The Oakdale High School swimming and diving team might not have won Saturday's Maryland 3A/2A/1A Championships held at the University of Maryland, College Park. But the Bears certainly put themselves on the state swimming map.
In just its second year as a varsity program — the school opened last year and only has students in grades nine through 11 — Oakdale earned two top-five finishes at the season-finale event.
Oakdale's girls' third-place finish was the highest of any Frederick County team on the girls side. They finished with 242 points, placing them behind first-time state champion C. Milton Wright of Harford County (315.5) and Montgomery County's Poolesville (283).
Frederick (135) and Walkersville (117.5) rounded out the top five.
The Bear boys, who finished second at last weekend's region meet, finished fourth Saturday with 182 points, just behind Middletown (184).
Poolesville won Montgomery County its first state title with a 301-211 advantage over C.M. Wright.
“I think [Saturday] we let the state of Maryland know that Oakdale is on the map,” first-year Bears coach Jared Minetola said. “We're going to add another class next year and I think we will be even stronger. So, this year we want to put ourselves on the map and hopefully next year we can try and take it all.”
Each team was allowed two entries per event Saturday. The top 16 finishers in each event earned points in decreasing amounts.
Though Poolesville only won two events — sophomore Xavier Laracuente in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay (worth double) — the Falcons finished two swimmers in the top 10 of seven events.
Likewise the Mustang girls only won two events, both of them relays (200 medley, 200 freestyle) but finished two in the top 10 of six events.
Oakdale won three total events. Philippa Rogers (500 freestyle) picked up the only girls victory; Evan Kolovich won the 100 butterfly and the Bear boys won the meet-opening 200 medley relay.
The Bears finished two girls in the top 10 of four events.
Poolesville junior Diana Hanson (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke), Northwood senior Chelsea VanderWeele (200 freestyle, 100 backstroke) and Harford Tech's Brandon Carestria (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke) were the meet's only double individual race winners.
After comfortably winning last weekend's region title, the Falcon girls were on pace to win Saturday's competition. But they struggled to achieve their best times and fell to a C.M. Wright team that posted personal best times left and right.
“I think Montgomery County being here [Saturday] really pushed our team all season. We knew it was going to be an extremely tough,” C.M. Wright coach Cathy Bendis said. “I don't know if they weren't here if we would've swum the times we did.”
Minetola agreed that swimming against the state's fastest was a fantastic opportunity.
“It's great to be at a meet with fast competition. You always have someone to race in every event,” Minetola said. “You want to win but if you take first in every event, you want to be able to race. And this meet was so fast, it was fun.”