Poly's girls take Balto. title again

City's boys use depth to sink Poly

Engineers sweep events, with 3 winning two each

Swimming

High School

February 15, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Poly left no doubt which was the best girls team in yesterday's Baltimore City Swimming and Diving Championships at Morgan State. The Engineers crushed the competition, winning every event, often by a sizable margin, and having little trouble repeating as champions.

City's boys had a tougher task en route to their title. They had to fend off defending champion Poly, which copied its girls team in winning race after race. The difference, though, was that the Knights boys had just enough depth to edge Engineers and take the championship.

For Poly's girls, this was practically the perfect meet. The Engineers not only won all 11 events, but they also often placed several scorers in a race. They coasted to the title with 522 points, far ahead of City (248) and Western (236).

The victory was truly satisfying to first-year Poly coach Rahim Booth. He took over from long-time and popular coach Brendan McElroy and had to establish his ways. Booth needed some time but eventually made good on a pledge he gave the team at the start of the season.

"I told them if they worked with me, I'd lead them to nowhere but the top," Booth said. "It proves that when they put their mind to it that they can do anything."

The Engineers did everything on this day. Christine Campbell, Kate Guth and Rebecca Rehr each won two races apiece. Campbell took first in the 50-yard freestyle (28.87) and also captured the 100 backstroke (1 minute, 15.39 seconds) and was glad to see her team repeat as champion.

"We've had a pretty strong team the last [few years]," Campbell said. "We had a lot of returning people and were experienced."

Guth captured the 200 freestyle (2:28.3) and the 500 freestyle (6:37.64), breezing in both races She said that it took a little time for everyone to settle in with Booth, but everything eventually worked out.

"We had some resentment about it [at first]," Guth said. "We all had a strong love for our old coach. But we just listened to [Booth] and tried to do our best."

Rehr also found little trouble in winning the 200 individual medley (2:46.0) plus the 100 free (1:06.94). The Engineers also got a lot of help from everyone in the relays, capturing all three by huge margins.

The Poly boys did nearly as well but just missed on a chance to pull off a repeat sweep. The Engineers won eight of the 11 events, but City's ability to score many points in different places let the Knights edge them, 276-238.

City took first in only three events but kept matching Poly by scoring with more than one boy in an event - despite bringing only 11 to the meet.

Nathan Erhenberger and Eric White were the only City swimmers to win events. White captured the 200 IM in 2:50.64 early in the meet. Erhenberger came back later to take the 100 free in 1:03.78. In addition, White also took third place in the 100 butterfly while Erhenberger finished second in the 50 free.

The Knights' other victory came in the 200 freestyle relay (2:01.53), thanks to White, Andrew Williams, John Adsit and Richard Smothers.

But City came away with second- or third-place finishes in seven of the 12 events.

Greene and assistant coach Sarah Heinrich said they liked how hard the inexperienced team worked throughout the season. Several turned in their best performances of the season yesterday.

City's coaches and swimmers said this was an emotional day because the Knights gained confidence with the solid performances that kept coming throughout the meet.

"It was just amazing," said Jonathan Brundage, who took second in the 100 breaststroke and the 500 free. "There was an emotional boost here today."

For Poly, which entered just seven swimmers, David Guth won twice and helped the Engineers come close. Guth took first in the 100 butterfly (1:12.56) and the 100 backstroke (1:08.43). Daniel McMaster won the 100 breaststroke (1:23.09) and took third in the 200 IM.

Northwestern's Darius Brown was the only competitor not from City or Poly to win an event. He captured Thursday's diving competition with a score of 240.9, beating Patterson's Chris Ferguson (218.9).

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