MORGANTOWN — The only time Friday that University High swimmer Frankie McCutchan wasn’t fast enough was following the boys’ state championships at the WVU Natatorium, and it had nothing to do with the pool.
While giving out all-state plaques, which McCutchan earned, the public address announcer repeated his name over and over again until McCutchan scurried around the pool to where he needed to be.
The public address announcer was being playful, especially since he shares the same name as the younger McCutchan.
Frank McCutchan Sr. announced every event and heat of the state meet, including the opportunity to call his son winning the first state swim title in UHS history.
McCutchan won the 500-yard freestyle (4:53.07), over four seconds faster than second-place finisher Charles Schellhase, of Wheeling Park.
It was an exciting moment for McCutchan, who fell just short of capturing the 200 individual medley title earlier in the meet. He finished second by 0.60 of a second behind Brooke’s Bruce Keener (1:59.08).
But second-place finishes are something UHS head coach Joanna White is used to, so when McCutchan tapped the wall and a No. 1 pop up next to his lane number.
“I’m so giddy right now,” White said. “This has been a long time coming.”
White also mentioned that the meet has become quite a family affair for the McCutchan family. Dad, Frank Sr., is on the microphone; mom, Renee, is an assistant for the Hawks; and sister, Jacqueline, competes on the girls’ side for UHS.
Frankie, a freshman, may be new to the scene, but he didn’t take long to make his presence felt in the Hawks’ swim program.
“I’m very thankful for the coaching I get, the pool time I get and my supportive teammates,” he said. “It feels really good to be the one to get that first title.”
One of those coaches is his mom, Renee, who was an all-American at WVU in the early 1990s. While Frankie is more of a distance swimmer, Renee was not during her time. She specialized in the butterfly and IM, but said Frankie kind of came into his own in the 500 free.
“It just kind of happened for him, he would spend a lot of time in the pool getting yards in,” Renee said. “I’m really proud of how he and all of his teammates have worked to get to this point.”
Frankie juggled high school and club swimming, so daily, he would put in about 10,000 yards per day doing different strokes. The endurance built up in training helps keep his mind and body right during the
500 free, the longest race at the high school level.
“The more yardage you train, the more intense you train and the harder you train, the better your splits will be and you’ll be able to hold pace,” he said.
McCutchan also competed in two relays — the 200 IM and 400 free. In the 200 medley, Daniel Phillips, McCutchan, Zach Ribas and Nathan Mizener finished 9th (1:53.29). In the 400 free, Mizener, Alex Dean, Ribas and McCutchan finished 10th (3:38.52).
As a team, UHS finished 10th with 43 points.
For Morgantown, Carson Gresak finished 5th in the 50 free (23.21) and was the Mohigans’ top finisher for the meet. He also finished 12th in the 100 free (28.18).
Preston Householder finished 9th in the 500 free (5:21.75) and two MHS relay teams placed — the
200 medley team of Spencer Redelman, Gavin Fragale, Gresak and Householder finished 11th (1:54.28), while the 200 free team of Redelman, Fragale, Householder and Gresak also finished 11th (1:40.83).