Based solely on appearances, the Middletown High School boys swimming and diving team looks like a hodgepodge of characters who would, in a typical high school setting, have no business keeping each other's company, senior Andrew Pressly said.
But somehow, the dynamic works.
The Knights clinched their first Frederick County title since 1993 on Saturday by edging second-place Frederick High, 95-87, at the Walkersville High pool. Defending champion Oakdale finished third with 84 points and Urbana (78 points) and Walkersville (63) rounded out the top five.
“We always joke how we're a bunch of misfit looking people, but somehow we mesh to make a good team. It's crazy. What a great way to end senior year,” said Pressly, who won the 100-yard backstroke.
Oakdale's girls overcame a disqualification in the 200-yard freestyle relay ญญ— a swimmer took off early — to win its first-ever county title Saturday. The Bears finished with 120 points to defeat Frederick with 111.50 points. Walkersville (96), Middletown (47) and Linganore (45) finished third through sixth. Five-time defending champion Urbana, down most of its big scorers from last year's squad, finished seventh with 37.50 points.
“We really wanted to win both this year, but I'm happy the girls at least won and evened it out. They came together so well. I'm happy, they faced adversity early, [the relay] was 18 points we could have had, yet they were still able to pull it off,” second-year Oakdale coach Jared Minetola said.
Oakdale won six of 12 events Saturday, including the meet finale 400-yard freestyle relay — relays are worth double — to take control of the competition. No other team won more than two events.
Senior Tia Graham (100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle) was the Bears' only double individual race winner. Frederick's Page Fox (100-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle) and Walkersville's Molly Updegraff (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke) also won two individual events apiece.
Middletown avenged an early-season loss to Oakdale Saturday.
Though Pressly's win was Middletown's only first-place finish, the Knights did make up points by placing two swimmers in the top eight of five events — the top eight finishers scored points in decreasing amounts.
Middletown also had a four-point advantage coming out the diving portion of the competition after Lucas and Jonathan Tatem finished third and fourth; few teams even had two divers to enter.
Tuscarora's Shane Miller successfully defended his county diving title.
Walkersville's Bradley Updegraff (100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley), Frederick's Mitchell Reynolds (500-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly) and Oakdale's Chris Lamont (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle) each won two individual events.
Middletown's team picture might look like a bunch of randomly selected teenage boys thrown together, but each brings his own set of skills that fit together like a puzzle, said Logan Casey, who scored in four events.
“I'm the football player, we have the cross country runners, the [top students], it allows us to be better in different areas,” Casey said. “As a team we wanted to grow and we came in stronger [Saturday].”