MORGANTOWN — Both MHS and UHS had state title-winning swimmers at the WVSSAC state swim meet in February, and on Monday, will begin the 2023-2024 season with hopes to take another step further this year.
Head coach Nicolle Davis enters this season after saying farewell to her lone state finalist in Frankie McCutchen, who captured first place in the 500-yard freestyle race. Now swimming at Westchester College, McCutchen was the only state finalist, but he wasn’t the only swimmer to represent UHS at states as multiple swimmers, both girls and boys, competed in prelims. That experience is one that Davis knows her kids will carry on into this year.
“After last season and how well it went, what I am looking forward to the most is just seeing how far the team can go. I want to see more swimmers make it to the states,” said Davis. “I would love to have my seniors that have never gone to states, qualify before they leave. They have really been working hard the last few weeks in order to get ready for the first meet of the season.” Davis says 20 swimmers (girls and boys) will swim for her team this year.
“The girls are all very strong swimmers. Rebecca (Chmel) and Haley (Kramer) have been going to states the last few years. Maddie McCoy would have made states in the 50 Free last year if they weren’t disqualified at Regionals. Emily (Stanton) and Isabella (Ratnour) have been putting in a lot of work in the offseason and I can already tell how it has helped them.”
On the boys’ side, William Troischt and newcomer Timothy O’Sullivan will look to make some noise.
“Will has gone to states in the past being on relays with Frankie McCutchan and Zack Ribas, I can’t wait to see how well he does,” Davis said. “Sully is new to the team this year, but already is showing signs of being a strong swimmer.”
MHS will bring a high-powered attack to both the boys’ and girls’ sides of the team, building on the success from last season that saw members of the girls’ team in 9 out of the 11 championship races in February.
The Mohigans captured four state championship titles, two individually by now-senior Caroline Riggs, and two as a team in relay races.
Head coach Eric Householder said farewell to a handful of strong seniors that made an impact on the team, but knows that right behind them are some talented swimmers who are ready to compete.
“I think we will be a strong team again this year. I am most looking forward to taking a large group of swimmers to the State meet in February, and hopefully competing for the State title,” he said. “On the girls’ side, we have the usual contenders (Caroline Riggs, Delaney Householder, and Lily Linscheid), but we also have a few girls that made the state team last season (Ruby Van Eeden, Talia Miller, and Natalia Sabolsky); hopefully we can swim well at Regionals and take a large group back to the state meet.
“For the boys, we return some state qualifiers (Carter Redelman, Lake Embrey, and Shawn Li), but we have some new faces that could really make an impact this year as well in Daniel and Christian Hammer.”
The season will begin for both MHS and UHS on Monday at Mylan Aquatic Center for the first meet of the season. The Hawks and Mohigans will be joined by North Marion, Philip-Barbour and Parkersburg.
Both coaches spoke about their teams being able to swim their home meets at a place such as the new WVU facilities, saying the opportunity is one that motivates the kids even more.
“It is great to be able to swim at such a premier pool as the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park. It is a world-class facility that is amazing and brings in some great swimmers to compete,” said Householder. “The more exposure we can bring to swimming in the State of West Virginia the better. This great facility and the fact that we are able to get a few of our swimmers from the club team that competes here also, which means that we can be competitive for a state title every year.”
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