Yorktown Girls, Langley Boys take VHSL Class 6 State Titles!

By Reach for the Wall Staff

Hampton, VA February 18

The Hampton Virginia Aquaplex, which opened in October 2022, hosted this year’s championship meet which took place February 16 (Diving) and February 18, (Swimming). Last year, Battlefield and Yorktown girls were separated by a mere 2 points for the team title, with Battlefield prevailing. This year, Yorktown took the crown by 4 points over Battlefield! Yorktown jumped out into the early lead, placing 2nd and Battlefield 6th in the 200 Medley Relay, a heat that had places 1-3 separated by .06 and 4-7 separated by .97! (Yorktown 34, Battlefield 26) Rachel Conley (1:51.16) and Clara McCarthy (1:54.26) scored big for Yorktown in the 200 Freestyle by placing 2nd and 6th while Battlefield’s Katherine Walters (1:58.31) placed 14th. (Yorktown 64, Battlefield 29) In the girls 200 IM, Emma Redman from Justice was clear of the field in an Automatic All American time of 1:59.46, while Yorktown’s Nora Sherman placed 6th in 2:06.67. (Yorktown 77, Battlefield 29) Camille Spink got things going for Battlefield as she posted an Automatic All American time winning the 50 Freestyle in 22.55. Her teammate Madison Richardson placed 11th to help Battlefield close the gap on Yorktown. (Yorktown 77, Battlefield 55) The 100 Butterfly saw two swimmers from Yorktown in the ‘A’ Final, with Rachel Conley finishing 3rd (55.22) and Sophie Fredericks 6th in 56.63. Battlefield’s Alyssa Sagle also in the A final captured 5th place with a time of 56.10. (Yorktown 106, Battlefield 69). Camille Spink roared to the win in the girls 100 Freestyle with an Automatic All American time of 48.56, just shy of the State record set by Torri Huske (48.04). This garnered another 20 points for Battlefield while Yorktown did not have any swimmers in the top 16. (Yorktown 106, Battlefield 89).
The 500 Freestyle was won By Delaney Bookstein from Forest Park in an All American Consideration time of 4:53.20, just ahead of Alyssa Martel from Patriot who also met the Consideration standard finishing in 4:55.61. Battlefield had Kathryn Walters finish 7th (5:06.62), while Yorktown had Lauren Fatouros finish 8th (5:09.53) and Clara McCarthy finish 10th (5:07.38). (Yorktown 124, Battlefield 101)
Onward to the 200 Free Relay where it took a blazing 21.67 anchor leg from Camille Spink to out touch the team from Justice who also got an amazing anchor split from Annika Wentland 22.83! This win earned Battlefield 40 points while Yorktown finished in 9th for 18 points, their time would have been 3rd overall, but they missed the top 8 in the qualifying heats. (Yorktown 142, Battlefield 141).
Alyssa Sagle continued the charge for Battlefield, placing 2nd in the 100 Backstroke where she and Lexi Stephens both posted Automatic All American times. Lexi won the event in 53.55 (top time in the area) and Alyssa took 2nd in 54.44. Yorktown’s Nora Sherman was 5th and Sophie Fredericks 11th to complete the scoring for the two teams (Yorktown 162, Battlefield 158). The 100 Breaststroke was won by McLean’s Catherine Hughes in an Automatic All American time of 1:01.28, Emma Redman 1:02.90 (Justice) and Lilla Wilbur 1:03.48 (Robinson) placed 2nd and 3rd, both achieved All American Consideration times! Yorktown’s Bridget Morris Larkin placed 4th in 1:04.34, just .01 ahead of Battlefield’s Emma Hannam who touched 5th in 1:04.35. Lauren Fatouros also scored for Yorktown, placing 10th. (Yorktown 184, Battlefield 172)
Heading into the final relay, Yorktown held a 12 point lead on Battlefield. Battlefield had the top seed heading into the race and Yorktown could finish no worse than 5th to tie for the team title. As the race unfolded, Langley, Yorktown, and Woodson were all ahead of Battlefield after the 200, Alysa Sagle put Battlefield back in the mix with her split of 50.83, 2.5 seconds faster than Langley, Yorktown and Woodson’s 3rd swimmers. Camille Spink then dropped the fastest slit of the field, anchoring in 48.02 to capture the top spot for Battlefield. Yorktown’s Rachel Conley (51.04) held off Woodson’s Jillian Ferrari (49.97) to take 3rd in the race, earning 32 points and secure the team title for Yorktown! Final team score: Yorktown 216 Battlefield 212.

The Boys team title race was less dramatic as Langley (219) was 34 points clear of 2nd place, however the battle for 2nd was tight as Robinson (184), Yorktown (177) and Herndon (175) were within 10 points of each other!

Herndon started the night off with a bang as they set a new State and Meet record in the 200 Medley Relay. the team of Kim-Long Nguyen, Noah Dyer, Rian Graham, and Liam Rayson posted a 1:30.74 for the win!

Fresh off the relay win, Noah Dyer stepped up in the 200 Freestyle and blasted an area best and Automatic All American time of 1:37.33 to vault Herndon to the team lead. In the 200 IM, Robinson’s JT Schmidt threw down a blistering 25.93 backstroke split to distance himself from the field and ultimately win the race in an Automatic All American time of 1:48.23 over Herndon’s Rian Graham who finished in in a Consideration time of 1:50.74. The next two finishers Aaron Jia, McLean (1:51.24) and Eli Martin, Washington-Liberty (1:51.49) also garnered All American Consideration times.
Lake Braddock’s Josh Howat was the clear favorite from prelims and didn’t relent, as he finished the 50 Freestyle in an Automatic All American time of 20.29, almost a full second ahead of the field.
Earlier in the meet, Nolan Dunkel led off Yorktown’s 200 Medley relay in 22.35 (the only swimmer to go under 23 on the backstroke leg), picked up where he left off by taking the 100 Butterfly race out fast- splitting a 21.84 to Rian Graham’s 22.18. Dunkel then came home in 25.49 for a new meet record, Automatic All American time of 47.33! Rian Graham (Herndon) was also under the All American standard as he touched 2nd in 47.99, with Dawson Truong (Forest Park) capturing 3rd in a Consideration time of 49.39.

Josh Howat (Lake Braddock) had a stern challenge from Noah Dyer (Herndon) in the 100 Freestyle, however prevailed and set a new State/Meet record in the process. He swam an Automatic All American time of 44.06, ahead of Noah Dyer’s 44.66, also an Automatic All American time to claim the victory!

Bobby DiNunzio (Ocean Lakes) defended his title from last year in almost identical time, finishing in 4:24.56 (last year he won in 4:24.65) surpassing the Automatic All American standard. Tyler Whitacre (Wakefield) was 2nd in 4:29.63 and Bryce Rohr (John Champe) was 3rd in 4:30.30 each within the All American Consideration standard. Lake Braddock and Yorktown battled to the final touch in the 200 Free Relay, with Josh Howat churning up the anchor leg in 19.62, overall time of 1:24.37 to get the win! Yorktown’s Nolan Dunkel anchored in 20.29 to nab 2nd place for his in an overall time of 1:24.62, which was also an All American Consideration time, Thomas Jefferson was 3rd, also obtaining a Consideration time in 1:25.49.

As with the Butterfly race, Nolan Dunkel was put to the test in the 100 Backstroke. He and JT Schmid (Robinson) swam stroke for stroke through the first part of the race, with Nolan edging ahead at the end, out touching JT 47.91 to 48.55, both earning Automatic All American.
Dawson Truong (Forest Park) and Andrew Bolz (Robinson) battled for the top spot in the 100 Breaststroke, Truong took the win in an Automatic All American time 55.61, followed by Bolz in 56.12, an All American Consideration time. Two others made the Consideration time in this race, Eli Martin, Washington-Liberty, in 56.32 and Vincent Nguyen, Patriot, in 56.42.
The final relay for the Boys was full of remarkable swims, with the top 4 teams surpassing the All American Consideration standard. Lake Braddock took the top spot on the strength of Josh Howat’s 43.43 anchor leg! Herndon had an early lead as Noah Dyer led off in 44.90, giving them a 1+ second lead on the field. JT Schmid led off for Robinson in 45.79, but Robinson could not hold on to 2nd and throughout the exchanges dropped back to 4th. Thomas Jefferson had 3 swimmers split 46’s to stay steady in 3rd, while Rian Graham (Herndon) split aa 45.15 on the anchor to touch 2nd and Andrew Bolz (Robinson) split a 45.55 to try to get past Thomas Jefferson, but came up short. The top 4: Lake Braddock: 3:06.11, Herndon 3:06.73, Thomas Jefferson 3:06.75 and Robinson 3:07.13. Thrilling!!

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