Tuesday, March 04, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> CHS records fall at UALR

Leader sports editor

Two school records fell as the Cabot girls’ swim team finished fourth in the class 7A/6A state championship meet Saturday at UALR. The Lady Panthers finished with 168 points, which was more than 300 fewer than state champion Bentonville, but the team had plenty to celebrate.

Competing with a smaller team than some of the others, the Lady Panthers, who are all underclassmen, finished higher than they seeded in, and showed the future is bright for Cabot swimming.

“They trained really hard in the two weeks between the district meet and the state meet,” said Cabot coach Ronnie Tollett. “We’re very proud of them. Almost all of them dropped times and we’ve got them all back, so we’re looking forward to next year.”

Bentonville ran away with the team title, racking up 471 points, a full 218 points ahead of second place Conway. Fayetteville was third with 180 points.

The 200-yard medley relay team of Haylee Beckley, Riley Young, Caytee Wright and Jessie Baldwin took third place with a time of 1:59.73, which is a new school record. Conway won the relay with a time of 1:54.22, almost five seconds ahead of second. But Bentonville was less than a second ahead of Cabot for second place with a time of 1:59.03.

Beckley, a sophomore, took second in the 200-yard individual medley. Bentonville’s Eunsol Chon left the rest of the field behind, with Beckley’s second-place time being 2:22.16. Beckley also placed in the 500-yardfreestyle, finishing fourth with a time of 5:31.80. Bentonville’s Taylor Pike won with a time of 5:09.16.

Baldwin took fourth for Cabot in the 100-yard backstroke. Her time of 1:02.23 was three seconds behind winner Lindsey Butler of Bryant. She was also fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, and her time of 1:13.35 was also a Cabot record.

Samantha Grey took third in the one-meter springboard diving competition. Gray is the first diving competitor in Cabot history, and was the only non-Fayetteville competitor in the top four. Brooke Schultz won that event.

Lonoke freshman Kayla McGee won the class 5A 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.34. She also took third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:11.30, finishing six seconds behind Camden-Fairview senior Virginia Carr.

McGee’s win and Beckley’s second-place showing in the 200-IM earned All-State recognition.

The Cabot boys finished in 11th place out of 27 teams competing. Bentonville also won the boys state title, but not by as big of a margin as the girls. The Tigers scored 409 points to beat second-place Little Rock Central by 149 points. Catholic was third with 234. Fort Smith Southside and Springdale Har-Ber rounded out the boys’ top five with 181 and 146 points.

Seth Fox turned in the Panthers’ highest individual finish with a sixth-place showing in the 100-yard backstroke. His time of 58.16 was 7.3 seconds behind Jonesboro’s Joseph Giles’ winning time of 50.76, but was good for another school record.

The Cabot 200-yard medley relay team of Noah Joyner, Seth Fox, Payton Jones and Brent Brockel took seventh, finishing with a time of 1:48.37, which was 8.12 seconds behind Catholic’s winning time. The Panthers’ 200-yard freestyle relay team was exactly 7.12 seconds behind Bentonville’s winning team in that event. Cabot’s time of 1:37.82 was good for eighth place.

Jones was having a good race in the individual medley and was sure to bring in a few more points for the Panthers before suffering a leg cramp.

“The boys finished right about where we thought they would and maybe could’ve been a little higher if we didn’t have the injury,” Tollett said. “It’s going to be hard to replace a couple of seniors in Seth and Brent, but we have a promising future. Payton Jones has swam really well and a freshman, Jordan Woodson, has a bright future.”