Brooke’s Wayne wins 500 free

STEUBENVILLE – According to senior Zach Hamm, the Linsly boys and girls swim teams had a little extra motivation to win team titles at the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Swimming Championships at Steubenville Big Red’s Natatorium.

Longtime swim coach Bill Brubaker was honored before the meet and it was announced that Brubaker’s name would now bestow the championship meet.

“That was unexpected that they were going to name the meet in honor of him, and we said ‘we’re getting it for him. This is for Brubaker,'” said Hamm, who won four golds as the Cadets ran away with the Class 3A-1A boys and girls team titles and scored the most points on the afternoon with 394.

“That came way out of left field,” Brubaker said of the meet now bearing his name. “I had no idea. I’m extremely honored. I would like to thank the OVAC, Tom Rataciazek, Sam Mumley, who got me started in this when I ran the first one in 1981.

“It’s been a great run. I’ve had a lot of great coaches from schools who have done a lot to help things go well.”

There were a few surprises, one of which came from Brooke sophomore Jessie Wayne after winning the 500 free in 5:49.27.

“I was swimming against great competition like Bekah Shephard, Emiliee Heilman, Emily Lederman and Hannah Cebula, so, yes, I did surprise myself,” Wayne admitted after swimming the last four 50s the best in 35.39, 35.08, 34.67 and 33.98.

“I had it set in my mind what my goal was, to hold a certain pace,” she said. “My goal is definitely to try to win. After about the 350 maker, I kind of saw that I was in the lead, but I wasn’t entirely sure.

“This has set my standards higher than what I had expected. It definitely opened my eyes a little bit.”

Weir’s Dominique Gilbert, Allyson Martin, Kristen Mastrantoni and Alexis Virtue, all seniors, placed second in the 200 free relay in 1:53.15.

Steubenville Catholic Central was second in the boys competition with 46 points.

The Linsly girls totaled 173 points, 66 more than second place Barnesville.

The Parkersburg South boys won the Class 4A-5A team championship with 337 points, besting second-place Morgantown’s 255.

The Lady Mohigans grabbed the Class 4A-5A team trophy with 342 points ahead of Wheeling park’s 255.

“You can accomplish everything individually, but when it comes to the team and everyone steps up and does what they do, we all win and we all accomplish something as a team and that’s a much better feeling,” said Hamm, who won the 100 fly in pool record 54.89.

He also touched the wall first in the 100 back in 57.46 and teamed with Drew Bastian, Chris Reardon and Reese Boyd to win the 200 medley relay in 1:46.22 and partnered with Bastian, Reardon and Cameron Thompson to capture the 200 free relay in a meet record 1:33.87.

Wheeling Park’s Cecelia Jebbia was also a four-time winner Saturday.

She won the 200 free (2:01.46), 100 free (55.90) and partnered with Heilman, Katlyn Curnes and Cristin Dolan to win the 200 medley relay in 1:58.81, which set a pool and meet record, and the 400 free relay comfortably in 3:56.24.

“This meet really helps us as we get ready for regionals and states,” said Jebbia, a junior, who was favored in her individual events.

“It’s really nerve-racking and it’s a lot of pressure, but I really do think it helps me to win my races. It really pushes me. I kind of like it.

“I think it (being the top seed) helps me swim better. I like the pressure of it. I get very nervous, but I think that little bit of adrenaline rush really helps me.”

Parkersburg South coach Steve Lutz, like Brubaker, also took a bath in the pool after winning the team title.

“We’re very happy,” he said. “This is the first time our boys have won the conference. We’re swimming fast before regionals and states, so that’s a good thing.

“We’re swimming very well. We’re in a good situation in relays and individuals showing a lot of depth.

“We really enjoy swimming in this meet with teams from Ohio that we don’t see very often. This is the largest conference in the country, it’s quite an honor and privilege to swim in that conference and then to be able to win it, is a huge thrill. It’s fantastic.

“We have a good mix of kids, freshmen to seniors, and everybody contributed today.”

The day, though, belonged to Linsly.

The Cadets won half of the 22 events, finished 1-2 in the boys 50 free and did not finish in the top five in five races.

“It takes a lot of work and takes a lot of dedication on their part, coming in over Christman vacation, when a lot of people are home,” Brubaker said.

Since the Cadets do not participate in the state meet, the OVAC meet culminates their team season.

“This is the meet for most of our kids,” he said. “We’re taking a group of them (eight boys, four girls) over to the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships over in Philadelphia, but those are on qualifying times.

“For the rest of the team, this is it. We have a dual meet Tuesday with Edison, then their season is over.”

Linsly senior Cameron Thompson won the 200 free comfortably in 1:50.31.

Cadets sophomore Zoe Scarpone won the 200 IM in 2:14.82 and the 100 fly in 1:02.12.

Scarpone teamed with Samantha Schaal, Eve Scarpone and Brie Weimer to win the 200 free rfelay in 1:49.94.

Bastian, a sophomore, had the first surprise of the day when he beat Barnesville senior Chris Baker in the 200 IM in 2:05.31. Baker came back to win the 500 free in 5:06.88, .05 seconds ahead of Reese, a freshman.

John Marshall junior Jade Worrell grabbed the 50 free in 26.12.

Linsly finished 1-2 in the 50 free with sophomore Liam McNeil (23.29) and sophomore Reardon (23.77).

St. Clairsville’s Michael Eaton touched the wall first in the 100 free in 49.62 and the 100 breaststroke in a pool and meet record 59.90.

Morgantown’s Ileana Ille won the 100 back in 1:04.26.

Curnes, a Wheeling Park junior, won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.49, eclipsing the meet record of 1:09.93 set by Weir High grad Kelsey Ferguson in 2010.

Linsly finished the meet by coming from behind to win the 400 free relay. Reese, Marc Gittings, McNeil and Thompson finished in 3:35.72.