As the Northern Region enters the penultimate weekend of its dual-meet schedule, seasons will be defined and forecasts regarding the fast-approaching championship season will be made.
Friday night at Cub Run RECenter, the Westfield and Robinson boys will square off in a matchup of two Concorde District programs that have experienced somewhat of a role reversal in the past year. Five meets into last season, the Robinson boys held a 4-1 dual-meet record and went on to take second place at the district championship. Meanwhile, the Bulldog boys had fought to a 3-2 season mark on their way to grabbing fourth place at the Concorde District championship meet.
Just one year later, the two teams are virtually unrecognizable. With five wins, the Westfield boys currently sit in first place, having notched impressive early-season victories over Robinson, Chantilly, and Oakton. The 2-3 Rams, on the other hand, have found limited success, and without a win on Friday the chance for a winning dual-meet season disappears.
But don’t count the Rams out just yet. Robinson head coach Philip Caslavka and his boys know what a victory this weekend would mean for their program. “A win against a state-champion caliber team like Westfield would not only get us back on the right track, but would also prove that we are still capable of competing at that level as an entire team,” said Caslavka.
For the Westfield boys the potential for an undefeated season hangs in the balance. “My boys are really fired up,” said Bulldog head coach Bruce Anderson. “[The boys] are training really hard, so they are tired and a little sore. But they have some lofty goals for the season, so I know they will be prepared for Friday night.”
Robinson will need a total team effort on Friday to beat Westfield, meaning responsibility will fall on the shoulders of some younger swimmers like freshman Matt Jones and sophomores Johann Shim and Paul Betzold to pick up second and third place finishes. Westfield will look to a couple of state qualifiers in C.J. Fiala (50 free, 21.27; 100 free, 47.21) and Kurtis Ratcliff (500 free, 4:46.56; 100 fly, 52.04) as it attempts to hold off the Rams.
South County has struggled historically against Lake Braddock, having yet to defeat the Bruins since opening its doors in 2005. But progress is evident. Both the South County boys and girls stand at 4-1 on the season with their only loss coming at the hands of West Springfield. And, for the first time in school history, the Stallion boys topped Annandale in a 180-135 victory.
Lake Braddock head coach Miriam Lynch says that South County’s is among the Patriot District’s top teams. “Our district is really competitive,” she said. “We have South County, we have Woodson, and we have West Springfield.”
Swimming at Lake Braddock is a family affair as evidenced by a quick scan of the Bruin roster. But as the Bruins search for a victory in this Patriot District contest, look for three sibling pairs in particular to stand out – David and Cubby Maquera, Andrew and Nicholas Laffosse, and Taylor and Jordan Parry.
Vikings, Wilcats renew rivalry as Montgomery County returns to dual meet action
Last season, the Whitman boys took first in the final event of their dual meet with Walter Johnson – the 400 free relay – and the Viking boys narrowly edged the Wildcats 86-84. Meanwhile, Whitman’s girls nearly doubled up the Wildcats as they began their run to the Metros title.
When the two schools hit the water Saturday at the Montgomery Aquatic Center — ending a gap of 28 days between dual meets — another tightly contested meet could be in the cards.
The Wildcats received a big boost with the transfer of former Georgetown Prep junior Garrett Powell who owns the top time in the 100 back (55.97) in the county this season and has the fourth-best time in the 200 free (1:48.81). Fellow junior Fletcher Tollefson is following in the footsteps of older brother Andrew – last year’s Metros breastroke champion – as he’s excelled in the breastroke and 200 IM.
Whitman sophomore Patrick Scordato swept the 50 free (22.21) and 100 fly (53.98) in a hard-fought win against Bethesda-Chevy Chase back on Dec. 18 and along with senior Michael Kellam should have another strong showing as the Vikings (2-0) look to remain unbeaten.
Fresh off another strong effort at the Division 1 relay carnival, the defending county champion Whitman girls will be looking to bolster their form as well. Sophomores Charlotte Meyer and Audrey Gould and juniors Reia Tong, Victoria Kuhn and Katie Mahaffie are a versatile group atop the Vikings’ deep ranks but Walter Johnson senior Elizabeth Pepper has shown the ability to come up big in just about any event and could give Whitman problems with her swims. Matching Whitman’s depth with be the biggest challenge for the Wildcats, but they should get a nice head start from defending county diving champion Annie Kastler.
(Matt Brooks contributed to this report.)