Perhaps inspired to greater heights by the pregame Senior Night ceremony that honored several departing Bulldog swimmers, the Lady Bulldogs pulled out their fifth individual win of the season on Friday night, defeating the visiting North Royalton Bears 95-88. The Lady Bulldogs finished 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the NOC.
Prior to the meet Bulldog seniors Haley Adkins, Chris Blohm, Greg Dyer, Joe Freudeman, Nick Hall, Becca Kassninger, Megan Kolke, Jessie Lee, Jeremy Wentz and Joe Wisiniewski were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the Bulldog swim program.
Senior Jessie Lee would once again be thrust front and center when she was involved in two of the evening's most exciting races. Right from the start in the first event the girls 200 medley relay of sophomore Lindsey Adkins, Lee, senior Megan Kolke and sophomore Tori McCauley tied North Royalton for first place in 2:02.90. Later, in the 200 IM, Lee out touched her opponent by one tenth of a second at the wall to earn first place again in 2:25.41. Lee proved to be a nemesis on the night for the Lady Bulldogs as she later helped her 200 free relay team of freshman Kelly Vantrease, Lee, senior Becca Kassinger and sophomore Jenni Heid earn the top spot in 1:48.46.
The Lady Bulldogs were down in points going into the 100 breast after being swept in the backstroke by the Bears. The girls weren’t concerned by that turn of events as they came right back to sweep the 100 breast which turned out to be pivotal in the final score. Senior Jessie Lee captured first place 1:13.89 followed by senior Haley Adkins 2nd, and Jenni Heid 3rd. Adkins added, “Senior Night was awesome; I can’t believe it’s already over. Everyone was so excited and swam so well. I’m so proud of everyone. We all really appreciate everyone who came to support us! For me, it couldn’t have been any better.”
The girls 200 Free was also another event on the night that ended up featuring two Stow competitors in a close race with Lindsey Adkins just out touching teammate sophomore Maddie Dyer for first in 2:08.41. Dyer went on later in the meet to win the 500 Free in 5:38.78.
The Lady Bulldogs secured the win with a first place finish in the 400 free relay. The relay team of Lindsey Adkins, Tori McCauley, Kelly Vantrease and Jenni Heid won with a time of 3:55.68.
Trying their best to match the Lady Bulldogs, the Bulldog boys could not make it a clean sweep, however, as they suffered a close defeat, falling 94-86 to their Bears counterparts. The Bulldogs finished 5-3 overall and 5-2 in the NOC.
Senior Joe Freudeman finished with a first place in the 100 fly in 55.59. Junior Will Sheppard followed up last week’s performance with another first place finish in the 1-meter diving event with a 174.75. In the 100 back senior Chris Blohm finished first in 1:01.97.
Sophomore Cody Vantrease rallied the Bulldogs with four first place finishes. Vantrease anchored the 200 medley relay of senior Chris Blohm, junior Jacob Earl and senior Jeremy Wentz in 1:45.87. Vantrease was right back in the next event, the 200 free, winning in 1:53.14. In the 500 free Vantrease won again in 5:11.01. In the final event of the night Vantrease anchored the Bulldog’s 400 Free relay of Jeremy Wentz, junior Cameron Potter and junior Parker Gabriel to first in 3:29.89. However, the most exciting finish of the night for the boys was for second and third place. Long after Vantrease had secured first place for Stow the fans and swimmers from both teams were on their feet with deafening cheers as their respective relay teams’ fought for second place. The Bulldogs 400 free relay of senior Greg Dyer, sophomore Schuyler Morris, junior Mason Gabriel and senior Joe Freudeman finished third by .05 of a second. It was an amazing race.
At the end of the meet senior and captain Greg Dyer said, “It was bittersweet for all of us this year, but I would never change a thing. I’m going to miss my friends from swimming, but all the memories these past four years make everything worth it.”