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AAA State Championships preview

By Taylor Knight

The Langley girls will attempt to duplicate their Regionals result this weekend at the state championships (Photo by Mark Overend)

The Langley girls will attempt to duplicate their Regionals result this weekend with a win at the state championships (Photo by Mark Overend)

As the best swimmers and divers from across the Commonwealth converge on Virginia Beach this weekend to compete in the 2011 VHSL AAA State Swim and Dive Championship, teams from the Northern Region must feel confident about their chances to win a state title.

To find the last state champion not from the Northern Region, you have to go back a decade to 2001 when the boys of Cave Spring High School took home the title.

This year, the favorites are once again two teams from the Northern Region, but they offer a slight variation on the theme of years past. With the Robinson boys and girls both suffering down years (only in comparison to their storied traditions), all eyes will be focused on the Langley girls and the Westfield boys.

As good as the Bulldogs have been this year, there are few, if any, teams in the position to challenge them at the state meet. At Regionals, the Woodson boys brought everything they had and still ended up an afterthought. The top team out of the Northwest District, Osbourn Park, is yet to have a shot at Westfield, but should offer little resistance. Osbourn Park’s 400 freestyle relay was tops in the Northwest Region with a time of 3:15.16 – a full five seconds slower than the time posted by Westfield at the Northern Region meet.

But the Westfield boys are still expecting a battle.

“This year we feel that there are going to be a lot of teams coming after us,” said Bulldog senior CJ Fiala. “At the beginning of the year, we were kind of low on the radar. Now everyone knows us and we have a target on our back.”

However, with legitimate individual title contenders in CJ Fiala, Brandon Fiala, and Kurtis Ratcliff, as well as a strong supporting cast of Charlie Keith, John Bounds, Richard Xue, and Matthew Glowacki, it should be Westfield’s title to lose.

Event-by-event title contenders (times from Northern and Northwest Region Championships):

200 freestyle – Cyrus Hashemi, Marshall (1:40.35); Charlie Putnam, McLean (1:41.47); Ryan Natal, Langley (1:41.63)

200 IM – Chuck Katis, Langley (1:50.24)

50 freestyle – Travis Lauri, Fairfax (21.07); Johnny Germanis, Centreville (21.08); CJ Fiala (21.10); Ricky Munch, Robinson (21.29)

100 butterfly – Kurtis Ratcliff, Westfield (50.31); Ryan Natal, Langley (50.96); Stephen Seliskar, Thomas Jefferson (51.15)

100 freestyle – CJ Fiala, Westfield (46.06); Johnny Germanis, Centreville (46.46); Travis Lauri, Fairfax (46.75)

500 freestyle – Kurtis Ratcliff, Westfield (4:32.34); Greg Stoffa, Osbourn Park (4:32.47)

100 backstroke – Philip Hu, Oakton (50.85); Kyle Tyrrell, Annandale (50.91); Charlie Putnam, McLean (51.45)

100 breaststroke – Chuck Katis, Langley (55.61)

Westfield head coach Bruce Anderson clutches the Bulldogs' Northern Region trophy (Photo courtesy of Westfield Swim and Dive Website)

Westfield head coach Bruce Anderson clutches the Bulldogs' Northern Region trophy (Photo courtesy of Westfield Swim and Dive Website)

The Langley girls are hungry for their first state title since 2001, and the prize is certainly within reach, but they are going to have to work for it.

Two weeks ago, the Saxons were nearly overcome by the Yorktown girls, escaping upset by just 23 points. This weekend’s challenge, however, will likely come from Osbourn Park, whose girls won the Northwest Region title and are nearly as talented as the Langley contingent. The Yellow Jackets are led by junior Courtney Mizerak, who took second place in the 200 IM (2:08.55) and first place in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.78) at Regionals, and sophomore Emma Skelley, who placed third in the 200 freestyle (1:56.18) and first in the 500 freestyle (5:01.70) at the same meet.

However, with significantly faster relays and the immeasurable experience of its seniors, Langley is still the team to beat.

“I’m not really too familiar with any programs in the other parts of the state having the kind of depth that the teams up in the Northern Region have,” said Langley head coach Ryan Jackson. “It doesn’t really seem that there are necessarily any other teams that have the combination of as many talented swimmers as we do.”

Event-by-event title contenders (times from Northern and Northwest Region Championships):

200 freestyle – Jayme Katis, Langley (1:52.05); Shannon Harper, Forest Park (1:52.09)

200 IM – Kaitlin Pawlowicz, Oakton (2:01.38)

50 freestyle – Janet Hu, Oakton (23.43); Abi Speers, Langley (23.83); Reanna Dona, West Potomac (24.06) Hellen Moffitt, West Potomac (24.11)

100 butterfly – Hellen Moffitt, West Potomac (55.55); Kaitlin Pawlowicz, Oakton (55.58); Bailie Monahan, Colonial Forge (57.08)

100 freestyle – Abi Speers, Langley (51.99); Holly Harper, Albemarle (52.21); Jayme Katis, Langley (52.38)

500 freestyle – Emma Skelley, Osbourn Park (5:01.70); Laura SchwartzFalls Church (5:04.18)

100 backstroke – Janet Hu, Oakton (55.60); Holly Harper, Albemarle (56.24); Reanna Dona, West Potomac (56.61)

100 breaststroke – Rachel Canty, Robinson (1:03.68); Courtney Mizerak, Osbourn Park (1:04.78)


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2 Responses to “AAA State Championships preview”

  1. Zbulldogs says:

    Does Westfield even have a girls swim team or is it just a boys team?

  2. Hubert the Infant says:

    The Virginia independent high school championships, also going on this weekend, have several swimmers as good as or better than their public school counterparts.

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