Area swimmers set for district

Area swimmers find themselves on the cusp of the state meet.

However, plenty of work remains as a large contingent of area athletes will dive in Friday afternoon with hopes of securing one of the two automatic bids to the state meet, which will be held on Feb. 22-25 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

Before tickets for Stark County are punched, a trip to McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus is in order for the district meet.

The meet gets under way at 2:30 p.m. The swimmers not in the top two will find themselves on pins and needles until probably Saturday night or Sunday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association announces its entire field of swimmers for the state meet.

BARNESVILLE will send a solid collection of boys and girls to the state capital this weekend.

Leading the Shamrocks’ charge is junior standout Christopher Baker, who is seeking his second trip to the state meet in three seasons.

Baker finds himself right in the thick of the chase in the 500 freestyle and the 200 IM. He’s seeded second in both events, posting a 5:07.17 in the 500 and a 2:07.89.

Senior Hunter Yevincy has become a regular at the district level. He’ll seek his first state berth in the 100 backstroke and the 100 butterfly. He’s seeded seventh in the backstroke with a 1:01.32 and a 1:01.23 in the butterfly earned him the 24th seed.

The Lady Shamrocks are led by Carolyn Blattler, who qualified in the 100 freestyle and 200 IM. She swam a 62.24 in the freestyle, which is good for the 27th seed. In the IM, Blatteler owns the 21st best time.

The Lady Shamrocks’ 200 freestyle relay team of Blattler, Gabrielle Fulst, Myka Gordon and Theresa Gallagher posted a 1:56.18, which was good for 17th seed.

The 400 free relay – which includes Blattler, Fulst, Gallagher and Olivia Jones – posted a 4:22.30 for the 12th seed.

BELLAIRE’S lone representative is senior standout Shana Pramik. She’s become a district veteran, but will seek the next step in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She enters with the 14th best time in the 50 at 26.74 and the 12th best mark in the back at 1:06.67.

EAST RICHLAND CHRISTIAN is in just its second year of OHSAA competition, but first in swimming.

The Lions will be represented at the district by junior standout Katie Albert, who’s had a brilliant season. Albert will swim in both of her specialties at the district, qualifying in the 100 and 200 freestyles.

In the shorter of the two races, Albert is seeded 16th overall with a time of 59.81. She owns a time of 2:11.55 in the 200, which is good enough for the 12th best time entering this weekend.

MARTINS FERRY will send a solid delegation, which actually equates to 90 percent of head coach Nick Levi’s squad.

The Lady Riders are led by Shelby Poludniak, who qualified in a pair of individual eventsd and will swim on two relay teams. As an individual, Poludniak will take part in the 200 and 500 freestyles. She posted a 2:17.15 in the 200 and a 6:17.25 in the distance swim at the sectional, which are good for 23rd and 20th seed, respectively at the district.

Alyssa Smith will also take part as an individual. She qualified in the 200 IM after posting a 2:43.80 at the sectional, which is good for the 25th best mark. Smith will also swim on the medley relay and 200 freestyle squds.

The balance of the medley relay team,which finished the sectional in 2:13.20 and is seeded 18th, is comprised of Poludniak (back), Shannon Lewis (breast), Smith (fly) and Beth Hotlosz (free).

The 200 freestyle relay, which includes Smith, Katie Wharton, Lewis and Hotlosz, is in the field with a 2:00.38 at the sectional round.

The 400 squad is seeded 17th after posting a 4:28.29 in the sectional last weekend. The team is made up of Smith, Hotlosz, Lewis and Poludniak.

The lone Riders’ boys entry is the 400 freestyle team of Eric Curry, Eric Bonham, David Buehner and Jonathan Strawn. The foursome posted a 4:44.19, which earned the 29th spot in this week’s field.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE will have a solid mix of boys and girls making the trip to OSU’s campus Friday.

Michael Eaton leads the way. The talented sophomore is seeking a return trip to the state meet and appears to be in prime condition to make a splash toward it. He owns the top time in the 100 freestyle (50.74) and the 100 breaststroke (1:02.60) this week.

His brother, Eric, who is a senior, will continue his quest for his first state-meet berth. He’s the eighth seed in the 100 breast at 1:07.72 and the seventh seed in the 200IM at 2:13.48.

The Red Devils’ three relay teams – the 200 and 400 freestyle as well as the 200 medley relay – will also take part.

The 200 medley squad, which is seeded ninth, is comprised of Eaton, Eaton, Dan Kennon and Michael Blackwell. The 200 freestyle team, which is seeded eighth, is made up of Eaton, Nick Tobin, Blackwell and Eaton.

The 400 freestyle team, seeded 13th, includes: Kennon, Quentin Clark, Tobin and Blackwell.

The Lady Red Devils are led by standout Carly Falcone, who has qualified for a pair of individual events. She swam to the 11th best district time in the 100 breast when she touched at 1:16.54. Her 2:34.63, in the 200IM, serves as the 15th best time.

The Lady Red Devils will also send three relay teams and all are seeded 19th in their respective races.

The foursome of Alaina Fasola, Falcone, Erica Strope and Falon Weidman comprise the 200 medley squad, which posted a 2:13.50. The 200 free team of Megan Hendershot, Weidman, Fasola and Falcone swam a 1:58.71 last weekend.

The foursome of Victoria Hall, Henderson, Weidman and Fasola posted a 4:33.16 in the 400.

St. C. head coach Melanie Eaton did indicate she may substitute seniors Jesse Machovina, who is bound for OSU on a softball scholarship, and Marisa Dwyer into the lineup of the relays.

Staskey can be reached at