PILOT MOUNTAIN - The Buckin’ Elks dominated the Mountain Valley Conference swim meet last Wednesday at the Armfield Civic Center.
The Lady Elks captured their fourth-straight conference title, while the Elkin boys swam to a second-place finish in the team standings, completing a dominant night in Pilot Mountain.
“Every girl that was there scored points for us. It was a real team effort - we won because of everybody,” head coach Oz Prim explained. “We didn’t get that many first places, but everybody contributed. People stepped up and did really well.
“Eight different girls earned medals and got all conference. All eight guys got all conference too. So that’s really what you want,” he added.
Palmer Duncan and Lakan Beaver earned the only individual gold medals for the Lady Elks. Palmer swam to a first-place finish in the 200 yard individual medley (2:36.09), while Beaver touched first in the 100 yard backstroke (1:23.40).
The Elkin girls earned seven total silver and bronze medals in the meet.
Palmer added a silver in the 100 yard butterfly, while Ellie Hooper added one in the 100 yard backstroke. Payton Nicholson and Lakan Beaver finished second and third, respectively, in the 50 yard freestyle.
Kirstan Beaver and Nicholson brought home silver and bronze in the 100 yard freestyle, while Makayla Dimmette finished third in the 100 yard backstroke.
“We have four girls going to sectionals - that’s Palmer Duncan, Lakan Beaver, Payton Nicholson and Kirstan Beaver,” Prim said. “They all placed top two in their events. They swam well.”
“The freshmen girls did great. None of them have a background in swimming like some of the others. They really helped us. We were behind for most of the meet until we placed four or five girls in the breaststroke. And after that, it was over,” he added.
The Lady Elks secured the title with two medals in the relays, including a gold in the 400 yard freestyle.
Duncan, Nicholson and Lakan and Kirstan Beaver dominated the event, finishing in 4:39.28 to capture the gold. The team came up just short in the 200 yard medley, falling to North Wilkes with a time of 2:10.92.
The second relay team of Hooper, Dimmette, Jillian Lewis and Carolyn Blackburn added a third-place finish in the 200 yard freestyle.
Despite the impressive showing and the four-straight titles, Prim, who was named the conference’s coach of the year for the girls, doesn’t want to use the word “dynasty.”
“It’s not really a dynasty,” he said. “We just have great girls who are very coachable. They take pride it in and they wanted to win. They put the team in front of themselves.”
The Lady Elks edged North Wilkes in the final team standings 140-114. Forbush (66), Starmount (51) and Wilkes Central (48) rounded out the team scores.
The Elkin boys bested the girls by earning three relay medals - including two golds - to swim to a second-place team finish.
Ashton Gant, Tyler Eaton, Coley McCulloch and David Morton edged Forbush in the 200 yard medley to capture gold with a time of 1:50.52. The team followed up the win with another gold medal in the 200 yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:40.33.
Chance Hogan, Austin Coley, Joshua Newson and Dustin Delaney added a second-place finish in the 400 yard freestyle relay.
Eaton added two individual medals to power the Elks. Eaton placed second in the 200 yard individual medley (2:27.06) and in the 100 yard butterfly (1:03.06).
Morton and McCulloch battled throughout the meet, finishing tied for second in the 50 yard freestyle with an identical time of 24.56 and finishing in second and third, respectively, in the 100 yard freestyle.
Coley added a silver in the 200 yard freestyle (2:24.85) and a bronze in the 500 yard freestyle (6:52.98). Gant finished third in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:15.66.
“Tyler has a shot to make it to states individually,” Prim said. “Four boys are going to sectionals - Coley McCulloch, Ashton Gant, David Morton and Tyler Eaton. The men’s relays did great; they have a chance to win state.”
Elkin finished behind a dominant Forbush team who captured the team title, 202-127. Wilkes Central rounded out the top three with 56 points.
As both Elkin teams prepare for sectionals and a potential trip to the state championship meet, Prim said he just wants all his kids to have fun.
“The whole idea is to have fun and make memories for the kids. We’re fortunate here because the school is very supportive. We have great kids. I’m lucky in that sense,” he said.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.