After months of dual meets, the championship season has finally arrived for Virginia teams as the area district meets open this weekend across the Northern Region.
One major change has come into play: With the possibility of snow on Saturday, teams must be prepared for Friday’s preliminaries to be scored as finals should the meets be canceled tomorrow. Coaches were informed on Friday afternoon that relays will be scored as finals at the preliminaries on Friday, and it may end up that the district champions are crowned with a phone call on Saturday morning.
Here is a quick preview of the area Virginia AAA Northern Region district championships.
Where: Washington-Lee Pool, Arlington
When: Prelims – Friday, 5:30 PM; Finals – Saturday, 5:30 PM
What to Watch For: It should be a battle between the two teams that faced each other in the final week of the season with unbeaten records: Yorktown and Washington-Lee. The two Arlington schools split the meet, with the Patriots girls and Generals boys each walking away with perfect seasons.
After diving on Thursday, Mount Vernon leads the way with 41 points, followed by Washington-Lee with 39 and Yorktown in third with 30.
Best Races: Perhaps the closest will be the men’s 200 freestyle between Edison’s Balazs Kiss, an honorable mention All-Met last year, and Washington-Lee’s Freddy Crawford, who is seeded first in the event with a time of 1:45.59. Kiss is seeded second at 1:46.83.
Outlook from the Deck: “We as a team want to win districts,” Washington-Lee Coach Kristina Dorville said. “Our relays our seeded well for the boys’ side, first and second in all of them, and I think in general it’ll be a fun meet. And to be hosting the meet at our new pool, the first time ever in an Arlington County pool, I believe, we’re excited about that opportunity as well.”
Where: OakMarr RECenter, Oakton
When: Prelims – Friday, 6:00 PM; Finals – Saturday, 5:30 PM
What to Watch For: In its first season in the Patriot District after moving over from the Liberty, W.T. Woodson finished undefeated in the regular season and now must prove they can pick up points in a championship meet to walk away with the district crown.
The Cavaliers girls face their stiffest challenge from defending champion West Springfield, which Woodson beat 174-141 late in the season. Also keep an eye on Lake Braddock, another strong team that narrowly fell to Woodson in early December. Though the Cavaliers finished undefeated, they still go into the district meet facing an uphill battle to score points and win a title.
The Cavaliers boys faced nary a challenge throughout the season – never winning their meets by any less than 101 points. Woodson won by 150, 180, 101, 103, 139, 113 and 168 points during the perfect season.
Best Races: Keep an eye on the 50 freestyle girls’ race and the girls’ 400 freestyle relay, which could be a close battle between South County and Woodson.
Outlook from the Deck: “On the boys side we feel pretty confident and we’re excited for tonight,” Woodson Coach Susie Hamrock said. “The girls’ is going to be a bit more of a challenge, a battle between Lake Braddock, West Springfield, us and South County. One on one with the dual meets our depth really helps us, but tonight at districts we’re going to be spread thin. We don’t have any first place seeds on the girls’ side so we’re looking for our depth to help us again, so it’ll be more of a challenge.”
Where: Cub Run RECenter, Chantilly
When: Prelims – Friday, 5:30 PM; Finals – Saturday, 5:30 PM
What to Watch For: No doubt this meet is once again a battle between two powerhouses that are also major threats for the state titles on both the boys and girls side: Oakton and Robinson.
Robinson boys’ have won seven consecutive Virginia AAA state titles – but last year it was Oakton that walked away as the Northern Region champions. The Cougars are led by UVA-bound, All-Met senior Bradley Phillips, a favorite to win state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyles. Keep an eye on K.J. Park and freshman Philip Hu as well.
On the girls side Oakton features All-Met junior Kaitlin Pawlowicz, but it was the Robinson girls who walked away with a win when the two teams met in a dual early in the season.
Despite all of Oakton’s star power, there is no doubt that Robinson remains a heavyweight favorite. The well-rounded Rams will be boosted by a tremendous start in the diving competition on Thursday night, where they swept first through fourth on the girls side (England Barimo, Brynn Rollo, Laura Gartrell and Ali Graine) and took first and second on the boys’ (Cory Bowersox and Frank Burdell). Robinson also has regional qualifiers in every event on both the boys’ and girls’ side.
Keep an eye on Ricky Munch, Rachel Canty, Johann Shim and Kathleen Dodson – all of whom have state cuts already, as well as senior Hannah Walden.
Best Races: The boys’ 100 breaststroke in which Oakton has the top and fourth seed while Robinson is seeded second and third. The girls’ 100 breast and 100 back are also set to be fast, highly-contested races stacked with swimmers from the two top programs.
Outlook from the Deck: “If they do the best they can, that’s all I can ask for,” Robinson Coach Clayton Joyner said. “If they’re having fun and doing that, the result will be positive. Oakton has a good team, that’s no secret. It’s going to be tough to beat them, but at the same time we have a lot of pride and tradition and I know my kids are going to step up.”
Where: Audrey Moore RECenter, Annandale
When: Prelims – Friday, 6 PM; Finals – Saturday, 5:30 PM
What to Watch For: This meet might be one of the most hotly contested, with several talented teams on both the boys’ and girls’ sides contending for titles.
On the boys’ side, Langley, Jefferson, Madison and Fairfax will all battle it out for the championship. A deep Warhawks’ boys’ team finished the year unbeaten but will have to hold off a strong challenge from teams with several regional and state-bound swimmers.
Madison lacks star power but boasted plenty of depth in dual season with freshman Evan Owens, Eric Kim and Andy McGuire and senior Adam Pennington.
Keep an eye on Jefferson’s Stephen Seliskar and Matt Callahan, Langley’s Ryan Natal and Chuck Katis and Stephen Richards, McLean’s Charlie Putnam and Fairfax’s Jake Baumgardner and Joey Kelly.
On the girls’ side, it will be another closely contested meet featuring several teams. Madison, Langley, McLean and Jefferson will all look to be in the picture over the weekend – though the Saxons enter the weekend as the favorite to take the crown.
Keep an eye on Langley’s Megan Howard, Abigail Speers and Jayme Katis, Jefferson’s Katie Bennett and McLean’s Eva Greene.
Best Races: The boys’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays are separated all within one second among the top seeds, and the boys’ 200 freestyle also figures to be a close race.
Outlook from the Deck: “It’s really, really close on both sides, boys and girls,” Jefferson Coach Alexandra Porter said. “It’s definitely going to be a meet to watch. The top three [teams] in the district, [the meet is basically] is divided by 10 points. It’s going to be crazy.”
Tags: AAA Northern Region, Bradley Phillips, Concorde District, Eva Greene, Fairfax, Jefferson, Kaitlin Pawlowicz, Lake Braddock, Langley, Liberty District, Madison, McLean, Mount Vernon, National District, Northern Region, Oakton High School, Patriot District, Philip Hu, Robinson, South County, Virginia High School Swimming, W.T. Woodson, Washington-Lee, West Springfield, Yorktown