Padden, Snider pace boys team

MORGANTOWN – With George Washington establishing its dominance in the team standings, the battle during Friday’s state swim meet at the West Virginia University Natatorium boiled down to a four-team race for runner-up honors.

Even though Notre Dame claimed second place, both Parkersburg and Parkersburg South managed to finish in the top five.

Behind all-tournament selection Sean Snider, who won the 200 freestyle and placed runner-up in the 500 freestyle, along with Preston Padden’s gold medal finish in the 50 freestyle, the Big Reds scored 127 points for third place and the Patriots scored 124.5 points for fifth place.

George Washington claimed its fourth consecutive state title after piling up 231.5 points, while Notre Dame followed with 136 points. Hurricane finished fourth at 125.

“In a two-day meet like this, you always wonder how much adrenaline they have used up that first day,” PHS assistant coach Terry Nisewarner said. “But everybody came out and swam their best times of the season.”

In the second event of the afternoon session, Snider pulled out to an early lead in the 200 freestyle and was never threatened after winning in a time of 1:44.42. It’s the same event Snider placed runner-up to George Washington’s Zach Kidd the past two years.

“The 200 freestyle is my favorite event – I’ve been focused on winning it this year,” Snider said.

In the 500 freestyle, Kidd turned the tables on Snider, who timed out at 4:54.30 for second place.

“I would have liked to win both events, but I got outraced in the 500 freestyle,” Snider said.

For South, Joe Miller stepped on the blocks of the 200 freestyle finals seeded fifth from Thursday’s prelims. The senior, though, moved up one spot by a margin of one-hundredth of a second and placed fourth in a time of 1:53.21. He also competed in the finals of the 500 freestyle and placed fifth (5:07.05).

A total of seven individuals raced in a finals heat for South. Garrett Fink placed fourth in the 50 freestyle (22.47) and fifth in the 100 butterfly (55.92), Kinzie Bailey finished sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:53.46) and sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:13.64), while Garrett DePergola was sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:06.85).

In the relays, South’s DePergola, Bailey, Miller and Fink placed sixth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:36.71) and fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:30.60).

Consolation points for the Patriots were earned by the ninth-place effort of the 200 medley relay, along with Lane Burton’s seventh place in the 100 backstroke and 12th place in the 200 individual medley.

PHS scored points in the championship heats by taking fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:46.94) with Nathan Burd, Stephen Cottrell, Anthony Kist and Nic Cheuvront, as well as a second-place effort by Cheuvront, Kist, Burd and Snider in the 200 freestyle relay (1:32.37). Padden turned in a time of 21.38 in the 50 freestyle.

PHS could have potentially slipped behind South in the team standings on the final event, but the Big Red 400 freestyle relay contingent of Cheuvront, Cottrell, Burd and Snider edged the Patriots for third place by four seconds (3:26.41 to 3:30.60).

“This is the highest finish we’ve had as a team since I’ve been on the team,” Snider said.

Contributing points for PHS from the consolation heats were Cottrell (10th in 100 breaststroke, 11th in 200 IM), Cheuvront (10th in 50 free) and Burd (11th in 50 free).