While the Greely girls’ swim team was unable to repeat as Class B state champions, the boys managed to pull off the trick last week at the University of Maine in Orono.
Greely finished with 396 points to easily outdistance runner-up Ellsworth (261) for its third Class B championship and seventh overall. Falmouth (105 points) was eighth, Yarmouth (97) ninth and North Yarmouth Academy (31) came in 18th.
In the girls’ competition, Greely had 328.5 points, but it wasn’t enough to catch Mt. Desert Island (375). Yarmouth (141) was a solid sixth. Falmouth (127) came in eighth and NYA (18) tied Hampden Academy for 19th-place.
Greely’s boys’ team was expecting a challenge from Belfast, but arrived in Orono to learn that its potential rival had seven athletes suspended, opening the door. Instead of being content to just go out and make the title a formality, the Rangers made a point of being at their best, to make the point that even if Belfast was at full strength, it wouldn’t have mattered.
“Thinking that if we didn’t have unbelievable performances that any victory would have been tainted by the, ‘Well, if Belfast had been full strength’ theories, we went out and swam great in the morning,” said longtime Greely coach Rob Hale. “We dropped big chunks of time and moved up in places.”
Highlights included a pair of individual wins and a sweep of the relays, a first in program history.
The 200 medley relay squad (Evan Campbell, Ian Mecray, Jon Dunnett and Dan Spencer) had a time of 1 minute, 43.44 seconds. The 200 free team (Kyle Morrison, Jon Higgins, Mecray and Peter Pacent) won in 1:34.15. The 400 free squad (Campbell, Dunnett, Pacent and Spencer) had a time of 3:24.79.
Spencer repeated as the champion of the 100 freestyle (48.92 seconds) and was runner-up in the 200 free (1:48.36). Mecray defended his 50 free crown (22.39). Campbell was second in the 100 backstroke (57.95).
“The boys swam well,” said Hale. “We had 100 percent time improvement and 27 out of 29 splashes scored. There was no stopping these boys. I am very proud of how they handled the big meet and the controversy. We are a young team so I hope we will be able to build on this next year.”
Falmouth’s best finish in four years was keyed by diver Ryan Conley, who was first with a score of 290.15 points.
Yarmouth’s 200 free relay team of Josef Supik, Conner Lajoie, Luca Seid and Ethan Nightingale came in fifth (1:39.39).
For NYA, Nico Kaminow placed third in the 200 IM (2:08.04) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.28).
Greely’s girls won Class B a year ago, but the Rangers have been no strangers to runner-up performances. They were second in 2003, every year from 2005 through 2009 and now, in 2011.
Greely did boast the lone two girls who managed to each with two events.
Sophomore Sarah Easterling won the 200 IM (2:09.58) and 100 backstroke (59.40), setting school records in both and a meet record in the latter. Easterling was also part of the first-place 400 free relay team (she was joined by Emily Domingo, Megan Stroud and Katie Whittum, 3:48.63) and was named the girls’ outstanding performer of the meet.
Junior Sara Schad took the 200 free (1:59.91) and the 100 free (54.46). Schad teamed with Domingo, Stroud and Jackie Andrews on the 200 free relay team, which set a new school record, but placed second to MDI in 1:45.13.
Schad and Easterling joined Whittum and Andrews on the medley relay squad, which was a narrow second to MDI (1:55.93).
“Going into the meet we were down 40 points on paper, which is a deficit we routinely swallow up,” said Hale. “The problem with this meet is that it was a two-team race. MDI and Greely already occupied a majority of the top places so there was no wiggle room. MDI would have had to have a disastrous day, which would have to include disqualifications, and they didn’t. We needed to win all three relays to have a chance to win. We gambled and went after all three, but it didn’t work out. The girls swam really well, but so did the Trojans. MDI handled the pressure of being the favorite.”
The Rangers will make another run at the top next winter.
“We only graduate three, but they are significant,” said Hale. “Depth once again will be a top priority.”
Falmouth had its lowest finish in nine years, but did produce diving champion Nicole Mancini (with a whopping 416.50 points).
For Yarmouth, Abby Belisle-Haley was runner-up in the 100 butterfly (59.92) and third in the backstroke (1:04.42). Haley Estabrook was fifth in the 50 free (26.95) and fifth in the backstroke (1:06.48).
NYA got points from senior Alison Znamierowski, ninth in the 100 fly (1:09.59) and 11th in the 50 free (28.17) and senior Alicia Hoffman, 14th in the 100 fly (1:13.42).
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @foresports