Virginia AAA district championship previews

Virginia AAA district championship previews

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Despite some postponements due to the weather, Virginia’s district championship meets are on for this weekend and we’ve got your updated dates, times and sites along with preview capsules for each of this weekend’s big meets in the Commonwealth.

(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

AAA Northern Region

Site: Cub Run RECenter, Chantilly
Swimming: Timed Finals – Sat. 5:30 PM
Diving: Sat. 12:30 PM

What to watch for: When the Concorde District Swim and Dive Championships get underway on Saturday afternoon there will be two frontrunners in the Westfield boys (7-0) and the Oakton girls (7-0), but don’t expect the competition to go quietly. The Bulldog girls and the Oakton boys will both also be in the running and, despite a down year, Robinson always figures prominently into the postseason picture. One of the top races of the night should feature Westfield’s C.J. Fiala and Robinson’s Ricky Munch in the 50 freestyle. Both have already notched state cuts in the event this season while Fiala has broken the Westfield school record, posting a time of 21.27. The Bulldog standout is also likely to swim the 100 free. For the Oakton girls, Janet Hu (200 freestyle), Kaitlin Pawlowicz (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle), and Stephanie Hallock (500 freestyle) all have a shot at district crowns. But they will be pushed by many of the Westfield (Carli Molano, Sierra Higinbotham) and Robinson girls (Tori Baker, Kathleen Dodson) who have posted regional and state cuts . Moving to the timed-finals format may benefit some teams more than others, eliminating the strategy aspect of prelims; seasons will hinge on a single swim.

Outlook from the deck: “Our boys are atop the district right now, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We only beat Oakton by seven points and we know they will be ready for a fight,” Westfield head coach Bruce Anderson said. “Unusual things happen at championship meets…We’ve got to hope everyone is healthy and swimming fast.”

Site: Audrey Moore RECenter, Annandale
Swimming: Timed Finals – Sat. 5:30 PM
Diving: Sun. 1-6 PM

What to watch for: A quick look at the Liberty District standings reveals just how close the championship meet will be this weekend. The Madison boys come into Saturday with an undefeated dual meet record, having gone virtually unchallenged all season long. Their smallest margin of victory (76 points) came against Marshall in the season’s final meet. The story has been similar for the Langley girls who also wrapped up a perfect 7-0 season last week against Thomas Jefferson. The Madison girls present perhaps the greatest challenge to Langley, finishing the year at 6-1 and are the three-time Liberty District champions. Jefferson and Fairfax are on the outside looking in, but due to the nature of scoring at districts and the change to a timed finals, both schools have a shot to break into the mix. Langley’s girls will be led by Jayme Katis, Meghan Overend, Abi Speers, and Allie Zeidan, all members of the state-qualifying 400 freestyle relay. On the boys’ side, keep an eye Langley’s Chuck Katis and Ryan Natal, Madison’s David Fallavollita, McLean’s Charlie Putnam, and Thomas Jefferson’s Stephen Seliskar as they compete for individual district titles.

Outlook from the deck: “I expect both of our teams to be competitive for the district championship,” said Madison head coach Andrew Foos. “Our men are particularly well-positioned to do well this week with several of our top swimmers performing well in practice. The ladies continue to work hard on their goal of retaining their district championship. To do it they will need to swim best times throughout the meet.”

Washington-Lee High School, Arlington
Preliminaries – Sat. 6 PM; Finals – Mon. 5 PM
Sat. 1 p.m.

What to watch for: Anything less than a comfortable victory for the Yorktown girls would be a stunner. The Patriots (7-0) have won 17 consecutive district titles and surged to another unbeaten regular season despite relying on a number of young swimmers. Senior Lydia Carpenter was unbeaten in individual events this season and has proven her ability to perform in the 50, 200 and 400 free, 200 IM, breast and fly. Senior Molly Merkel, Junior Stephanie Romano and sophomores Abigail Young and Eleanor Belilos provide Coach Dave Lassiter plenty of lineup options for a Patriots team hoping to improve upon last season’s eighth-place finish at the Northern Region meet. Falls Church sophomore Laura Schwartz – who set a district record in the 200 IM and won the 500 free at last year’s district meet – could be in line for another big night for the Jaguars.
The real drama will be reserved for the boys where defending champions Yorktown (5-2) will face a serious challenge from rivals Washington-Lee and up-and-coming Hayfield. Yorktown dropped a pair of dual meets this season, with the first coming with a depleted lineup against Hayfield and the second occurring just last week against Washington-Lee. The Generals (7-0) have been on a mission to topple the Patriots after losing the 2010 meet by just eight points and last weekend’s 101-85 dual meet victory at Yorktown should give them confidence heading into Monday’s finals at their home pool. Freshman Michael Emanuel, David Palmer, Greg Lemek and two-time defending district diving champion Carl Buergler will lead the Generals as seniors Matthew Essig and James Linek and sophomore Max Fish look to maintain Yorktown’s run of dominance. The Falls Church boys have also swum well this season and should factor into several events.

Outlook from the deck: “Our goal coming into this season – as it always is – is to beat Yorktown,” Washington-Lee Coach Kristina Dorville said. “This needs to be the year that we do it at the district meet…We lost by 10 points or less the last two years and it’s just getting ridiculous.”

The Forest Park boys get another crack at Osbourn Park Saturday at the Cardinal District championships.
The Forest Park boys get another crack at Osbourn Park Saturday at the Cardinal District championships.

Site: Lee District RECenter, Alexandria
Swimming: Timed Finals – Sat. 5:30 PM
Diving: Sat. (Boys – 1:45 PM; Girls – 4:45 PM)

What to watch for: Of the eight district titles to be won across the Northern Region this weekend, perhaps most up for grabs is the Patriot District girls’ crown. The Woodson girls looked to have the league wrapped up but were defeated in the season finale by a talented South County team; both programs finished the year with a 6-1 dual-meet record. However, the South County girls suffered an early-season loss to West Springfield, which fell to Woodson, complicating the outlook for Districts. Despite their one stumble, the defending-champion Woodson girls must still be considered the favorites if they get fast swims from Rachel Rogers and Morgan Bui, among others. West Springfield’s Kathryn Sieracki, Lake Braddock’s Alessandra Troncoso, Taylor Parry, and Jordan Parry, and South County’s Courtney Betro should all make runs at individual district titles. The undefeated Woodson boys should have a relatively easy shot at repeating as Patriot District champions but may be pushed by last year’s runner-up, West Springfield. Expect Dirk Verheul, Logan Richlak, Bo Ilgenfritz, and Alex Saffran to the lead the way for the Cavaliers. Other title contenders include West Potomac’s Mark Mattis, Lake Braddock’s David Maquera and Troy Chewning, and South County’s Michael Herrmann and Kyle Dost.

Outlook from the deck: “Going into Districts, our boys look very strong. Despite our losses from last season’s team, we may send even more boys to Regionals than last year,” said Woodson head coach Susie Hamrock. “For the girls’ side, it could be a three to five team race for the district crown. It will probably come down to who has the best meet.”

AAA Northwest Region

Chinn Aquatic & Fitness Center, Prince William
Swimming: Finals – Sat. 5 PM

What to watch for: Osbourn Park‘s boys and girls ran through the regular season with matching 6-0 dual meet records and the Yellow Jackets enter Saturday’s meet as favorites on both sides once again. Junior freestyle distance specialist Greg Stoffa owns one of the top times in the area in the 500 free (4:36.31) and is unbeaten in several events this season. Fellow junior Grant Minick has also been a consistent top finisher in freestyle events and along with freshman Ivan Fadeyev and A.J. Shields, he’ll need to step up for the Yellow Jacket boys to hold off another stiff challenge from rivals Forest Park. The Bruins nearly knocked Osbourn Park’s boys from the ranks of the unbeaten back on Dec. 18 in a meet that featured a number of extremely close races, and will look to complete the task this time around. Led by Tyler Anderson, Jordan Murrin and Philip Blevins, Forest Park hopes a strong showing in the relays can propel the Bruins to a district title.
On the girls’ side, juniors Courtney Mizerak, Christine Souther and Audrey Kula lead a deep lineup that has its sights set on a second straight Northwest Region title. Woodbridge gave the Yellow Jackets a scare just last week and Victoria Coughlin, Emily Kelly and the rest of the Vikings could be in for a strong showing Saturday night.

Outlook from the deck: “Our boys only lost to Osbourn Park by 12 points last month, so we’re really looking for them to come back with a vengeance,” Forest Park Coach Lindsey Brauzer said. “Our kids have dropped a lot of time since that meet and we’ve made some good decisions on where to swim kids. We’re looking forward to seeing if they’re ready for us.”

Kaleigh Rosenburg and Heritage will go toe-to-toe with Battlefield at the Cedar Run championship meet (Photo by Gemma Rosenburg).
Kaleigh Rosenburg and Heritage will go toe-to-toe with Battlefield at the Cedar Run championship meet (Photo by Gemma Rosenburg).

George Mason Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Manassas
Swimming: Finals – Sat. 3:30 PM

What to watch for: Following a perfect regular season, Battlefield will look to fend off upstart Heritage, Stonewall Jackson and Osbourn to notch another district title on the boys’ side and improve on last year’s runner-up finish with its girls’ team. A trio of 2010 state qualifiers, senior Nick Mathis and juniors Jacob Croasdell and Ford Whitticar along with standout sophomore Bill Pogue, will lead the Bobcats boys in their title defense. Meanwhile, Heritage is hoping for a stronger showing the second time around against Battlefield. The Pride boys (4-2) took their only district defeat by a lopsided 200-86 margin back on Jan. 8, but senior Damon Rosenburg – who already has three individual team records to his name – leads a much-improved Heritage lineup that includes junior sprinter Constantin Fabian, sophomore Daniel McAllister and reliable seniors Tim Melhuish, Paul Bartholemew and Marco Cunicelli. Osbourn senior Matthew Perez had another strong season and will give the Eagles a boost Saturday night.
On the girls’ side, the Bobcats will be favored to take the title, but Heritage and Osbourn will again be in the mix. Juniors Holly Criscuolo and Natalie Martin lead Battlefield while versatile Heritage sophomore Kaleigh Rosenburg leads the 5-1 Pride. Battlefield took the 200 medley and 400 free relays in their meet with Heritage earlier this month, but the Pride are focused on taking at least two relays to help their title push in the school’s second and final season in the Cedar Run District.

Outlook from the deck: “Battlefield took us pretty good last time, but we’re coming back really pumped up for Saturday night,” Heritage Coach John Kilmartin said. “We’re really pleased with with our season so far and we’re looking forward to a very competitive meet where we can qualify as many kids for regionals and states as possible.”

(no schedule change for district meet, tonight’s dual meets canceled)
Spotsylvania YMCA
Swimming: Finals – Feb. 4, 3 PM

(Taylor Knight contributed to this report.)


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