Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Sports

Springstead has high hopes for districts

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On Saturday The Long Center in Clearwater will have a significant Hernando County presence.

Central, Hernando, Nature Coast, Springstead and Weeki Wachee will all be there to help comprise the 12 teams in the Class 2A, District 6 Meet.

The swimming starts at 9 a.m. Fivay, Hudson, Land O' Lakes, Lecanto, Pasco, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills are the other participating schools.

In a new wrinkle added by the FHSAA this year, the meet will only consist of timed finals, meaning no prelims.

Another major change, the top two finishers in each individual race will advance to the 2A-Region II Meet at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando next Friday.

Previously only the district champions were assured of moving on, which is still the case for relays.

For individual events 24 swimmers across three districts will advance to regionals, as well as 16 teams for each relay. At-large bids based on best remaining times will be awarded to fill out the field.

As has been the case in recent seasons, Springstead has dominated the local circuit. The Eagles own the county's best time for both boys and girls in every event.

"The kids are looking pretty good," Springstead coach Wayne Withington said. "I feel good going into year's districts."

No county swimmer has reached states since 2008, and no female since current Weeki Wachee head coach Elizabeth McGeehan made it with Central in 2007.

For the Eagles, Morgan Kiloh on the boys side and Monica Surrena for the girls are the top candidates to break that streak. The two seniors have come agonizingly close to states in recent seasons.

A year ago, when Springstead was in 2A-5, Kiloh claimed the county's only district title, winning the 100-yard freestyle in 50.71.

He'll swim the 200 free and 100 butterfly this time around, Withington said. Going into the meet, he's seeded second in both, with a 1:52.43 in the 200 and 58.37 in the 100 fly.

Surrena, a 200 free district champ as a sophomore, came in second in that race with a 2:03.47 last year.

Once again she'll participate in the 200 free along with the 100 free. She's the third seed in the 200 (2:02.40) and the 100 (57.49).

Additionally, Springstead ranks third in the girls 200-medley relay (2:16.07) as well as the boys (1:56.39), fourth in the girls 200-free relay (2:01.12) and fifth in the boys (1:43.07), and third in the girls 400-free relay (4:20.93) and fourth in the boys (3:49.21).

Sophomore Allyson Fielder, a regional qualifier in the 100 free in 2012, is seeded third in the 500 free (6:02), while teammate Sara Overa is fifth in the 100 fly (1:12.96). Another Eagle, Hunter Geisen, is fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.50).

Weeki Wachee's Jake Bence is fourth in the 100 free (56.10), and fellow Hornet Michael Molnar is seeded third in the 500 free (5:43.22) and fifth in the 200 free (2:03.65).

Joe Lacy of Nature Coast is third in the 100 backstroke (1:05.22), the event he went to regionals in as a freshman a year ago, and fifth in the 200 IM (2:19.40)

Hernando senior Paisley Whitaker, a regional qualifier as a freshman and junior, sits third in the 100 backstroke (1:09) and fifth in 100 free (1:01.50).

From a team standpoint, Withington believes his boys and girls could each finish third behind Land O' Lakes and Lecanto.

"Overall I'd be happy to be in the top five," Withington said. "Looking at everybody's times, I think we've got a chance to do so. I think the kids are excited this year."

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

At a Glance

What: Class 2A, District 6 Swim Meet

Who: Central, Fivay, Hernando, Hudson, Land O' Lakes, Lecanto, Nature Coast, Pasco, Springstead, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills

When: Saturday, timed finals starting at 9 a.m.

Where: The Long Center, 1501 North Belcher Road, Clearwater.

At Stake: A total of 24 spots in individual races and 16 in each relay from across three districts in the Nov. 1 2A-II Meet at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. Only district champions in each race, and district runners-up in individual races, earn automatic bids.

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