Bentonville Repeats as Arkansas HS 7A-6A Champions

2016-17 AHSAA Swimming & Diving 7A-6A Championship

Bentonville High School in Northwest Arkansas continued their dynastic streak of AHSAA titles at the 2016-17 Arkansas High School Swimming and Diving Championships. It has been 18 years since any boys team, and 19 years since any girls team, has unseated them, putting Head Coach Marcel Da Ponte’s Tigers on a short list of teams to have ever held such a long reign for both genders at any level in the sport.

Bentonville won 13 of the 24 events, and 5 of the 6 State Records set during the meet were claimed by Tigers on the way to their dual victories.

Texas A&M commit Taylor Pike led the way for Bentonville’s girls, setting a new state mark in the 100 freestyle (51.43) while leading off the Tigers’ 400 Free Relay.  Teammates Gabby Collins, Lainey Quandt and Loren Hedgecock brought the race home to also crush the AHSAA Record, lowering it to 3:35.15.  Pike also won the 100 fly at 54.11 and the 500 freestyle at 4:49.28.

Bentonville’s boys squad had two double winners, led by Penn State signee Hayden Harlow who claimed the 200 IM with 1:50.46 and the 100 breaststroke with 55.84.  Tiger Freshman Ryan Husband cut five seconds from his lifetime best to with the 200 freestyle with 1:39.97, and then later in the meet destroyed the State Record in the 100 free with 45.59, erasing the mark set by Ellis Miller from Siloam Springs in 2009.

Bentonville’s boys set two relay State Records as well.  The team of Zane Sutton, Harlow, Husband and Simon Mooney cut 1.8 seconds from the mark set last year by the Tigers, reducing it to 1:34.19.  At the end of the meet, Harlow, Sutton, Hayden Dixon and Husband would cut over six seconds from the 400 Freestyle Relay Record that had stood since 2010, dropping the mark to 3:08.24.

The lone State Record not set by a Tiger was the boys’ 100 backstroke, when Bentonville West’s Gavin Vann lowered his own 2016 mark to 50.38.  Vann also topped the podium in the 50 free with 21.09.

Other event winners and notable swims include:

  • Madeline Marks would lead a 1-2 finish for the girls’ 200 freestyle, when she and teammate Loren Hedgecock touched at 1:56.09 and 1:56.70 respectively.  Hedgecock was also the Champion for the 100 free in 53.16.
  • Searcy’s Rachel McGuirt won the girls’ 200 IM by over a second with her 2:06.84 finish.
  • Bella Cothern was a double winner, taking the 50 Freestyle (24.19) and the 100 breaststroke (1:06.70) for Jonesboro.
  • Conway claimed wins for two boys’ events when AJ Mainord touched at 52.22 for the 100 fly and Charles Rieth took the 500 freestyle with 4:46.29.
  • Little Rock Central claimed both 200 free relays, taking the girls’ event in 1:41.29 and the boys’ in 1:31.03.
  • Central also had an individual event winner when Arianna Shojaee owned the 100 back with 58.55


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