The Dominion Post  

Morgantown, University start state swim meet

Created on:   Wed, Feb 14, 2018   11:27 PM

Last modified:   Wed, Feb 14, 2018   11:27 PM

For The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — It all comes down to this.

Over the next two days, swimmers from across the state will descend upon Morgantown for the WVSSAC state meet, to be held at the WVU Natatorium, and for Morgantown and University high schools, the main concern heading in is the little things.

“We worked with them on flip turns, starts and finishes. We’re trying to focus on the details that can make that split-second difference,” MHS head coach Matt Jernigan said of his swimmers..

“We’re at a point now where swimming is such a mental game. There are no redo’s, there are no timeouts. You get up and go. If you’re not mentally prepared and focused, those seconds — even tenths of a second — are crucial. It’s the fine details that we need to clean up.”

Every tenth of a second could be vital, especially for the Mohigans, who enter the two-day meet with hopes of claiming the team title for the first time since 2012.

“I want to see our swimmers succeed in their events,” Jernigan said. “I hadn’t really put thought into whether we can make a run at a state title. Looking at it now, we have a shot.”

It will not be an easy task for MHS. Limited in numbers, the Mohigans need every point they can muster in the team race. Luckily for Morgantown, the four competitors on the girls’ side have proven they are up to the challenge.

With seniors Abigail Riggs and Abby Voorhees and sophomores McKenna Moore and Riley Pierce, MHS not only has two of the top relays in the state, but also boasts some of the top individual times.

In all, the Mohigans posted times that were either best or second-best at the regional level in five individual races, on top of having the second-best time statewide in the 200-yard freestyle relay and the top time in the 400 free relay.

As for the races where MHS finished outside the top two, Jernigan hopes tougher competition at state can bring out the best in his swimmers.

“The seed times are based on the regionals. Our region was slower,” he said. “I’m hoping having them side-by-side with these other swimmers this weekend, we’ll see better times.”

Based on the seed times, Jernigan’s alma mater Fairmont Senior enters as the favorite, but three other schools have a real shot to take home the girls’ team championship. Apart from improving their own times, the Mohigans also could get help in that quest from their crosstown foes, the Hawks.

UHS has only one swimmer seeded in the top four in an individual race — Jacqueline McCutchan, in the 100-yard backstroke, a race paced by Fairmont Senior’s Kelsie Drennen. A victory for the junior could ultimately help close the gap between the Mohigans and the Polar Bears.

In the long run, though, the primary focus for UHS is on individual success.

“This is what they’ve been working for all season,” UHS head coach Joanna White said. “I think they have confidence in themselves. At the end of the day, it’s a just matter of bringing it.

“I want to see them happy with their times. They’re the ones that have been working for this. At the end of it, you want them to be happy. That’s the big thing, that they can walk away with no regrets.”

State qualifiers (seed positions in parentheses):


McKenna Moore: 200 freestyle (2), 100 butterfly (5), 200 free relay (2), 400 free relay (1).

Riley Pierce: 50 free (1), 100 free (1), 200 free relay (2), 400 free relay (1).

Abigail Riggs: 500 free (2), 200 IM (2), 200 free relay (2), 400 free relay (1).

Abby Voorhees: 100 backstroke (8), 200 free relay (2), 400 free relay (1).

Carson Gresak: 50 free (18).


Emma Kitzmiller: 100 fly (20), 200 free relay (9), 200 medley relay (11).

Victoria Maumbe: 200 free relay (9), 200 medley relay (11).

Jacqueline McCutchan: 50 free (6), 100 back (2), 200 free relay (9), 200 medley relay (11).

Mia Rice: 200 free (5), 100 breaststroke (9), 200 free relay (9), 200 medley relay (11).

Nathan Mizener: 50 free (17).

Griffin Nordstrom: 200 free (5), 500 free (5).