BY YANEEK SMITH
BOWLING GREEN — Despite overseeing such a successful program for the last two decades, Port Clinton girls swim coach Danny Diaz had yet to see his team win a district championship.
That all changed last week when the Redskins scored 205 points at a Division II district tournament at Bowling Green State University, just enough to hold off Wauseon, which scored 202 points. Oak Harbor was third in the 38-team field with 193 points.
As usual, Port Clinton was led by super sophomore Kami Periat, who won the 50 freestyle in 23.54 seconds, and the 100 butterfly in 56.84. She was also part of the 200 medley team that included Gabbi Porter, Carlie Blaesing and Alexa Taylor, which won in 1:49.47, and led the 200 free relay that was comprised of Porter, Blaesing and Taylor.
“It’s the first district title in program history,” said Diaz. “We’ve been second, third, fourth and fifth. It was awesome to experience it after all these years.
“We just wanted to perform well and continue the great swimming. The girls came ready to swim, and I believe they have more left in the tank. I think they’re ready to make their mark at the state tournament.”
Port Clinton clinched the win in the final event — the 400 free relay — when Porter, Davie Avis, Zoey Barr and Kaylie Simpson finished 10th in 3:54.02.
Other Redskin swimmers also qualified for the state tournament in Canton. Blaesing was second in the 200 free (1:58.60) and fourth in the 100 free (54.68), Porter was third in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.31), Taylor came in seventh in the 200 individual medley (IM) in 2:22.94 and Brigitte Schroeder took seventh in diving with 355 points.
Alyse Sorg led the Rockets, winning the 100 backstroke in 59.87 and took third in the 100 free in 53.87 while Skyler Turner won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.47. She is also a state alternate in the 50 free, where she swam a 24.97.
The 200 free relay team of Turner, Sorg, Amelia Mizell and Paige Krupp finished first in 1:38.71. The 200 medley relay of Krupp, Mizelle, Turner and Sydney Overmeyer took second in 1:52.97 and the 400 free relay quartet of Sorg, Krupp, Mizelle and Marissa Mapes was fourth in 3:43.94.
“They swam incredibly well. We had goals going in to get all three relays to state. Alyse and Skyler could be district champions, we knew that going in,” said Oak Harbor girls coach Andrea Sorg.
On the boys’ side, Lexington won going away with 268 points in a field of 39 teams, followed by Wapakoneta (204), Ashland (175), Napoleon (166) and Oak Harbor, which was fifth with 146 points. Port Clinton was eighth with 94 points.
The Lajti twins’ performance stood out as they qualified in four events — two individual and two relays. Karter Lajti was third in the 100 backstroke in 55.38, Karson Lajti took fourth in the 200 IM (2:01.51), followed by Karter (2:01.84) and Karson took sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.09.
The Rockets had two relays finish seventh and advance. The 200 medley relay team of the Lajtis, Nathan Buderer and Keegan Witt finished in 1:40.67 and the 400 free relay quartet (Buderer, Karter Lajti, Karson Lajti, John Aston) swam a time of 1:40.67.
Logan Brown was the star for Port Clinton, finishing second in the 200 free (1:43.42) and fourth in the 100 fly (52.10). He joined Ryan Zam, Hunter Bechtel and Carter Blaesing in helping the 400 free relay team that finished fourth in 3:20.13; and the 200 free relay team that took fifth in 1:30.87.