For the 2nd-straight year, Belton High School played host to a quadruple-dual meet that included 4 of the best high school teams in the state, and for the 2nd-straight year, it was Southlake Carroll and Austin who came away with matching 5-1 records. The Westlake boys lost only to Southlake, and the Southlake girls lost only to Westlake,
The 4 contending teams included Southlake Carroll near Dallas, Westlake and Vandergrift High Schools in Austin, and Belton High School that sits in the middle on a direct path between the two. Southlake has been the state’s dominant high school team over the last decade – the boys have won 6 consecutive state titles in the state’s biggest division (which is now 6A, but has been called 5A during that run), including last year where their 295 points was the most in state history.
Last year, the boys from Westlake took 2nd at the 6A State Championship meet, while the Westlake girls were the champions.
Vandegrift, meanwhile, were the 2016 champions in the 5A and under classification, designed for the state’s smaller schools, though Vandegrift still has almost 1900 students. Their boys’ team placed 9th.
The Texas High School swimming season begins as early as August and runs through the state championship meet in February, so aside from the level of competition, this is very much just a big mid-year test for these teams.
The Girls’ Meet
- Westlake 151-Southlake 134
- Westlake 175-Vandegrift 109
- Westlake 204-Belton 80
- Southlake 177-Vandegrift – 109
- Southlake 212-Belton 74
- Vandegrift 196.5-Belton 89.5
While the overall margin of victory was held relatively close by the Southlake depth, the Westlake girls dominated the top-end of this meet – which gives them high hopes of repeating as 6A champions next year. They won every event on the girls’ side except for one, including back-to-back victories for sophomore Emma Wheal in the 50 free (24.34) and 100 fly (57.80).
The one swing victory for Southlake Carroll came in the 100 breaststroke, where Rachel Luevit swam a 1:09.82 to fight off Westlake junior Amilla Dlakie.
The Westlake girls at this meet were without Dakota Luther or Victoria Edwards, both of whom won individual state titles last year.
The Boys’ Meet
- Souhlake 183-Westlake 103
- Southlake 219-Vandegrift 66
- Southlake 218-Belton 64
- Westlake 168-Vandegrift 117
- Westlake 212-Belton 70
- Vandegrift 203-Belton 78
The meet came with an electric opening 200 medley relay, that Westlake won 1:37.43 to 1:37.94 over Southlake. While the wins were well-distributed, ultimately the final scores weren’t that close as Southlake rolled.
Each boys’ team won at least one event on the day. The champions Southlake got their first early as part of a 1-2 finish in the boys’ 200 free. Jack LeVant led the way in 1:41.13 and was three-seconds better than his senior teammate Gus Karau.
For Westlake, their star junior Matthew Willenbring got a dominant early victory in the 200 IM. He swam a 1:53.63, more than 7 seconds better than his next-closest competition. The long Texan, who stands somewhere around 6’9″ tall, is a rapidly-rising prospect who will likely land among SwimSwam’s top 20 nationally in the class of 2017. He’s as much a candidates in the breaststrokes and IMs as he is in the sprint freestyles, and cut almost 3 seconds off his best time in the 100 breaststroke in his sophomore season alone. He didn’t swim that race at this meet, but did at last year’s state championship and is likely to do so again in 2017.
In a rare high-quality 500 battle at the high school level, Westlake’s Will Thomas out-battled LeVant 4:35.64-4:36.17 – making up a half-second deficit over the last 50 yards.
The hosts Belton got on the board with twin victories from junior Noah Henry. Henry, whose dad Patrick is the Belton coach and a former standout at Texas A&M, won the 100 fly in 51.61 and the 100 back in 53.28.
Vandegrift’s win came from junior Andrew Pickard, who topped the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.52. He out-ran a trio of Southlake swimmers who were all 1:03 or better.
Full meet results available here.