The Oakdale High School girls swimming and diving team knew the top times at Saturday's Class 3A/2A/1A state championship meet were going to be hard to reach. But they were eager, rather than fearful, senior Tia Graham said.
“The competition [at states] is better. It's fun to go against someone that's better than you. It's better to go against someone who is faster than you because you want to go out and try and beat them,” Graham said.
The Bears dropped a lot of time, overall, said Emily Hicken, to establish their place in the state's top five.
Oakdale, the county champion, placed fourth in the girls competition on Saturday, the highest of any county school.
But Frederick was represented well with four teams in the top 10.
Montgomery County's Poolesville swept the championship. It was the Falcons second straight state title, the girls were upset by Harford County's C. Milton Wright last winter.
Poolesville's girls finished with 313.50 points, ahead of the defending champion Mustangs in second place with 255 points. Montgomery County's Damascus finished in third with a mere 184-180 advantage over Oakdale. Walkersville (160) and Frederick (156.50) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Poolesville's boys finished with 327 points. Damascus (160), Queen Anne's (139), C. Milton Wright (137) and Seneca Valley (129.5) rounded out the top five.
Oakdale's 10th-place finish was the county's highest on the boys side. The reigning county champion, Middletown, finished 17th.
Full results can be found at http://www.mpssaa.org.
“The level really goes up [at states]. It definitely makes things a lot more difficult, there's a lot more competition. But it pushes us to drop time,” Middletown senior Andrew Pressly said.
Poolesville only combined for nine wins in 22 events Saturday and did finish at least one swimmer in the top three of eight events on the boys side and 10 in the girls competition.
Fourteen different athletes combined for 16 individual titles Saturday. Poolesville's Xavier Laracuente (50- and 100-yard freestyle) and C. Milton Wright's Megan Cowan (200-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly) were the meet's only double race winners.
Frederick High's Mitchell Reynolds was the county's only first-place finisher (500-yard freestyle). He also placed third in the 100-yard butterfly.
Graham, Sydney Gilmer, Hicken and Theresa Schrider all picked up top-five finishes for Oakdale Saturday. Bears senior Chris Lamont finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle.
Walkersville brother and sister Brad and Molly Updegraff earned two top-five finishes apiece in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke. Teammate Justine Wantz finished second in the 100-yard backstroke and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly.
Frederick's Page Fox finished third in the 100-yard freestyle.
“We pushed ourselves harder [at states]. We had a lot of best times,” Hicken said.