Friday, February 14, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot boys second, girls third at conference meet

Leader sports editor

The Cabot boys’ and girls’ swim teams couldn’t bring home a conference championship in Thursday’s 7A/6A East Conference meet at the Veterans’ Park Community Center in Cabot, but they did have strong showings and several have qualified for the state meet at UALR that will be Saturday, March 1.

Mountain Home won the boys’ and girls’ meet. In a strange coincidence, both Mountain Home’s and Cabot’s boys’ and girls’ point totals were the same. But the Cabot girls’ 390 points was only good enough for third place, while the Cabot boys took second with the same score.

Mountain Home’s boys and girls finished with 428 points. Jonesboro was second in the girls’ competition with a team total of 401.

“Our girls had either won it or finished second every year until this year,” said Cabot coach Ronnie Tollett. “Mountain Home and Jonesboro just had so many swimmers. Even some of the events we won, they had so many in the race they still added up points. And that’s how you do these things. We’re lacking a little bit in overall numbers.”

The Lady Panthers’ 200-yard medley relay team took first place and easily qualified for state with a time of 2:02.39. Jessie Baldwin, Riley Young, Haylee Beckley and Caytee Wright finished seven seconds ahead of Mountain Home, and beat the state-qualifying minimum by eight seconds. That same group took second in the 200 freestyle relay.

The boys’ 200-freestyle team of Brent Brockel, Noah Joyner, Payton Jones and Seth Fox narrowly edged out Jonesboro by less than half a second to win that event with a time of 1:37.51, which is also a state qualifying time.

Baldwin won the girls’ 200-yard freestyle and was the only swimmer in the event to post a state qualifying time. Her 2:12.09 barely beat the 2:12.48 required to swim on March 1.

Jones made it a sweep for Cabot in that event, beating Jonesboro’s Colby Neves by more than four seconds.

Baldwin also won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.26.

Beckley took second in the 200 individual medley, but still turned in a time six seconds better than needed for state. The same was true for Cabot’s Jordan Woodson in the boys’ 200-IM. Jones was only .07 seconds behind Woodson in that event and also qualified for state.

Lonoke’s Kayla McGee and Cabot’s Wright were one and two in the girls’ 50-yard freestyle sprint. Fox and Joyner were second and third in the boys’ 50, but only Fox’s time was good enough for state. Fox also won the 100 boys backstroke by eight seconds with a time of 58.81. McGee also added a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.

Wright won the 100-freestyle and Beckley won the 500-freestyle for the Cabot girls. Woodson won the 500 for the Cabot boys.

Many Cabot swimmers had already posted state qualifying times in meets earlier this season, and Tollett was most impressed with some of the team’s younger swimmers.

“We tell them it’s not about how fast you are in any particular race, it’s how much faster are you at the end of the season than you were at the beginning,” Tollett said. “We had some of our swimmers post massively improved times. We’re losing a lot of our better swimmers this year, especially in the boys. But we’re very pleased and very proud of the progress some of our younger ones are making. Our stroke instructor Brian Bowen has done an outstanding job.”