South boys dominate Patriot Invitational

PARKERSBURG -Parkersburg South’s boys swim team made a statement on Saturday at the Patriot Invitational, conducted at the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg.

South’s boys not only claimed the championship trophy, but they overwhelmed the competition, amassing 397 points to 247 for runnerup Spring Valley. Wheeling Park was third with 227, followed by John Marshall with 158, Woodrow Wilson (101), Marietta (33), Point Pleasant (16), Weir (13) and Doddridge County (2).

The girls competition also was a runaway as another group of Patriots -the ones from Wheeling Park -rolled to a 306 to 200 win over runnerup Weir. John Marshall was third with 186 while South was fourth with 132. Spring Valley (125), Woodrow Wilson (120), Marietta (1119) and Williamstown (89) completed the field.

Leading the way for the Patriots was freshman Garrett Fink, who won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. He also was part of the winning 400 freestyle relay team -along with Corey Johnson, Kinzie Bailey and Joe Miller -and teamed with Lane Burton, Garrett DePergola and Ryan Pritchard to place second in the 200 freestyle relay.

Bailey won the 500 freestyle and placed third in the 200 freestyle, which was won by teammate Miller, who finished second to Bailey in the 500 freestyle.

Despite nursing a shoulder injury, Burton won the 100 backstroke, with teammate Brady Starcher placing third. Johnson had a pair of thirds, in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. DePergola had a third in the 100 breaststroke and a fourth in the 200 freestyle.

Nathan McVicar was the top scorer for the Marietta boys, placing second in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 200 freestyle.

South’s girls were led by Rachel Kirk’s runner-up effort in the 500 freestyle while Emily Gersper placed third in the 100 breaststroke. The Patriots had a pair of third place relays with Kirk and Gersper joining Anna Pasternak and Ryan Hesslerode in the 200 medley relay and the same foursome competing in the 400 freestyle relay.

Williamstown got a first place finish in the 500 freestyle from Kristianna Weppler, who also was second in the 100 backstroke. Marietta’s top performance was a second place in the 100 freestyle by Lucia Picciano.

South coach Steve Lutz was excited by the improvement his swimmers are showing.

“Every week, we get a little better,” he said. “This is the best we have been yet.”

South has working to develop swimmers who can place in every event and that strategy is paying off.

“The toughest thing we are dealing with is figuring out who fits in where,” he said.

Lutz praised the staff at the Boys and Girls Club for their hospitality. The club’s pool has been the home of the Patriots.

South has its sights set on the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships, which begin a week from Tuesday at Wheeling Park.