Tuesday, March 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Locals shine at state meet

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot girls’ swim team finished fifth overall at Saturday’s Arkansas High School State Swim Meet on the campus of UALR, and the Lonoke girls’ swim team had one swimmer earn a state championship in one event.

Lonoke’s Kayla McGee earned the state championship in the 100-yard breaststroke. She won the event with a time of 1:06.49, narrowly beating second-place Corinne Despain, of Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville, who finished the event in 1:07.63.

Cabot’s Jessie Baldwin finished sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:10.05, and teammate Melanie Abbott finished 10th in that race with a time of 1:14.48.

The Cabot girls totaled 194 team points at Saturday’s event, which put them ahead of sixth-place Bryant, who had 170 team points.

Bentonville won the girls’ division. The Lady Tigers dominated the competition, finishing with 404 team points. Pulaski Academy was second with 325 team points. Haas Hall Academy was third with 270 team points, and Conway finished fourth overall in the girls’ division with 211 team points.

The Lonoke girls finished the meet with 36 team points, which put them in 19th place out of the 30 teams that competed in the girls’ division.

McGee was the only swimmer from Lonoke County to win a state championship, but the Cabot girls had several top-10 finishers.

Caytee Wright had two top-5 finishes. She finished second overall in the 100-yard freestyle race. Carly Holland of Rogers Heritage won the event with a time of 0:52.96, just beating Wright’s second-place time of 0:53.34.

Wright had a fourth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 0:24.56. Lonoke’s McGee finished sixth in that event with a time of 0:24.68.

Baldwin finished third in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 0:59.66, which was less than three seconds behind Heritage’s Holland, who won the event with a time of 0:56.91.

Baldwin and Wright weren’t the only Cabot swimmers to earn two top-10 finishes. Teammate Haylee Beckley finished fifth in the grueling 500-yard freestyle race, and took seventh in the 200-yard individual medley.

Beckley finished the 500-yard freestyle race with a time of 5:24.71, and her time in the 200-yard IM was 2:19.65.

The Lady Panthers’ relay teams had a pair of top-5 finishes. The Cabot girls finished fourth overall in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:43.22, and third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:54.92.

Cabot’s boys didn’t have as strong a showing as the Cabot girls’ team, but they did place higher than 21 other teams Saturday. The Panthers totaled 84 team points at the meet, which was good for 13th place. They finished 22 points behind Siloam Springs, who finished 12th overall with 106 team points.

Bentonville also finished first in the boys’ division, and were even more dominant than the Lady Tigers were. The Tigers totaled a whopping 521 team points Saturday, which was more than half the points second-place Little Rock Central accumulated.

Central took second place with 213 team points, which just edged third-place Little Rock Catholic’s total of 212 team points. Magnolia finished fourth among the 34 teams that competed in the boys’ division with 178 team points, and Springdale Har-Ber rounded out the top five with 168 team points.

Cabot didn’t have any first-place finishers, but the Panthers’ relay teams, like the Cabot girls, had two top-10 finishes. They finished sixth overall in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.40, and 10th overall in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing that race in 1:38.36.

Payton Jones was the strongest swimmer for the Panther boys Saturday. He had two top-10 finishes. He finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle race with a time of 1:50.04, and sixth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 0:55.46.