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Maconaquah edged out in thrilling swim dual by Oak Hill

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Maconaquah and Oak Hill rewarded those who came out to Monday’s swimming dual meet with a night more fitting for February than December.

The Golden Eagles walked out with a pair of wins but needed every point they could grab as they narrowly won the boys’ meet 94-92 while Braves were nudged out in the girls’ meet 97-89.

Maconaquah boys’ head coach Brad McManus said the meet brought out many incredible swims from the team.

“On paper, we lose by 20 points, so for us to close that gap to two points, I cannot complain at all,” McManus said. “There were so many best times and great swims from the guys.

“Alex Davis kicked it in gear in the 400 Free Relay when he needed to and the 50 Free. Brendan Manus, who’s been sick lately, went 2:29 in the 200 IM, with Hunter Klutz, who swam the IM for the first time, just behind Oak Hill in 2:31, to name a few.

“The kids dug deep and did very well,” McManus added.

Girls’ head coach Janet McManus was also very pleased with what the team accomplished.

“Overall, I cannot be upset one bit,” McManus said. “The girls did everything they could tonight.

“We were missing Allee Nethercutt, so our 100 Fly was a little different but I’m not sure how much difference that might have made. The girls had outstanding races time after time after time and we’re proud of every single one of them.”

The boys’ meet was one full of snipes in the final meters as both teams pulled off huge wins, especially in the second half of the meet.

Maconaquah started off with a win in the 200 Medley Relay through Davis, Manus, Hunter Hays and Nolyn Tubb in 1:50.07 with Manus grabbing second in the 200 IM in 2:29.73.

Davis won the 50 Free in 24.05 before Dalton Outlaw grabbed a big upset over Oak Hill’s Luke Caiden in diving by a 260.95-258.65, four days after both set their respective school records in the event.

After the break, Hays picked up a win in the 100 Fly in 1:01.70 before Tubb snatched another win away from Oak Hill’s Jon Holz in the 100 Free after doing the same in the medley relay, winning in 54.08.

Tubb then nicked Holz a third time as the anchor leg of the 200 Free Relay, winning the race by .16 seconds in 1:40.42 along with Manus, Klutz and Josh Edgington.

McManus was particularly pleased with the way Tubb competed on the night.

“Nolyn Tubb, I don’t have enough good words to say about this kid,” McManus pointed out. “He works his butt off in practice and it’s starting to show as he brought us back to win both the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays.

“In the 100 Free, he also outswam the kid beside him by a second in the second 50 meters to win the race. As a coach, a kid like that with the heart, determination and drive makes me so happy that he’s on the team.

“We told the rest of the guys we need that kind of drive and relentlessness from everyone,” McManus added.

The Golden Eagles would get those results back in the following races when Dalton Scheffler skimmed past Davis in the 100 Back by .14 seconds and Arik Gamble overtook Hays by .20 seconds in the 100 Breaststroke.

With the score at 88-84 in favor of the visitors going into the 400 Free Relay, Maconaquah needed a 1-2 or 1-3 finish to take the meet and got the first part through Klutz, Hays, Davis and Dawson Thompson in 3:46.74.

The second relay team of Edgington, Calvin Conlee, Zach Gray and Richie Leary nearly got the second part, holding a lead over Oak Hill’s second team but ultimately missing out by less than a second on third place, giving the Golden Eagles the final two points to win the meet.

In the girls’ meet, Oak Hill dominated the top spots, winning 11-of-12 events, but Maconaquah’s depth allowed them to keep the meet tight until the end, placing 2-3 eight times on the night.

The Braves won the first race of the evening as Abby Shrock, Janet Johnston, Bailey Hays and Anna Borden won the 200 Medley Relay in 2:04.78.

Alaina Simmons and Riley Jones went 2-3 in the 200 Free with Johnston picking up second in the 200 IM. Borden and Hays went 2-3 in the 50 Free and Raygan Plothow and Natalie Tubb went 2-3 in diving before the break.

Borden and Hays went 2-3 again in the 100 Free while Simmons picked up second place in the 500 free.

Maconaquah grabbed a 2-3 finish in the 200 Free Relay through the second-place team of Simmons, Riley Jones, Abby Ravesloot and Holly Householder and the third-place team of Sydne Leary, Madelyn Lorenz, Paula Ripoll and Rachel Little.

The Braves then went 2-3-4 in the 100 Back and 100 Breaststroke through Shrock, Lydia Jones and Brittney Smitley in the former and Johnston, Ravesloot and Lorenz in the latter, though Johnston was edged out of first in the closest race of the night by Oak Hill’s Tori Templin, who won the race by .02 seconds.

The hosts finished the meet with a final 2-3 in the 400 Free Relay behind the second-place team of Simmons, Borden, Johnston and Hays and the third-place team of Riley Jones, Lydia Jones, Little and Shrock.

As the meet went on, McManus said the girls were fully committed to each race and constantly wanting to know what they could do to stay close.

“The girls, when they came up to the block, were asking what they needed to do before every race,” McManus said. “They did what they needed to do and worked as hard as they could all meet.

“Anna did an outstanding job time after time, having an excellent 50 Free time. We mixed up the 200 Medley Relay with Allee not being here but we’re glad we did because that’s the fastest time we’ve had in that race in a while.

“We went second, third and fourth in the 100 Back with Brittney Smitley, after a rough patch, dropping five seconds for the best time she’s had in a while,” McManus added.

Maconaquah takes on Tippecanoe Valley later this week with both coaches noting there would be experimentation at the meet as the swimmers began to eye up the next big dual against Rochester December 19.

“Valley has a very good sprinter that went to the state meet last year,” Brad McManus said. “We know what they have and we’ll mix up our lineup to get some times from that meet.

“We’ve got Rochester coming up in a couple of weeks and the way the boys competed tonight, we should be able to pick up a solid win there.”

“This was excellent prep for Rochester in a couple of weeks,” Janet McManus added. “We now have an idea of where we want to go and what to do in that meet.

 “Tippecanoe Valley, who we have on Thursday, is a different kind of fun meet than tonight, a meet where you can kick back, laugh and have fun.”