Virginia High School League State Championships
The Virginia High School League, which consists primarily of the state’s public schools, was supposed to contest the five separate state championship meets the organization hosts this week, however, all of the meets except possibly the Class 3 meet (scheduled for Sunday) have been postponed due to a winter storm watch/advisory for much of the state. Most of the diving portions of the meets have already happened, while the swimming was to start tomorrow, split between the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, and the Oak Marr Recreation Center, in Oakton.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Due impending severe weather forecast for areas throughout the Commonwealth, the Class 4, 5, and 6 swimming events, originally scheduled for Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center and Oak Marr RECenter in Oakton have been postponed. The re-scheduling of dates and sites will be forthcoming. At this time, the Class 3 swimming events are still scheduled for Sunday, February 14, but League staff will continue monitoring weather forecasts.
The VHSL is divided into six classes, ranging from the smallest schools (Class 1) to the largest schools (Class 6).
Even without the change due to the weather, this year’s meets were already going to look quite a bit different than most years. For one, each district in the state chose whether or not to participate in each sports season, which led to many districts opting to cancel winter sports. In southeastern Virginia, for instance, the city of Virginia Beach chose to allow winter sport, while the neighboring city of Chesapeake ended up canceling the season. Most (although certainly not all) of the state’s swimming firepower lies in Fairfax County, which is participating.
The other big change for this year is that only a total of 16 swimmers or teams will participate in each event for each class, and the competition will happen as timed finals, rather than the normal prelims/finals format. The only way to qualify for each meet was to finish in the top four at the respective regional championships, which took place last week.
Class 5 will featuring the defending girls champions, First Colonial, but the defending boys champions, Douglass Freeman, will be one of the Richmond-area schools who are not competing this year. First Colonial’s Samantha Tadder, a Stanford commit who we ranked as the #8 girl in the high school class of 2021, returns to defend her title in the 500 free (4:49.05 seed time) and is also the top seed in the 100 breast (1:02.48).
Both of last year’s Class 6 team champions, the Woodson boys and the James Madison girls, will be competing this weekend as well. Aiken Do, the #8 recruit in the school boys class of 2022 and a Virginia Tech commit, leads Woodson with with the top seed in the 100 free (45.55) and is seeded 2nd in the 50 free (20.84). The James Madison girls don’t have any top seeds, but are seeded 2nd in all three relays, and have someone seeded in the top 8 in every individual events.
The Class 6 meet will also feature three of the top recruits class of 2021, Oakton’s Anthony Grimm and Yorktown’s Torri Huske, and James River’s Grace Sheble. Grimm, who’s committed to Texas, has the top seeds in the 50 free (20.14) and the 100 breast (54.81), and he’s the defending champ in both events.
Huske holds the top seed in the 100 fly by over seconds, and while she lowered her own national public high school record in the event last week with a 50.67, she’ll presumably be gunning to reclaim the overall high school record, which Claire Curzan set last year at 50.35. Huske will also be swimming the 200 IM, where she’s the top seed by over 7 seconds.
Both Grimm and Huske were ranked #2 in the class of 2021, and the #3 girl in that class, Grace Sheble, is seeded 2nd in the 200 IM (2:02.08) and 3rd in the 100 breast (1:04.53). Her sister Caroline Sheble, who made our “Best of the Rest” list for the same class, is seeded #2 in the 200 free (1:50.86) and #3 in the 100 fly (55.14). Both sisters have committed to NC State for next year.