By Ho Hoffman
MEDINA — Medina and Wadsworth square off Thursday at the Medina Community Recreation Center in a meet that may be decided by each team’s second, third and fourth swimmers rather than the headliners.
“Normally, this would be very big since it is a neighborhood rivalry,” Wadsworth coach Autumn Reeves said. “But with the Revere meet canceled last week and a make-up scheduled, along with the Suburban League meet, our current focus is really centered on the battle to win the SL for both the boys and girls.”
The Bees, who are anxious to repeat last year’s sweep of the Grizzlies, enter the meet with a combined boys/girls dual meet record of 1-7, while Wadsworth brings a 9-5 mark to the confrontation.
“The team is looking forward to our meet against Wadsworth for a variety of reasons,” Medina coach Jamie Moore said.” It’s the last home meet of the season against some great competition. I believe this will be a high-energy meet and hope for lots of great swims across the board.”
What sounds like a lock for Wadsworth based on meet records doesn’t look so good when comparing top times. In the girls contest, Medina holds a 7-4 edge in best times, while the boys have a whopping 10-1 margin.
“It will really be an uphill battle for us since we are giving up diving points right out of the chute,” Reeves said. “Medina has a lot of very good swimmers on both the boys and girls, so we will definitely have to be at our best if we want to compete.”
While the Bees have a decided advantage at the top of the order, depth will again be a problem, which was Medina’s downfall against Brunswick earlier in the year.
“The kids understand why and how we got beat by Brunswick,” Moore said. “They don’t want that to happen again. I’m anxious to see what they’ve learned about the competition this year and how they can implement those changes this week.”
The deciding events in the boys battle could be the 50-yard freestyle, where Wadsworth’s Mike Pavlak has a top time of 23.2 seconds, just a hair better than Medina’s Aidan Dorman (23.76).
Another tight one will be in the 100 free, with the Grizzlies’ Philip LaHue and the Bees’ Dan Cahalan a second apart.
Other than that, the Medina quartet of Doran, Cahalan, Tim Varrelmann and Justin Ridings may be too much for Wadsworth to handle in the top finishes.
The girls meet will force Reeves to make a big decision as to which events she will enter Elaina Lanson and Ellie Surratt.
Lanson has the team’s best times in five events (50, 100 free, back, fly, 200 IM) and has swam at one time or another with the three relay teams. Surratt owns the school’s best times in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke and also has been on all three relay teams.
“We will be splitting Elaina and Ellie and all the rest of our top swimmers,” Reeves said. “We have to do that to try and earn the maximum amount of points available.”
The Bees do not have that problem, as Moore can do a lot of mixing and matching with Abby Kriak, Carolyn Yurkoski, Jacqueline Yurkoski, Maddie Miller, Sam Petruzzi and Kristen Schubert.
The most competitive event of the evening promises to be the 200 free relay. Medina’s Yurkoskis, Miller and Kriak have a best time of 1:45.97, while Lanson, Kim Stafford, Lexi Surratt and Ellie Surratt have been clocked at 1:46.17.
The event is also senior night for the Bees, with Cahalan, Dorman, Ridings, Mervin Chen, John Hardy, Jacqueline Yurkoski, Kylie Tayerle and Sara Willhoite making their final home appearances.
The Blue Devils will be celebrating senior night Wednesday during a 6 p.m. Northeast Ohio Conference meet against Cuyahoga Falls. Although Brunswick has one more home meet on its schedule (Hudson on Friday), this will be the official recognition of 10 seniors who collectively have been swimming for the Blue Devils varsity for 37 seasons.
Three-year letterwinners are Lauren Pozna, Riley Saunders and Kerry Crump. Four-year varsity members are Ashley Brandt, Laura McGeer, Taylor Polojack, Morgan Zaranec, Elizabeth Zenczak, Maddie Goots and Paul Camper.
• Girls team captains Goots and Zenczak are at the top of three Brunswick records. Goots holds the school record in the breast (1:10.13) and was a member of the 2009-10 record-breaking 400 relay (3:48.91). Goots also swam with Zencak on the 2010-11 200 medley record-beaking squad (1:57.99), while Zencak set the backstroke record (1:05.39) this year.
All nine graduating members of the girls team are responsible for setting the school’s record for overall and NOC wins this season.
This will be a busy week for Cloverleaf, with a home match Wednesday against Barberton and then a trip to Dover on Saturday. The Colts are coming off a fine showing Saturday at the Cloverleaf Stampede Invitational.
Nick Koncar had personal bests in the 100 free (1:00.00) and backstroke (1:09.67), while the 400 free relay dropped more than eight seconds with a 3:46.72 effort. The 200 free relay lowered the bar to 1:47.36 for a school record.
All three girls relay teams set season bests.
Contact Ho Hoffman at email@example.com.