PILOT MOUNTAIN — The second Surry Central swim meet of the season came against an opponent the Golden Eagles had already taken the measure of, but coach Dara Kowalcik was still pleased with the progress her team made from week one to week two of the 2015-16 season.
Last Wednesday, Surry Central opened the season with a tri-meet against North Surry and Forbush at Reeves Community Center, where its girls downed both opponents and the boys lost to the Greyhounds but defeated the Falcons. On Monday night, a rematch with Forbush was on tap, this time at the Armfield Center.
The Golden Eagles improved to 2-0 against their conference rivals, with the girls taking the lead in the fifth event of the evening and going on to win 94-64, and the boys moving ahead in their second event and leading by as many as 20 late in the match before winning 69-58.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Kowalcik. “We have a long way to go, but we’re improving. It’s always a struggle early in the year.”
On the girls side of the meet, the Falcons took first place in each of the first three events, building a 27-19 lead. After a win in a relay to open the event, Gina Myers and Samantha Wooten finished 1-2 for Forbush in the 200 free, and then Sarah Hayden won the 200 individual medley.
The next event was the 50 free, where the Lady Eagles’ Katelyn Southard beat Forbush’s Maris Bey by 1.68 seconds for her team’s first event win of the meet. The six points helped Surry Central close the gap to 34-28.
The Lady Eagles took the lead in the next event, the 100 butterfly. A 1-2-3 finish for Sarah Southard, McKenzie Reaves and Amelia Walsh gave Surry Central a 13-0 lead in the event and a 41-34 overall lead. Katelyn Southard won the next event, the 100 free, and then Logan Lynch and Jenna Isaacs went 1-2 in the 500 freestyle to make it 58-43.
The Lady Eagles finally put it away in the next-to-last event of the night. A 1-2-3 finish in the 100 breaststroke by Haley Stanley, Abbie Shepherd and Belle Brindle put 13 more points on the Surry Central side of the ledger for an 84-60 advantage. A 14-second win in the 400 freestyle relay extended the final margin to 30 points.
The boys’ half of the meet was a battle, which is something that the Eagles can expect a lot this season, with only nine swimmers on the roster. But it proved to be enough.
After the Falcons won a relay event to open the meet, Surry Central took a 16-8 lead with a 1-2 finish in the 200 free, with Angel Rayo beating Alex Beck. Jamie Beamguard won the next event for Forbush, but a second and third from the Eagles’ Matthew Collins and Victor Galan mitigated the damage and Surry Central still led by six.
In the 50 free, Jared Hembree swam to victory in a time of 26.69. A third place finish by teammate Ricardo Lara helped the Eagles outscore the Falcons 11-5 in this event and move in front 33-21. Then Hembree swam unopposed in the 100 butterfly for six more points. Two events later, Alex Beck won the 500 free with no opposition other than his teammate, Galan, who finished three seconds behind. Surry Central now led 52-32.
A 1-2 finish for the Falcons in the 100 backstroke reduced the margin to 10, 62-52, with two events left to swim. Hunter Kepley took the victory in a blistering time of 1:14.37. But the event was all but over by this time, as Forbush had only one swimmer, Beamguard, entered in the penultimate event, and no team in the 400 free relay that ended the meet. Beamguard duly won the 100 breaststroke and claimed six points, but the Golden Eagles’ Lara and Collins finished second and third. Surry Central’s outright win in the relay clinched the victory.
Surry Central returns to the pool on Dec. 2, when the Eagles will compete against North Wilkes, East Wilkes, Wilkes Central, Starmount, and Elkin at the Wilkes YMCA. The Falcons also return to action that evening. They will be at the Statesville YMCA to take on North Iredell.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.