Loyola makes splash with young talent

McDonogh, Mt. St. Joseph challenge

McDonogh, N. Dame Prep top girls

Swimming

High School Sports

Winter Preview

December 05, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Loyola coach Keith Schertle knows that, at some point, the Dons won't win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship. They've won 10 consecutive titles and all streaks end.

But Loyola again has plenty of talent, and Schertle's just hoping the end won't come this year.

"Eventually we're going to lose," Schertle said. "I don't think that any of the kids here want to be part of the teams that lose."

But Schertle is optimistic about what this year will bring as his Dons are loaded with young talent. Junior Nick Taylor returns after capturing four gold medals (the 50 and 100 freestyle plus two relays) at last winter's MIAA championship meet.

"It's going to be tough to beat him," Schertle said.

Juniors Chris Happel, Nick Conley and Shane Kelsey all can swim in three events and help on relays. Plus, senior Rory Brannan should help with the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly. None of these swimmers won any gold medals in last year's title meet, but they helped Loyola rack up loads of points that day.

"I think they're going to be strong," McDonogh coach Scott Ward said. "They certainly have power and depth."

However, McDonogh and Mount St. Joseph both will give Loyola some trouble this season.

Junior Drew Pallace of McDonogh won the 100 butterfly and took second in the 100 backstroke at the MIAA meet as the Eagles finished third. Senior Matt Fedderly is a versatile swimmer who also can help with relays while sophomores Jordan Kobb and Adam Bulkley should give the Eagles points.

Mount St. Joseph also has plenty of talent once more as it tries to improve upon last year's second-place finish at the MIAA meet.

Junior Eric Cullen won the 100 breaststroke in the MIAA meet and returns this year. Diver Tim Ward gave the Gaels points, and senior Mike Toolan-Miller will help.

On the girls' side, McDonogh won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland regular-season title last year and finished in a rare tie for first with Notre Dame Prep at the championship meet - both with 412 points.

McDonogh coach Scott Ward said he wouldn't be surprised if there was another battle between the two schools. The Eagles will build around junior Claire Hutchinson plus sophomores Kelly Peloquin and Anne-Marie Botek.

These three combined to win five individual events at the title meet, and the Eagles need their scoring once more.

"Both schools lost some key seniors, but it's going to be close again," Ward said. "I can see it coming down to within 10 or 15 points again either way."

Notre Dame Prep coach Lisa Wiegmann thinks this could be more of a building season for her swimmers as the Blazers graduated seven from last year's team. Wiegmann said they've got a lot of good young swimmers who are still finding their way.

"We are not going to be defeated easily due to our continued depth, determination and our desire to improve," Wiegmann said.

Senior captain Katie Hopkins plus classmate Katherine Godwin and freshmen Rebecca Godwin and Kate Baust will lead the Blazers this season. The Blazers only got one individual gold in the championship meet last year but their solid scoring in other places got them the first-place tie.

In Harford County, C.M. Wright won the girls' title for the fourth straight year and the overall team crown - the competition is coed in Harford - for a third consecutive season.

Seniors Amanda Barnes, Shannon Dunnigan, Maureen McLaughlin and Lindsey Shrek should make the Mustangs the team to beat for girls and overall.

"We have an outstanding senior class," C.M. Wright coach Larry Ashman said. "We have a shot at repeating. We also have some depth this year."

Junior Josh Knight won the 100 breaststroke last year for the Mustangs while senior Eric Hanfman took second in the 50 and 100 freestyle. That gives C.M. Wright depth on the boys' side, but probably not as much as Havre de Grace.

The reason: Havre de Grace's boys had a perfect season last year. The Warriors went 16-0 in the regular season and then won the Harford County meet. Despite losing some good swimmers, Havre de Grace coaches Aaron Thompson and Bill Shelly return plenty of talent again.

"We have a pretty strong boys' team," Thompson said. "I think we're going to be as strong as [last year]."

Senior Kurt LaPaglia won four golds at the county meet - winning the 50 and 100 freestyle plus helping with two relays - while juniors Kyle North and David Tobin helped on the gold-medal relays. Sophomore Danny Worrell also should give the team some points.

Havre de Grace sophomore Shelly Tobin and freshman Laura Brandon will earn points on the girls' side, but beating C.M. Wright might be a difficult task this season.

Poly appears the favorite to sweep in the Baltimore City league. The Engineers won the girls championship meet with ease last winter, taking all 11 events and barely breaking a sweat. They've got plenty of talent returning as new coach Thayn Moyes takes over, moving up from assistant coach.

Juniors Rebecca Rehr and Alita Garrison are back. Rehr captured the 100 freestyle and the 200 individual medley at the city meet, and Garrison should help in the breaststroke and butterfly. Freshman Emma Call also will help.

The boys will get points from sophomore David Guth, who won twice at the city meet and junior Jesse Oxman.

City won the boys' title last year despite capturing just three races. The Knights hope the depth they used last winter with 11 swimmers in the city meet helps them once more.

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