Bridgeport High School Girls, Boys Swim Teams Capture First Place at Rotary Invitational

By Julie Perine on December 04, 2017 via

Bridgeport blew it out of the water at Saturday’s Rotary International Swim Meet held at the YMCA of Harrison County. Of 11 participating teams, the girls finished first with 380 points, second to Fairmont Senior’s 310. The boys accumulated 295.5 points, plenty to lead the 12-team field in which Elkins finished second with 204 points.
“They did a great job,” said Coach Jan Grisso, adding that once she saw Saturday's heat sheets, she knew both her boys and girls had a good shot at winning the event. 
There were some defining moments, but perhaps none more dramatic than the girls’ 200-freestyle medley. Anchor swimmer Sarah Stallman kicked it into high gear to outdistance her opponents, finishing first, just .01 seconds over Fairmont Senior. Joining Stallman were Maria Lacaria, Catie Wilson and Darian Spencer, combining efforts for a time of 1:47.27 over FSHS’s 1:47.28.
“That was a real good race as was the boys’ 200-freestyle relay,” Grisso said.
In that event, Kyle Malcolm, Marcel Rodriquez, Phillip Malenich and John Carter teamed up for a second-place finish. At 1:39.12, they were just behind Elkins’ 1:38.91.
Those and other races proved that strong finishes matter, Grisso said.
“We stress that as coaches,” she said. “By the time they get to us, (team members) know how to swim and we just perfect the stroke. With most races, starts, finishes and turns really matter.”
Some of the day’s standout female swimmers included freshman Darian Spencer and junior Sarah Stallman.
“Dariian is really coming along nicely. She’s going to make big impact for our team as a lot of our freshmen are. I’m just thrilled with the freshman class. They are making progress weekly,” Grisso said. “And Sarah always comes through for us. She had two tough races. She and (Fairmont Senior’s Kelsie Drennen) go back and forth. She is one of the top freestyle swimmers in the state, just like Sarah.”
As for boys, Viktor Rodriquez, a junior, had an exceptional meet, Grisso said.
“He just out touched for second place in the 200-medley relay and second in the fly,” she said. “He is just a consistent swimmer who improves every week and he is definitely an asset to our team. His brother, Marcel, a freshman, has really made big impact, too. He is a very dedicated and hard worker. Both have really helped us.”
But Grisso said it’s not just the top finishers who secured the wins. In a meet the size of Saturday’s Rotary Invitational, mid-level swimmers can make the difference in a win. The points they accumulate are vital too, she said.
“They have come a long way and they’ve really helped us win,” she said. “They’re coming along nicely. We’re starting to see where we need to place our kids, which takes a few weeks to see. The kids who practice and work hard are the ones showing the most improvement.”
Other meet highlights include:
The team of Stallman, Jenna Soltesz, Spencer and Wilson captured a first place in the 200-medley relay, recording a time more than four seconds faster than Fairmont Senior.
The Lady Indians didn’t capture the lead in the 200-freestyle event, but the Tribe’s Cheri Signorelli finished an impressive second in the field of 22 swimmers. Signorelli also picked up third place in the 500-yard freestyle event. Her time of 6:29.89 was the Tribe’s best.
Stallman picked up a second place in the 50-freestyle, outdistanced by Fairmont Senior’s Kelsie Drennen. Wilson was next for the Tribe, finishing fourth.
Also big for BHS was Spencer’s first place finish in the 100-butterfly. She finished in 1:07:10; a slight edge over Fairmont Senior’s Ella Broadhurst which finished at 1:07.61.
Taking first-place in the 100-yard breaststroke was Spencer at 1:17.22. The Lady Indians’ Kaitlyn Pinti finished fifth.
The boys’ team of Phillip Malenich, John Carter, Luke Pinti and Kyle Malcolm finished comfortably over Notre Dame in the 200-yard medley relay. The Indians recorded a time of 1:53.38 over the Irish’s 1:58.43.
Marcel Rodriquez picked up a second place in the 200-freestyle with a time of 2:09.10.
Carter aced the 100-yard butterfly, recording a time of 59.58. Teammates Rodriquez and Peyton Shields finished second and third, respectively, at 1:03.34 and 1:04.03.
Rodriquez then finished first in the 100-yard freestyle event. His time was 54.62. Robert C. Byrd’s Nathan Fubio secured second place at 55.92.
Carter also picked up a second place in the 100-yard breast stroke with a time of 1:08.08. Luke Pinti was right behind him with a time of 1:11.51.
In the 400-yard freestyle event, Bridgeport’s Rodriquez and brother Viktor Rodriquez joined Reed Smith and Luke Pinti for a second-place finish. The team recorded a time of 3:56.52.
Malenich finished third in the 100-backstroke. At 1:06.24, he was in the pack for the lead, ultimately outdistanced by Fairmont Senior’s Cam Smith (1:05.36) and Notre Dame’s Jacob Coole (1:06.06).
Kyle racked up some points for the Tribe by finishing third in the 50-yard freestyle event, keeping it competitive with a time of 25.44, within a second of RCB’s Nathan Fubio, who claimed first with 24.89.
Girls’ teams (in order of finish) were BHS, Fairmont Senior, Buckhannon-Upshur, Notre Dame, Elkins, East Fairmont, RCB, Grafton, Philip Barbour, Lincoln and Liberty. Boys’ teams (in order of finish) were BHS, Elkins, Fairmont Senior, RCB Buckhannon-Upshur, Notre Dame, Philip Barbour, North Marion, Grafton, East Fairmont, Lincoln and Liberty.
The BHS boys remain undefeated, after capturing wins at Wheeling, Morgantown and Elkins. The girls are 3-1, with wins over Morgantown and Elkins and a second-place finish in Wheeling.
“I’m just overall very pleased,” Grisso said. “Now for the new few weeks we’ll be working on technique, trying to perfect strokes and we won’t compete again until Dec. 28 when we’ll be traveling to Brooke High School.” 
See full results of Saturday's meet HERE and HERE.
Photos taken at Saturday's Rotary Invitational were captured by Joey Signorelli of Ben Queen Photography. See more images HERE.

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