Olympians’ Records Tumble at 2019 North Carolina 4A State Championship

North Carolina 4A High School State Championship Meet

  • February 7th, 2019
  • Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary, North Carolina
  • 25 (SCY), prelims/finals

Let by a monster performance from Cardinal Gibbons freshman Claire Curzan, 6 state records went down on Thursday at the North Carolina 4A (biggest schools) High School State Championship meet.

Girls’ Full Meet Recap

Curzan (read more about her performances here) won both the 100 fly (51.60) and 100 back (51.88) individually, which in both instances are also new State Record. Her 100 fly broke the 4A record of 53.61 set by Julia Menkhaus in 2017 and the overall record of 53.23 set by Alyssa Marsh in 2016. That time was also a new USA Swimming 13-14 National Age Group Record.

In the 100 back, Curzan’s winning mark of 51.88 is the 3rd-fastest swim ever by a 13-14 year old in US history, and broke another state record. This time the old 4A mark was a 53.59 belonging to Nora McCullagh from 2014 (which was also the overall state record).

While Curzan was the individual star of the meet, the team title went to Leesville Road in a narrow 15-point margin of victory. That knocked off the 3-time defending champions W.A. Hough for the title for Leesville Road’s 3rd-ever state title and first since 1996.

The Lions bookended the meet with wins in the opening 200 medley relay (1:42.72) and closing 400 free relay (3:27.96). The performance that really pushed them over the edge, however, was a win from their star diver Ashton Zuburg on the 1-meter for 20 big points: more than the margin of vitory over Hough. That was an especially-important mid-meet boost, because Hough brought a typically-talented group of divers that scored 37 points in that event alone.

That was one of two individual event wins for Leesville Road at the meet. As the meet wound down to the wire, senior and Georgia commit Ashley McCauley won the girls’ 100 breaststroke in 1:01.53. That snuck under the old State Record (4A and overall) of 1:01.57 set by W.A. Hough’s Lilly Higgs at last year’s meet.

Girls’ Top 5 Teams:

  1. Leesville Road – 256
  2. W.A. Hough – 241
  3. Green Hope – 209
  4. Myers Park – 198
  5. Millbrook – 150

Other Girls’ Event Winners:

  • Auburn commit Kensley Merritt, a junior, won the girls’ 200 free in 1:47.05. That’s more than a two-second drop from this meet lat year, when she placed just 4th. Merritt also took 2nd in the 100 back, behind Curzan, in 54.73.
  • Sophomore Brooke Zettel from Apex Friendship High School won the girls’ 200 IM in 1:57.93. That both defended her 2018 title and broke her own state record, set last year, in 1:58.31. She later finished 2nd in the 100 breast in 1:01.89.
  • Green Hope swimmer Maria Baric won the girls’ 50 free in 22.99. That’s just short of her lifetime best in the event of 22.95 that she swam at the Winter Junior East Championships in December.
  • Ellie Marquardt from South Mecklenberg High School won the girls’ 50 free in 4:48.18, holding off her teammate Katie Rauch, who took 2nd in 4:48.95.
  • Olwyn Bartis of Myers Park High School won the girls’ 100 free title in 50.60. Bartis was formerly a 2-time North Carolina 3A State Champion at Charlotte Catholic High School, and on Thursday added a 4A title to her resume.
  • Myers Park, in a relay that included Janie Smith (23.33), Liza Whitmire (23.20), Maya Gendzel (24.08), and Bartis as the anchor (23.26) won the 200 free relay in 1:33.87.

Boys’ Full Meet Recap

The boys from Green Hope High School won the 2019 4A State Championship in a 75-point runaway over South Mecklenburg. That makes Green Hope’s 2nd-straight 4A state title, and 4th overall. Those two teams have made the dominant force in the class this decade, combining to win now 7-straight state titles.

Green Hope took the title with depth: they didn’t win their first event until midway through the meet (200 free relay), and even then only count the two free relays as event victories.

In the 200 free relay, the team of Ben Prucha(21.76), Mitch Curlee (21.42), Michael Cotter (21.37), and John Satterfield (20.79) combined for a victory in 1:25.34. That they won the race without their top sprinter, Michael Ivy, highlights the team’s incredible sprint depth. South Mecklenburg didn’t use their top sprinter on the relay either, but without the same depth, they finished just 8th in the relay.

Green Hope then finished the day with a win in the 400 free relay in 3:06.13, including a 45.78 Ivy leadoff, and carrying on to Curlee (47.84), Cotter (46.60), and Satterfield (45.91).

A pair of Virginia commits headlined the meet individually, both breaking old State Records held by Olympic gold medalists.

Jack Walker from Myers Park High School (a Virginia commit) won the 200 free in 1:35.34. That’s his 3rd-straight state title in the event, and the time absolutely-crushed his old 4A state record of 1:37.75, and the old overall state record of 1:36.99 set by Will Macmillan in 2016.

Walker later doubled up on victories with a 4:20.67 in the 500 free. That broke the old 4A and overall state record of 4:25.52 set by Charlie Houchin in 2006. Houchin would go on to win an Olympic gold medal as part of the American 800 free relay in 2012.

Max Edwards from Reagan High School won the boys’ 50 free in 20.33 and the 100 fly in 47.01. He’s actually been a hair faster in the 50 free (20.27) in non-high school competition, but his swim was a new North Carolina High School Record. The old 4A mark was set by Kyle Darmody in 2013 at 20.49, while T.W. Andrews’ Chris Compton swam a 20.44 in 1990 for the overall state record, The 100 fly was his lifetime best by nearly half-a-second and also broke a State Record – this one a 47.33 set by Ricky Berens in 2006. Berens, like Houchin, is an Olympic gold medalist – he has 2 golds and a silver, all in relays.

Boys’ Top 5 Teams:

  1. Green Hope – 267
  2. South Mecklenburg – 192
  3. Ardrey Kell – 185
  4. Athens Drive – 179
  5. Cardinal Gibbons – 157

Other Boys’ Event Winners

  • Athens Drive won the boys’ 200 medley relay in 1:32.35 when junior Cameron Thomas held off a 20.14 anchor from Green Hope anchor Michael Ivy for a final margin of less-than 3 tenths of a second. Thomas (20.74 – free) was joined on the relay by David Wahlen (22.42 – back), Daniel Baldwin (26.03 – breast), and Ryan Silver (23.16 – fly).
  • NC State commit and Hopewell High School senior Markus Wennborg won the boys’ 200 IM in 1:49.54. He was actually half-a-second faster in prelims, but even coming back to the field had just enough to hold off his teammate Chase Allison (1:49.71) for the win. Wennborg later won the 100 breast in 55.01
  • Garrett Boone of South Mecklenburg won the boys’ 100 free in 45.51, eking out the narrowest-possible victory over Green Hope’s Michael Ivy, who took 2nd in 45.52. Another momentous chapter in a great swimming rivalry.
  • David Wahlen won the boys’ 100 back for Athens Road in 48.75. He was the only swimmer to swim sub-50 in that race.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eddie Rowe
3 years ago

You buried the lead on the Leesville v. Hough team race. Hough had a DQ for an early take-off in the 400 Free Relay that sealed their fate.

3 years ago

Incredible! Great performances for NC swimming!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »