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Rowan swimmers stout in 3A Central Regional

GREENSBRO —Rowan County was well-represented on Saturday at the 3A Central Regional Swimming and Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
South Rowan’s girl’s swimming and diving team finished second in the region, edging out Northern Guilford by 11 points for the runner-up trophy. The Raiders relied on their vaunted relays, a dominating performance in the diving event and a lights-out performance in the 50 freestyle to achieve the highest regional finish in program history.
On Saturday morning, South’s trio of divers finished 1-2-3, with Madyson Campbell taking first, Brittany Luckey taking second and Katie Carlton finishing third. The Raiders began the swimming portion of the competition on Saturday evening with a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay. That relay included Faith Casswell, Leslie Franks, Casey Pruitt and Taylor Kluttz.
The night got better for South when Franks returned to the pool for her first individual event. The junior dropped nearly a second and leap-frogged five opponents, including SPC champion Cathleen Rogers, to win the 50 freestyle. Nicole Mauldin and Taylor Kluttz added fuel to the fire with seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively, Mauldin qualified for the state meet in the process. Faith Casswell cut a second to finish seventh in the 100 butterfly before Mauldin returned to the pool for eighth in the 100 free.
South’s 200 freestyle relay team of Mauldin, Kluttz, Sabrina Broadway and Franks as well as the 400 freestyle relay team of Mauldin, Kluttz, Casey Pruitt and Casswell placed third, while Franks added a fourth place in the 100 breaststroke and Casswell touched seventh in the 100 backstroke.
Pruitt was 17th in the 200 IM and 18th in the 500 free. Broadway was 22nd in the 100 butterfly.
With sophomore Brooke Waller leading the way, East Rowan’s girls were 13th. Waller was eighth in the 100 breaststroke and sparked the Mustang’s 200 freestyle relay to a seventh-place finish. Waller led off the relay, which also included Emma Ritchie, Tori Gaul and Hailey Bartleson. For her part, Bartleson capped off her senior season with 10th in the 200 freestyle. The 200 medley relay team of Jessica Yelland, Melissa Fischer, Waller and Bartleson finished 15th, while the 400 free relay team of Bartleson, Karlie Neigel, Gaul and Waller finished 11th. Fischer was 13th in the 100 breaststroke.
Carson finished 21st. The 200 medley relay team of Jana Bradshaw, Sayah Boyd, Kinsley Bean and Katie Nuotilla got the evening started with a 17th place finish. Sophomore Ashlee Wagoner finished 16th in the 200 IM and 13th in the 100 butterfly. Wagoner, Bradshaw, Brooke Myall and Nuotilla were 18th in the 200 freestyle relay, while Boyd finished 17th in the 100 breaststroke.
West was 24th, scoring points in the 200 free relay, with Kristen McNabb, Sami Rayl, Tyler Myers and Mikayla Graham finishing 15th. The same foursome was 19th in the 400 free relay. Graham was 24th in the 50 free.
• On the boy’s side, South again led the county, finishing sixth.
There were no divers and no individual stars, but the Raiders did what they’ve done all season, grind away and quietly pick up points.
Stetson Johnston, Nathan Shorter, Steven Lyons and Reagan May swam to a seventh-place finish in the 200 medley relay to open the night.
The Raiders had a trio of competitors in the 200 freestyle, with Andrew Perry, Dustin Jenkins and Blade Blumenthal going 24th, 28th and 37th respectively. Stetson Johnston qualified for states in the 200 IM with a seventh-place effort, while Shorter placed 15th in that event. May and Tyler Fuller went 10-11 in the 50 free. Lyons took 14th in the 100 fly. Jenkins and Perry took to the pool again for the 500 free, finishing 11th and 12th.
South’s 200 free relay was its highest finish on the men’s side. Fuller, Lyons, Alex Reed and May took fourth in the event. Another trio of Raiders competed in the 100 backstroke. Johnston finished 6th, Hunter Altman finished 20th and Kurtis Reed was 22nd.
Shorter became South’s second individual state qualifier with a seventh-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. The Raiders capped off the day by swimming out of the B heat to snag a spot at the state meet in the 400 free relay. That relay included Fuller, Lyons, May and Johnston.
Rowan’s best individual male was East Rowan’s Jason Troutman. Troutman lit up the pool en route to a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke. He added a seventh in the 100 butterfly and will advance to the state meet in both events. Troutman was also the key leg of East’s 200 medley relay, teaming with Charles Goff, Robert Egloff and Drake Adams to finish sixth, just ahead of the Raiders. Goff, Nathan Leazer, Caleb Beaver and Troutman were sixth in the 400 free relay as well. Beaver tied for 20th in the 200 freestyle, while Goff was ninth in the 50 freestyle and Egloff was 14th in the 100 breaststroke. The Mustangs picked up another ninth place in the 200 freestyle relay (Leazer, Wyatt Zander, Adams and Beaver).
It’s been a long time coming for reigning county swimmer of the year John Patella. The senior has been leading the Cougars for four years, but until Saturday had never qualified for the state championships. No more. The drought ended in style as Patella teamed with Heath Mitchem, Ryan Turney and Henry Brown to take the bronze medal in the 200 freestyle relay to reach states.
Patella was also 15th in the 200 freestyle and 10th in the 100 freestyle. Patella, Turney, Brown and Mitchem teamed up again for a 10th-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Turney and Mitchem finished 16th and 30th in the 200 freestyle, respectively. Mitchem was 17th in the 100 free, while Matt Saul, Zarod Tucker, Caleb Hall and Dalton Cauble were 21st in the 200 medley relay.
West Rowan fielded two relays at the regional championships. Cade Cranford, Joseph Ward, Patrick Waldo and Thomas Webb finished 20th in the 200 free relay. The same group was 23rd in the 400 free relay.
Qualifying swimmers and divers from South, East and Carson will compete at the 3A State Championships next Friday and Saturday at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.

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