Bridgeport boys use depth to win state title

MORGANTOWN — Bridgeport High swim coach Jan Grisso is a big believer the depth on her boys team is its best asset.

That was on display Friday inside the WVU Natatorium, where the Indians used significant contributions from all across their roster to accumulate 184 points and win their first state championship since 2010.

“We have some outstanding swimmers, but you have to have that depth and you can’t win it just with first places,” Grisso said.

Bridgeport dethroned George Washington, which had won two straight championships and seven of the last eight. The Patriots finished as runners-up with 161 points.

Bridgeport started strong in the days first event when Bruce Keener, John Carter, Luke Pinti and Kyle Malcolm claimed the 200-yard medley relay at 1:39.17.

“We came into prelims and it was kind of shaky and it was a few people’s first swim at states,” Carter said. “We told them to step up, and this morning we got a little motivated. It just all worked out.”

Keener, a freshman, later won the 200 individual medley in 1:59.08, edging University’s Frank McCutchan (1:59.68).

While Parkersburg South’s Jorge Rojo Sato took the 50 freestyle in 22.29, the Indians picked up valuable points from Carter’s second-place finish (22.46).

Bridgeport added another first-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, as Carter teamed up with Malcolm, Marcel Rodriquez and Phillip Malenich (1:33.51) to narrowly edge Winfield’s Coen Preston, Elijah Robinson, Carson Rumer and Nolan McDaniel (1:33.57).

“Long hours in the pool and spending the extra time in there doing what you have to do,” Malenich said. “We have so much depth that we all moved up places this year, and in the finals, we didn’t lose any ground.”

Keener placed second behind Parkersburg’s David Snider in the 100 backstroke. Carter and Pinti took third and fourth in the 100 breaststroke, all but assuring the Tribe of winning the state championship.

“When you’re going into the 400 freestyle relay and all you need to do is finish safe, that’s really an accomplishment,” Grisso said. “A lot of times it comes down to that relay.”

Rodriquez, Malenich, Malcolm and Kenner combined for a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.

“When we came into this meet, from the regionals, we were ahead by two points. Yesterday, after everything that unfolded, we were ahead by two points,” Grisso said. “So I really thought it was going to come down to just one or two points. To be able to win by 23 is great, because all these teams are very talented.”

While Bridgeport won three of the 11 events, Parkersburg South’s Macguire McDuff and Parkersburg’s David Snider claimed two individual titles themselves.

McDuff was first in the 200 freestyle (1:48.28) and 100 freestyle (48.31).

Snider was the top finisher in the 100 butterfly (50.10) and 100 backstroke (50.86). Snider’s mark in the 100 backstroke set a new state meet record, topping the previous best time of 51.28. It was also the only new record at the state meet set this year.

Other individual event winners included McCutchan in the 500 freestyle (4:53.07) and George Washington’s Ian Adler in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.93).

Parkersburg’s Snider, Jakeb Bertram, A.J. Vann and Brady Colvin claimed the 400 freestyle relay title in 3:23.10.

Wheeling Park (146.5 points), Parkersburg (141) and Parkersburg South (128) rounded out the top five in the team standings.

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