BHS Boys, Girls Earn Region III Victories; 18 Tribe Swimmers Advance to States

By Julie Perine on February 06, 2018 via

Bridgeport High School emerged as championship team at Saturday’s Region III swim meet held at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Eighteen of the Tribe's swimmers will advance to the state meet at West Virginia University.
“I was really happy to see that many make states. This is probably one of the largest numbers we’ve taken in the last several years,” said BHS Swim Coach Jan Grisso.
Bridgeport dominated both fields; the girls scoring 164 and the boys, 125. For the girls, second place went to Buckhannon-Upshur with 130. Elkins took runner-up for the boys, scoring 89 points. Other schools participating in Region III/girls were Robert C. Byrd, Elkins, Woodrow Wilson, Philip Barbour, Notre Dame, Grafton, Lincoln and Liberty. In the boys’ division were RCB, Notre Dame, PikeView, Buckhannon-Upshur, Philip Barbour, Riverside, Woodrow Wilson and Grafton.
To advance to states – which will be held Feb. 15-16 at the WVU Natatorium – a swimmer had to place in the top three spots of his/her individual event or be a member of a first- or second-place relay team. Twelve swimmers across the state also advance with top times in their events.
The Tribe’s Darian Spencer won both the 100-butterly and 100-breaststroke events with times of 1:05.44 and 1:15.43, respectively.
Bridgeport’s Jenna Soltesz claimed second-place in the 100-fly, recording a time of 1:07.49. Soltesz also finished second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:30.48.
Bridgeport claimed the top three spots in the 50-yard freestyle event: Sarah Stallman first with 25.44, Catie Wilson second with 26.56 and Maria Lacaria third with 27.19.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Stallman again claimed first (55.49), followed by Buckhannon-Upshur’s Madi Shepherd (56.04) and the Tribe’s Catie Wilson (59.20). BHS was well-represented in the 100-fly top spots with Lacaria and Jaryn Dodrill finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Cheri Signorelli punched her ticket to states by finishing second in the 200-yard freestyle event. Her time of 2:15.47 was just a fraction of a second behind Buckhannon-Upshur’s Kailyn Bosley (2:15.33).
Rounding out qualifiers in the girls’ individual events was the Tribe’s Hope Rieser, who nailed a third-place finish in 100-backstroke with a time of 1:08.58, on the heels of Buckhannon-Upshur’s Madi Shepherd (1:08.47).
The relay team of Spencer, Kaitlyn Pinti, Stallman and Wilson won the 200-yard medley relay. Spencer, Stallman, Wilson and Maria Lacaria combined forces to win the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:45.95). Signorelli, Dodrill, Soltesz and Lacaria claimed second-place in the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:14.19).
Marcel Rodriquez, Kyle Malcolm, Phillip Malenich and John Carter formed the first-place 200-yard freestyle medley team, finishing in 1:36.35. Marcel Rodriquez, Reed Smith, Malcolm and Malenich finished third in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:46.99).
 In the boys’ 200-medley relay, Malenich, Carter, Luke Pinti and Malcolm finished first in 1:47.82.
Marcel Rodriquez finished second in the 200-yard freestyle race, which was won by RCB’s Zac Basler (2:01.45)
Malenich also qualified in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing second with a time of 1:02.33.
Pinti recorded a third place in the 200-yard individual medley. His time was 2:22.26.
With a time of 59.67 – nearly three seconds faster than second - Viktor Rodriquez dominated the 100-yard butterfly race.
John Carter finished the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:05.90 and Luke Pinti in 1:06.20, claiming first and second place.
Also advancing to states are Vaughn Vincent (100-fly), Kaitlyn Pinti (100-breaststroke) and Ryan Knapp (100-breaststroke).
Qualifying members of the BHS swim team continue daily practice at the Harrison County YMCA. Grisso is excited to see what her swimmers can do at states. The opportunity is there, she said.
“The boys are in a good place. They could make a run for the No. 2 spot,” she said. “I don’t know if the girls have enough depth. Fairmont Sr. and Wheeling Park are both very strong teams, as is Parkersburg.”
 Grisso said she is extremely proud of her swimmers and their progress.
 “They came to practice and they worked hard,” she said.
Girls’ preliminaries get underway at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 15 with finals at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 16. Boys’ races begin at 4:30 p.m. both days. 
Editor's Note: Photos are by Ben Queen Photography. See more images from Region III HERE

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