Surry Starfish capture medals in Southeast Invitational

Staff Report
Katie Gibson, Charity Pearson and Fallon Cook all participated in the event for the Surry Starfish. - Courtesy of Rob Sinton

GREENSBORO — Members of the Surry County Starfish recently competed in the 2018 Special Olympics Southeastern United States Swimming Invitational held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The team amassed a total of 49 medals consisting of 27 gold, 11 silver, and 11 bronze.

The meet featured more than 500 athletes from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida. “All of our athletes had an outstanding meet,” said Starfish coach Benny Brannock. “It was a long but exciting meet and they proudly represented Surry County.”

Individually for Surry, Gus Blanton took silver in the 25-yard flotation, bronze in the 25-yard freestyle, and placed fourth in the 15-meter unassisted swim. Preston Burke took home gold medals in the 25-yard backstroke and 50-yard freestyle while also collecting a silver medal in the 25-yard freestyle. Preston’s brother, Sean Burke, earned a gold medal in the 25-yard backstroke, silver in the 25-yard freestyle, and bronze in the 50-yard freestyle.

Chance Casstevens captured a silver medal in the 200-yard freestyle while earning bronze in 100-yard freestyle. Casstevens also finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. Fallon Cook took home gold medals in the 15-meter unassisted swim and 25-yard kickboard event while finishing fourth in the 25-yard freestyle. Surry’s Marion Flores earned a silver medal in the 10-meter unassisted swim while teammate Katie Gibson earned gold medals in the 15-meter unassisted swim and 25-yard freestyle. Gibson also finished fifth in the 25-yard backstroke.

Jacob Groff added to the Starfish medal total by earning a gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle and taking silver in the 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard breaststroke. Neal Joyner collected a gold medal in the 50-yard backstroke and bronze medal in the 50-yard freestyle. Jill Kelley earned the silver medal in the 25-yard backstroke and bronze in the 25-yard freestyle while teammate Alex Lynch took home silver in the 50-yard freestyle.

Surry’s John Marion took gold in the 25-yard backstroke, 25-yard freestyle, and 50-yard freestyle. Hiatt Nester finished fourth in the 50-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle while taking eighth in the 50-yard freestyle. Dylan O’Neal collected a gold medal in the 25-yard backstroke and 50-yard freestyle while taking the silver in the 25-yard freestyle.

Surry’s Charity Pearson earned gold medals in the 25-yard freestyle and 25-yard butterfly while finishing fourth in the 25-yard backstroke. Travis Powell also had a solid meet earning a gold medal in the 25-yard freestyle and taking bronze in the 25-yard backstroke while finishing fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. Starfish teammate Tabitha Reynolds earned a bronze medal in the 25-yard freestyle and also placed fourth overall in the 25-yard backstroke while Alijah Wood earned gold in the 25-yard freestyle and 25-yard flotation while taking silver in the 15-meter unassisted swim.

In addition to the outstanding individual performances, the Starfish had a strong showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay with the team of Chance Casstevens, Jacob Groff, Hiatt Nester and Travis Powell taking a gold medal. Surry also earned a gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle relay with the team of Neal Joyner, Charity Pearson, Tabitha Reynolds and Alijah Wood. The relay team consisting of Jill Kelley, Alex Lynch, John Marion and Dylan O’Neal earned bronze in the 100-yard freestyle relay.

“Our team members really performed well and had a tremendous meet. We have a great group of swimmers,” said Brannock. “We are looking forward to representing Surry County in the North Carolina Summer Games held in June.”

Surry is coached by Benny Brannock, Rob Sinton and Wendy Tucker. Avery Tucker, Hadly Tucker and Oshyn Bryant serve as Unified Partners. For more information on Surry County Special Olympics, visit www.sonc.net/surry or contact Daniel White at whiteda@co.surry.nc.us.

Katie Gibson, Charity Pearson and Fallon Cook all participated in the event for the Surry Starfish.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_2018SurryStarfishSoutheastInv.jpgKatie Gibson, Charity Pearson and Fallon Cook all participated in the event for the Surry Starfish. Courtesy of Rob Sinton

Staff Report