Mckenzie Reeves, Amelia Walsh, Laura Dobbins and Belle Brendle, said Kowalcik.
Surry Central’s boys team swam with only eight on the roster and did the best they could, said Kowalcik.
Golden Eagle senior Oz Secundino joined the team a year ago just learning to swim and in a short time came a long way, said Kowalcik.
The other senior, Nate Blevins, swam the 100 fly for Central, one of hardest events. “All the kids love him,” added Kowalcik.
In addition, Kowalcik said Jared Hembree and Wesley Wood did well in the finish. She expects next year’s team to be bigger, she said.
First finishes were: SCHS — Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay; FHS — Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay; Katelyn Southard SCHS — Girls 200 Yard Free; Robbie Scoville WSHS — Boys 200 Yard Free; Sierra Winters FHS — Girls 200 Yard IM; Sam Stevenson WSHS — Boys 200 Yard IM; Laura Pulliam WSHS — Girls 50 Yard Free; Kenton McCollum FHS — Boys 50 Yard Free; Christine Hawks SCHS — Girls 100 Yard Fly; Austin Doub FHS — Boys 100 Yard Fly; Katherine Glenney WSHS — Girls 100 Yard Free; Kenton McCollum FHS — Boys 100 Yard Free; Katelyn Southard SCHS — Girls 500 Yard Free; Robbie Scoville WSHS — Boys 500 Yard Free; SCHS — Girls 200 Yard Free Relay (Christine Hawks, Kaitlin Kidd, Madison Robertson, Kaitlyn Southard); WSHS — Boys 200 Yard Free Relay (Josh Zolnierowicz, Sam Stevenson, Alex Manley, Robbie Scoville); SCHS Madison Robertson — Girls 100 Yard Back; FHS Austin Doub — Boys 100 Yard Back; Sierra Winters FHS — Girls 100 Yard Breast; Samuel Trivette — Boys 100 Yard Breast; WSHS — Girls 400 Yard Free Relay (Emma Shelton, Gabrielle Maynard, Katherine Glenney, Laura Pulliam); WSHS — Boys 400 Yard Free Relay (Josh Zolnierowicz, Sam Elter, Sam Stevenson, Robbie Scoville).
Reach Tanya Chilton at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 835-1513.