Tuesday, January 10, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot team dominates swim meet

Leader sports editor

The Cabot boys won seven events and the Lady Panthers won five as the Panther teams turned in dominant performances in the Cabot Classic Swim Meet last Thursday at Veterans Park Community Center in Cabot.

Cabot’s Tristen Bowen and Alex Layman tied for top point getters; each contributing 60 for the Panthers in their nearly 400-point win. Melanie Abbott led the Cabot ladies and everyone else with 56 total points in the girls’ competition.

The team scores weren’t close. The Lady Panthers finished with 625 points to just 276 for second-place Pocahontas. Sylvan Hills was third with 172. Russellville finished fourth with 169 and Batesville rounded out the top five of 11 competing teams with 160 points.

The top two teams in boys’ competition were the same, and so was the margin in the seven-team field. Cabot piled up 634 points to Pocahontas’ 287. Batesville took third with 244. Lonoke finished fourth with 183 and Russellville was fifth with 109. Sylvan Hills had 58 and Maumelle 40.

Both Cabot teams lost a lot of key contributors from last year’s conference champions, but head coach Brian Bowen thinks the future is bright.

“We don’t have a lot of those super strong seniors we had a year ago,” Bowen said. “But our younger kids have a lot of potential. Our sophomore class is going to be really good. In a couple of years, we’ll be competing for a state championship.”

The Cabot girls’ dominance was established early with eight of their swimmers finishing first and second in the 200-yard medley relay to start the meet. Jordan Godbee, Shea Copeland, Abbott and Abigail Breedlove took first place with a cruising time of 2:04.97. It was 10 seconds slower than their seed time, but still good enough to win by almost 12 seconds. The second-place team was Emily Lynch, Samantha Scott, Izzy Dulin and Sharidan Mitchell.

That top-two finish was a quick 74 points for the Lady Panthers, and a third Cabot team added 24 more by finishing seventh, for 98 points after just one event.

Abbott then won the 50-yard freestyle race over Sylvan Hills’ Rebecca Vandervate and Carlisle’s Tristan Bennett. Abbott’s time of 28.09 beat Vandervate by 1.8 seconds, while Bennett finished in 30.52. Samantha Scott added another 15 points to Cabot’s total by finishing fourth.

Dulin won the grueling 500-yard freestyle by just 2.56 seconds over Batesville’s Katie Curse. Dulin didn’t have to push herself, finishing almost 16 seconds behind her seedtime with a 6:13.60. Dena Hallum finished third in that event for Cabot while Bennett was fourth for Carlisle.

Cabot then swept the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle. Copeland dominated the race with a winning time of 1:17.34. Scott and Holly Boehm were second and third with times of 1:25.89 and 1:29.71.

Scott, Copeland, Dulin and Breedlove also won the 400-yard freestyle by more than 20 seconds over Batesville. Caitlynn West, Savannah Gilmore, Lynch and Hallum took third in that event for another 32 points for the Lady Panthers.

The Lady Panthers also had second-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the girls’ 100-yard backstroke. Dulin was second behind Searcy’s Erin McGuirt in the freestyle. She didn’t compete in the relay, but the team of West, Mitchell, Gilmore and Scott still finished behind Pocahontas in the relay. Breedlove and Godbee were second and third in the backstroke.

The boys also started strong by winning the 200-yard medley relay. Bowen, Jason Bongfeldt, Layman and Chose Foiles combined to go 12 seconds faster than Pocahontas with a 1:50.32.

Bowen then won the next boys’ event, the 200-yard freestyle, by an astonishing 40 seconds. His time of 1:57.25 beat Sylvan Hills’ Chris Greater’s 2:37.10. Cabot had six of the top eight finishers in the race for a total of 89 points from that single event.

Layman later led a quartet of Panthers atop the 100-yard butterfly standings. Layman was the only swimmer to finish in less than a minute, beating his seedtime by .14 with a time of 57.63. J.D. Lindsey was second with a time of 1:02.12. Dylan Worden took third and Barrett Campbell was fourth.

Cabot’s Calum Young beat four Lonoke Jackrabbits in the 100-yard freestyle. Calum’s 1:02.29 just edged out Lonoke’s Jimmy Evans’ 1:02.76. Jackrabbits Peyton Blackard, Colton Tidwell and Tanner Edwards rounded out the top five in that event.

The team of Layman, Foiles, Bongfeldt and Bowen won the 200-yard freestyle by nearly nine seconds with a time of 1:41.05.

The Panthers then swept the last two events, and did so in dominant fashion. Bowen led a Cabot sweep of the top three spots in the 100-yard backstroke. His 58.10 bested Foiles and Bongfeldt. Alex Layman and Thomas Layman then took the to two spots in the 100-yard breaststroke. Alex won by nearly 13 seconds with a time of 1:06.26.

Another local standout performance was Lonoke’s Kayla McGee. She won the girls’ 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:02.06, beating Breedlove by 2.35 seconds. McGee also finished second to McGuirt in the 200-IM.

The Cabot teams travel for a meet in El Dorado on Thursday.