St. Clairsville looks for more hardware at OVAC swim meet
WHEELING — Plenty of new faces will have the opportunity to leave their mark in Saturday’s OVAC Bill Brubaker Swimming Championships.
After Wheeling Park captured four straight OVAC 5A girls titles and back-to-back boys crowns, it will be tested by OVAC newcomers Dover and New Philadelphia.
“Dover is loaded,” Wheeling Park coach Pat Durkin said. “They are the favorites. They qualified four girls in every event and their top four swimmers are in the Top 16 in their events.”
Despite a talented group coming from Dover, the Patriots have a strong trio in Abby Turner, Jenna Bopp and freshman Lacie Langmyer.
Turner, last year’s champion in the 50 (24.92) and the 100 (54.43), will once again be the top seed in both events, while Bopp is the top seed in the 200 IM.
Langmyer will be looking to leave a lasting impression in the 200 and 500 events.
“Individually, I think Abby Turner is in real good position to win two first place medals and Bopp is in a good place to win gold,” Durkin said. “Langmyer should be on the medal stand in her events, too. They are our three horses.
“Freshman Maddie Ross looks really good and sophomore Victoria Anderson should have a nice day, as well.
“Our lone senior is Emma Delk and she will do well in distance events.”
On the boys side of things, New Philadelphia looks to have an advantage.
“The New Philly boys are tough, along with Parkersburg South,” Durkin said. “They will both be really good.”
Leading the Park boys into action will be Devannand Kuttan in the 200 IM and the backstroke, along with Isaac McCabe in the breaststroke and the 50 and Max Kellas in the butterfly.
As for the small school competition, St. Clairsville comes in as back-to-back champions in both the boys and girls events and are in the conversation once again to bring home titles.
The St. C. girls 200 medley relay, 200 relay, 400 relay teams are all seeded first, along with Casadie DiBetta, who is the No. 1 seed in the butterfly and the breaststroke.
“I really do believe that if our girls stay true to what they can do, they can be successful,” St. C. swim coach Ernie Banks said. “We have good momentum running into this (after winning the Buckeye 8 Championship).
“But we are in the middle of high-yardage training right now because we can’t just focus on OVAC. We can’t slow down our training for this meet because we have bigger objectives in mind.”
Maggie Marody, DiBetta, Kylie McKeegan and Brenna Planey should each make their presence felt for the Red Devils, while Lyndsee Probst and Andrea Horton will also make a positive impact on the team.
“Maggie Marody, Casadie DiBetta, Kylie McKeegan and Brenna Planey each played a role in all 12 event wins to help lift us to a Buckeye 8 title and all of our kids are really great kids.
“Lyndsee Probst qualified for the first time in the 200 IM. That was her ultimate goal and she did it.
“Andrea Horton came out of nowhere. She is a freshman and qualified in two events. She has a good attitude and is coming on strong.”
The St. Clairsville boys will also be strong behind Ethan Banks, Matthew Marling, Nathan Yost, Jack Casper and Caleb McKeegan but the Linsly boys will be breathing down their neck looking to claim their first title since 2017.
“We are seeded well in several events and we are thin in a couple,” Linsly coach Bill Brubaker said. “It’s going to be close between my boys and the St. C. boys.
“William Yuan (butterfly and breaststroke), Luke Zwicker (100 and breaststroke) are seeded and poised to do well, as is Bernie Suchoza (100 and 200).”
Brubaker also believes Josh Schultz (200 IM and breaststroke), Jack Weir (butterfly) and Frederico Colloca-Bianchi (backstroke) will be key contributers for the Cadets.
Martins Ferry’s Jarrett Bolinger will also be a threat as he continues his outstanding swim career as the top seed in the breaststroke and the 100, while John Marshall’s Victoria Kidney is the No. 1 seed in the girls’ backstroke event.