PHS swimmers bound for state

PARKERSBURG – Motivation is quite the player when it comes to the Parkersburg High School boys swim program and this week’s state meet.

Between freshman Preston Padden and junior Sean Snider, the Big Reds are looking to make it a clean sweep in the four individual freestyle events.

“Preston and I have talked about it,” Snider said. “We think it would be awesome if we swept the freestyle events at states.”

At the West Virginia University Natatorium in Morgantown, the boys compete beginning at 8:30 a.m. today followed by the girls session set for a 4:30 p.m. start. The start times for the male and female divisions remain the same for Friday’s final heats.

Padden is seeded first in the 100 free and third in the 50 free.

“It was a bit rough because I’ve been sick lately, but I have been getting a lot better lately,” Padden said. “My times have been getting better as well.”

Qualifying for the state meet has become old hat for Snider, who will represent PHS in both the 200 and 500 freestyle for the third straight year. Last year as a sophomore, he placed second in the 200 free and third in the 500 free.

This year, Snider is seeded second in the 500 free and third in the 200 free.

“I started the season late because I also ran cross country for Parkersburg, so I was pretty far behind since everyone else had two to three months of training in,” Snider said. “I put in a lot of work since November and was getting in about eight practices a week, so I’m pretty much caught up.”

A total of six boys and eight girls will compete for PHS. Rounding out the PHS boys lineup are Stephen Cottrell (200 IM, 100 fly), Nic Cheuvront (50 free, 100 free), Peyton Hughes (100 free, 100 back) and Eric Eisenmann (100 back) – in addition to the 200 free and 400 free relays.

On the girls side, eight members will represent PHS: Claire Collett (200 free, 500 free); Sarah Snider (200 free, 500 free); Jen Standley (200 free, 100 free); Katie Cooley (200 IM); Alexa Standley (50 free, 100 fly); Tara Foster (50 free, 100 fly); Lacey Dulancey (50 free, 100 free); and Hannah Wareheim (500 free and 100 breast) – in addition to the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

“We swam well at regionals, but we know we can do better,” PHS coach Linda Alt said. “If our prayers are going to be answered, then we will peak Thursday and Friday.”

Another school approaching this week’s state meet with much anticipation is Parkersburg South. Especially on the boys side after the Patriots edged the Big Reds by three points (112-109) for the regional championship at Brooke High School?

South’s magical ride began with an OVAC title followed by the Region I title two weeks later.

“Our motto this year has been ‘Making memories’ – winning the OVAC and the regional in the same year is a great memory,” South coach Steve Lutz said. “This week at state, we are just going to make the most of it.”

The numbers are reversed on the southside, which fields eight boys and six girls.

In the boys field, South is represented in every event: Garrett Fink (200 free, 100 fly), Joe Miller (200 free, 500 free), Kinzie Bailey (200 free, 500 free), Garrett Depergola (200 IM, 100 breast), Lane Burton (200 IM, 100 back), Corey Johnson (50 free, 100 free), Evan Clark (500 free) – in addition to the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

The highest ranked Patriot is Fink, who is seeded fifth in the 200 free.

“With our team, we call it small ball,” Lutz said. “We don’t have the home run hitter.”

A total of six girls will compete for South, including Anna Pasternak (50 free), Rachel Kirk (500 free) and Emily Gersper (100 breast) – in addition to the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

“The sky’s the limit for the girls,” Lutz said. “They grew up a lot at regionals.”

Williamstown’s lone representative at the state meet is sophomore Kristianna Wepple, who will swim both the 500 free and the 100 back.