Emily Allen from W.A. Hough HIgh School was the star of the day in Cary, North Carolina as she broke State Records en route to a team title on Thursday ahead of Green Hope. In the boys’ meet, Green Hope turned the tables and were the winners with Hough finishing 2nd.
Allen, though, stood out above everyone in this impressively-fast meet, as she took down a pair of State Records belonging to current Virginia Cavalier and 2012 U.S. Olympian Lauren Perdue. First, in the 50 free, she was a 23.02 to take down Perdue’s 2009 mark of 23.08. That mark was broken later in the weekend again at the 3A by Charlotte Catholic’s Nora McCullagh with a 22.92.
The one that still stands, however, is Allen’s 49.77 in the 100 free. Perdue was a 49.80 in 2009. Allen, who is just a sophomore (training with North Mecklenburg), focused her best swims this season on Winter Juniors in December, where she was shockingly even faster. She’s the top-ranked 15-year old in the country this season, and with this swim (recently aged-up) she’s now the tenth-ranked 16-year old in the country.
She was also a huge part of Hough’s State Record in the 200 free relay in a 1:35.04, another time that was taken down by Charlotte Catholic by .04 seconds shortly after; and the 400 free relay that in 3:24.83 was again, snipped by two-tenths by Charlotte Catholic. Still, what had been 4 State Records, whittled to 1 by Saturday, was an impressive performance for the young swimmer.
She wasn’t the only Hough swimmer to win an event on the day, however. Jessica Merritt was dominant in the girls’ 200 free with a 1:48.84 as the Huskies won three of the four events before the diving break. The lone interrupter was a 2:03.32 by Alexandra Martelle from South Mecklenburg High in the 200 IM..
Things didn’t go quite as smoothly coming out of diving. Cary’s Megan Owens won the 100 fly in 55.59, as Hough’s Heather Merritt slipped to 5th (56.69) after being the top seed coming out of prelims. Then came Allen’s win, which was a much-needed scoring and emotional boost, but Green Hope’s Hannah Moore won the 500 free in 4:47.66 to again build more momentum for the eventual runners-up.
Hough, though, was impressive in its depth and snapped back the tide with a win in the 200 free relay, as mentioned above in a State Record. The junior Moore came back on short rest to win the 100 backstroke in 54.37. That’s her best time in a high school meet, though she (as we’ve seen from many swimmers in the state) a bit faster at Winter Juniors. Still, on combination of Heather Merritt (3rd – 56.52) and Alexandra Kitchens (59.37 to win the B-Final), Hough outscored Green Hope on the event, and at that point the meet was all-but out of contention.
South Mac’s Martelle picked up another win, a hard-fought 1:03.21 in the 100 breaststroke, holding off a surprising challenge from Holly Springs’ Maddie Witzkie, who blew away her best time in an All-American mark of 1:03.32.
And again, Hough closed with the emphatic victory and new State Record in the 400 free relay: a 6 second win over their rivals from Green Hope.
In the men’s meet, Green Hope again won the medley relay with a 1:34.99 with Hough finish back in 8th place in 1:40.70. Hough fought back with a 1:39.85 win from Harvard-bound senior John Manchester: the only swimmer in the meet under 1:40.
The next race, the men’s 200 IM, might have been the swim-of-the-day on the boys’ side of the meet. Colin Ellington, just a junior from Holly Springs. The Holly Springs team at this meet was quite small, but it was packed with some top-end power on both the men’s and women’s side. Ellington won the 200 IM in 1:49.29 and followed that with a State Record in the 100 free in 44.87 – that took down a 45.09 from Matt Donch swum in 2006.
In the men’s 100 fly (where nobody was touching Ricky Berens’ record), Laney High School’s Christian Caveness won in 50.02, followed closely by Jonathan Glavich (younger brother of Dominik) in 50.90 – a pair of YMCA standouts.
Other big names to take wins at this meet include, fittingly, Auburn-bound sprinter Kyle Darmody in the 50 free with a 20.54, and another win from Manchester in the 100 back in 49.39 – coming just half-a-second away from Eugene Godsoe’s State mark.
In the last individual event of the meet, the 100 breaststroke, Northwest Guilford’s Daniel Le was an impressive 55.14: something Stanford fans will be thrilled to see given their recent struggle in the breaststroke group. Le is Palo Alto-bound next fall with that State Record.
Neither of the top two teams were much of a factor in the 400 free relay, as J.H. Rose won in 3:09.19 over Providence in 3:09.52, but this meet was decided by the early depth of Green Hope.
Women’s Top 10
1. Hough, W.A. 323
2. Green Hope 236
3. Panther Creek 182
4. Providence 167
5. Grimsley 160
6. Cary 159
7. Apex 136
8. Reagan 122
9. Hoggard 85
10. South Mecklenburg 80
Men’s Top 10
1. Green Hope 259
2. Hough, W.A. 190
3. South Mecklenburg 175
4. East Chapel Hill 168
5. Providence 156
6. Leesville Road 127
7. Rose, J. H. 119
8. Kell, Ardrey 91
9. Grimsley 84
10. Lake Norman 83