James Wood boys show off depth in City-County Sprints swimming win

WINCHESTER — No Paul Warnagiris? That was no problem on Friday.

James Wood’s freshman swimming sensation missed Friday’s City-County Sprints meet because of illness, but the Colonels showed that they have a roster that will make plenty of noise across the board this season.

James Wood won eight of the 11 events to score 640 points, 182 more than second-place Sherando (458) and claim their first outright title in the six-year history of the Sprints meet. (The Colonels shared the title last year with the Warriors, who won the first four titles.) Millbrook was third with 327 points and Handley was fourth with 257 in the meet that features events that are half the distance of what they are in a normal meet.

The Colonels’ 11 event wins included victories in all three relays. The 100-meter free relay actually saw James Wood take second place, too.

“We’re always pushing each other to do our best,” said James Wood senior Jackson Sitton, who swam on two winning relays and individually won the 200-meter free (2:14.12, won by 3.29 seconds) and the 50 fly (28.48, won by 1.27).

James Wood coach Jessica Barr said she felt James Wood had the depth to overcome the absence of Warnagiris in a meet like Friday’s.

“I knew we just had to make a few slight modifications,” Barr said. “This team works really hard. Even though Paul’s not here, they all want to be really fast like Paul. They’re willing to put forth a little extra effort. A lot of the boys are just natural racers. We’re really strong in the breaststroke and we’re really strong in the sprints, which allows me to put some of the more versatile swimmers in the other events.”

Sitton helped 100 medley relay team of sophomore Brenden Cassidy, freshman Trent Rakowski and junior Colin Staneart win by 0.09 over Sherando to open the meet and teamed with Staneart, Rakowski and freshman Andrew Thompson to close out the meet with a win by 5.07 seconds in the 200 free relay.

The 100 free relay saw Cassidy, freshman Reagan Kite, senior Jamie King and freshman Gabriel Boone beat their teammates Ryan Babington (freshman), Eli Britton (junior), Drew Reese (senior) and Dennis Humenay (senior) by 1.86 seconds with a time of 56.71.

Also winning individually for the Colonels were Thompson in the 100 free (1:02.73 to win by 0.2); King, a first-year swimmer in the 25 free (13.43 to beat Kite by 0.69) and Rakowski in the 50 free (27.55 to win by 0.5).

“I wasn’t expecting [Thompson, the third seed] to win [the 100 free], but to see him really turn it on in that last 25 was really impressive,” Barr said. “At the beginning of the meet, that kind of got everyone going.”

Sherando received individual victories from junior Peter Pham (100 IM in 1:05.33 to win by 5.67 seconds and 50 back in 30.55 to win by 2.12 seconds) and junior Trevor Cram (50 breast in 36.94 to win by 0.74). Cram also took third in the 50 fly (31.63).

“Peter has been stellar all year long,” Knight said. “He’s such a hard worker. He’s a thinking man’s kind of swimmer who analyzes his races and mentally prepares for his races. He didn’t surprise me at all today.

“Trevor is really motivated this year and wants to do well in the fly and breaststroke. For him to step up and win that race today is going to be very motivating for him going forward.”

Because of the unusual distances of Friday’s races, Pham wasn’t focused on time.

“I just wanted to have fun and see how speed I could generate,” he said.

Millbrook didn’t have any individual wins but the Pioneers had seven top-three finishes. Millbrook coach Priscilla Elliott was particularly pleased with the 200 free relay team of Ben Rayburn, Tim McCarthy, Ricardo Valentin Serpa and Aidan Post that took second in 1:54.96.

“They really stepped it up,” she said. “I was really pleased with their performance. They all swam 30’s or under, and cut about five seconds off their best time.”

As for both her boys’ and girls’ teams in general, Elliott thought things went well in general.

“The kids were really excited about this meet because we have a lot of new swimmers, and they got the opportunity to swim some events they felt comfortable swimming,” she said. “We had some great personal records, taking two-to-three seconds off in some places, which was great.”

Other top performances:

James Wood: 100 IM: 3. Cassidy 1;16.08; 25 free: 3. Boone 14.18; 50 fly: 2. Thompson 29.85; 50 free: 3. Cassidy 28.63; 200 free: 3. Adam Stautzenbach 2:27.11; 50 breast: 2. Rakowski 37.68, 3. Britton 38.07.

Sherando: 100 medley relay: 2nd in 1:01.46; 200 free relay: 3rd in 1:56.95.

Millbrook: 100 free: 2. Rayburn 1:02.93, 3. McCarthy 1:03.11; 50 free: 2. Rayburn 28.05; 200 free: 2. Post 2:17.41; 100 free relay: 3rd in 59.40; 50 back: 2. McCarthy 32.67.

Handley: 100 medley relay: 3rd in 1:02.90; 100 IM: 2. Henry Fowler 1:10.90; 50 back: 3. Fowler 33.77.

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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