By Steven Kochersperger
The Big Eight swimming and diving Conference Championships were held in Mount Vernon this past week with the four teams that have programs in the conference competing. Both the boys and girls teams from Mount Vernon looked poised at great runs in the meet and did not disappoint. The girls’ made easy work of their opponents to win yet another conference championship Saturday afternoon and the boys came up just one point shy of Jasper to win the Big Eight Conference.
The girls’ team has had a great year heading into the conference meet even though numbers have been down from years before. The team began their day winning the 200 yard medley relay. The Mount Vernon team of Samantha Gowdy, Claudia Crawford, Josie Mercer, and Clara Baggett cruised to victory over the second place Jasper team to finish the race with a great time. This set up the girls to win several more races that would give them the points necessary to win the conference.
In the 200 individual medley Mount Vernon’s Claudia Crawford won the race to continue her great day. Crawford, who had also been a part of the 200 medley relay win, got on the winners platform for a third time Saturday when the Mount Vernon relay team of Crawford, Drew Glover, Rachel Burke, and Clara Baggett raced to victory in the 200 freestyle relay race.
Clara Baggett continued her great swim career winning multiple races as well for the Mount Vernon team. Baggett swam to victory in the 50 freestyle race with a time of 23.99 before cruising to victory in the 100 freestyle race. Her time of 52.68 was good enough to win the 100 freestyle race but one in which Baggett looked disappointed. Baggett is ranked second in that race in the state and has high expectations for herself as she looks forward to that race each and every time she enters the pool.
The other Mount Vernon swimmer that won several races on Saturday was Samantha Gowdy. Gowdy won easily in the 100 butterfly race before winning yet again in the 100 yard backstroke.
The Mount Vernon girls’ team was also helped out by three divers who continue to work hard and perform at top levels all year long. Senior Katie McDonald won the Big Eight Conference diving with teammate Jillian Schirtzinger finishing second and Natalie Gerard in third. Those diving performances helped the Wildcats win the conference championship with 390 points all together.
The boys’ team looked to continue the great day the Mount Vernon team was having as they took to the pool as well. Mount Vernon was victorious in the 200 yard medley relay as Travis Harris, Tyler Moll, Bailey, and Jacob Poole won to open the meet.
Jacob Poole, who was swimming in his last year in the Mount Vernon pool, also went on to win the 200 freestyle race with a great time over his Jasper opponent before heading back into the pool later in the day to race in the 500 yard freestyle race. Poole ended up winning that race as well to keep Mount Vernon close in the standings with just a few races left for the boys team.
Tyler Moll was the last Mount Vernon swimmer to win a race as he cruised to victory in the 100 yard breastroke race. Moll finished ahead of teammate Jordan Crabtree to give Mount Vernon all important points by finishing first and second in the race.
In diving Mount Vernon diver Phillip Minton ended his day by placing third in the Conference meet.
Overall the boys lost by just one point to the Jasper Wildcats. Jasper had a total of 372 team points while Mount Vernon had 371.
The boys team will now host an invitational this Saturday to round out their season in hopes of getting ready for sectionals in a couple weeks.
The girls team will have a week off to prepare for their sectional at Castle High School. Both the boys and the girls teams have high hopes for post season success.
By Steven Kochersperger