BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
OAK HARBOR — The Port Clinton and Oak Harbor girls swim teams showed why they are two of the best in the area as both teams saw plenty of swimmers — both individually and on relays — qualify for the district tournament.
The Redskins had six first-place finishes, five of which were individual efforts.
Kami Periat had two first-place finishes, winning the 50 freestyle in 24.20 seconds, good for a pool record, and finishing first in the 100 butterfly in 59.28. Carlie Blaesing won the 200 individual medley (2:19.20) and was second in the 100 free (55.33), Alexa Taylor was first in the 500 free (5:48.81) and Gabbi Porter took first 100 breaststroke (1:12.26). The 200 medley relay team of Porter, Periat, Blaesing and Alyssa Diaz took first in 1:54.06.
Zoey Barr took second in the 200 free (2:11.06), and Hannah Cross was close behind at third (2:13.75). Katie Rodgers was second in the 500 free (5:56.19) and Cross was third (6:05.42). Emily Holcomb took fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:09.65) and Diaz was sixth (1:09.82).
The two other relays came in second. The 200 free relay (Periat, Porter, Barr, Blaesing) finished in 1:41.66 and the 400 free relay (Cross, Taylor, Diaz, Davie Avis) finished in 4:04.31.
“I thought that Carlie did an amazing job, and Kami Periat did a really good job, especially for a freshman,” said Port Clinton coach Danny Diaz. “They set the tone, especially with the medley relay doing well. It was another step for us.
“I love the sectional tournament because it lets our kids know where they are. Making it to the district level is awesome, and some of our swimmers have their eyes set on the state tournament.”
Port Clinton has some relay teams with a legitimate shot at getting to the state tournament.
“They’re seeded pretty high,” said Diaz. “I tell our swimmers to take that with a grain of salt. I tell the kids that our goal is to try to make it to the final heat at the district meet. Hopefully we get a bid to the state tourney.”
The Rockets, like the ‘Skins, had six first-places finishes, four of them individual.
Elayna Krupp won the 100 free in 54.28 and took second in the 50 free in 24.69. Skyler Turner had a similar showing, placing first in the 100 backstroke (1:02.34) and second in the 200 IM (2:22.58). Alyse Sorg won the 200 free by over four seconds in 2:06.83 and was third in the 100 backstroke in 1:03.53.
Sydney Overmyer was first in the 500 free (6:05.64) and Emily Haar was second in the 100 fly (1:05.83) and the 100 breaststroke (1:13.13). Paige Krupp was second in the 100 backstroke (1:03.34) and third in the 100 free (58.40), Amelia Mizelle took third in the 50 free (25.76), Amanda Clark was fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.43), Marissa Mapes took fourth in the 200 free (2:14.04). Abby Beehler took fifth in the 500 free (6:07.53) and sixth in the 200 free (2:15.79) and Sydney Overmyer was fifth in the 200 free (2:14.20).
The Rockets won two relays, the 200 free and the 400 free. The 200 free relay team of Turner, Sorg, Mizelle and Elayna Krupp finished first and set a pool record of 1:39.35. The 400 free relay team of Haar, Mizelle, Turner and Paige Krupp won the race in 3:52.02. The 200 medley relay team of Sorg, Mizelle and Paige Krupp and Elayna Krupp took second in 1:54.34.
“We view sectionals for the top athletes as a formality. Let’s have a good meet, and let’s get down to business at districts,” said Oak Harbor coach Andrea Sorg. “There is a trend for tech suits at sectionals, but we do not wear them. We’re hoping to hold time and maintain and not be any slower.”
Sorg talked about the job her relay teams did.
“They did well. The medley relay was a little off, that might’ve been one of our slowest times all season. We’re not concerned, we’ve been significantly faster,” she said. “The 200 free relay team broke their own pool record and school record that they set at the end of January.”
Sorg talked about what she expects out of her team at districts.
“I think they are ready to do some damage,” she said. “They’re rested up, they’re seeded well, and it’s going to be a fun, emotional day.”
The Oak Harbor boys had a great showing, too.
Troy Metcalf was the lone Rocket to win an individual event, taking first in the 50 free in 22.67. He also finished second in the 100 free (49.88). Karter Lajti took second in the 200 IM (2:11.18) and third in the 100 backstroke (59.33) and his twin brother, Karson, was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.48) and fourth in the 100 fly (57.51).
Nathan Buderer was third in the 200 free (1:59.21) and fourth in the 500 free (5:25.80), Keegan Witt was third in the 200 IM (2:13.69) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.61), John Aston was third in the 100 fly (57.48) and fifth in the 500 free (5:32.22) and Malachi Kennedy was fourth in the 100 backstroke (59.99) and sixth in the 100 fly (1:00.21). Two other swimmers qualified for districts, Eli Sherman and Spencer Heintz. Sherman was fifth in the 100 free (53.39) and Heinz was seventh in the 500 free (5:35.97).
The 200 medley relay team of Metcalf, Sherman and the Lajti brothers finished first in 1:43.02, the 400 free relay team of the same quartet was second in 3:29.46, and Buderer, Sherman, Witt and Kennedy were third in the 200 free relay, finishing with a time of 1:37.74.
“They have amazed me all year long. We had a big loss last year — we graduated so many seniors, so we knew this year might be a struggle, but those kids have stepped up to the plate,” said Sorg. “Troy is swimming at a level I have not seen him at before. The Lajti twins tend to be the workhorses and the leaders of the pool, and it’s been infectious.”
The Port Clinton boys, meanwhile, were led by Logan Brown, who had two first-place finishes. He was first in the 200 free in 1:47.47 and won the 500 free (4:55.78). Garrett Hirt won the 100 free (49.62) and was third in the 50 free (22.88), Ryan Zam won the 100 fly (55.02), Noah Shaw was second in the 500 free (5:09.01) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.80) and Carter Blaesing was third in the 100 free (50.31).
Amazingly, all three relay teams were victorious.
Shaw, Zam, Blaesing and Garrett Arnold finished first in the 200 medley relay in 1:44.96, Brown, Blaesing Shaw and Hirt came in first in the 200 free relay in 1:32.34 and Brown, Blaesing, Zam and Hirt won the 400 free relay in 3:20.43.
“I love watching the boys swim, there is no let up. They did awesome,” said Diaz. “Those four guys in the relays, they do such a good job. It was pretty exciting.
“We’re excited about competing at the next level. We face teams like Perkins, Sandusky and Oak Harbor — the Northwest District is one of the fastest districts in the state, in my opinion. I’m excited.”