Fallston, Sev. Park earn big firsts

Teams join Urbana to win at inaugural state title meet


February 25, 2007|By Stephen Whyno | Stephen Whyno,Sun Reporter

College Park -- The phrase "new state record" resonated through the pool area at Maryland's Eppley Recreation Center when state champions stepped onto the podium, drawing echoing applause every single time.

That applause had extra meaning beyond just the enthusiasm of parents and teammates and came so often, as every win represented a new state record because the Maryland State Swimming Championships yesterday marked the first-ever high school state title meet.

At the inaugural meet, Fallston and Severna Park won the 4A-3A boys and girls titles, respectively. Urbana swept the boys and girls 3A-2A-1A competitions.

Fallston coach Sheri Huppenthal and some Cougars swimmers said the team fulfilled its season-long goal, something that received added importance because it was the first Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state meet.

"It's really special. That's basically what the kids have been talking about. They really wanted to do it because it was the first one," Huppenthal said. "I think it meant a lot to them."

It didn't take long for the Cougars to surge ahead of the competition. Their 200-yard medley relay team won the opening event in 1 minute, 45.14 seconds. The Cougars held onto that early lead and finished with 323 points - almost 100 more than second-place Thomas Johnson.

It was also a coronation of sorts for the Severna Park girls, who recorded 330.5 points in impressive fashion to cap their undefeated season. After triggering controversy by throwing coach Kacie Owens into the pool in celebration of the school's 4A regional title, the Falcons weren't about to make news after the final timer at this meet. But they did excel in the water - winning seven of 11 events.

"Our girls have been favored to wins states from the beginning, so it wasn't really a surprise," Owens said, adding that the low-key celebration didn't detract from the accomplishment.

Urbana placed first ahead of Middletown in the boys and girls competitions last night. The Hawks boys team was consistently good, medaling in several events but winning no gold medals.

The girls went through a similar meet, ascending to the top of the podium in one event.

Still, the Hawks stood on the podium alone at night's end with the satisfaction of being the first-ever state champions at the 3A-2A-1A level.

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