Capsule look at prep swimming, wrestling, indoor track

Dec. 15, 2012 @ 04:44 PM


The following are the winter sports coaches’ responses to the survey provided by The High Point Enterprise:


Coaches: Bill McKenzie (second year), Kenny Christianson (second year)
Last year: Boys and girls Northwest 1A/2A Conference champions; Boys — No. 3 in the state championship, Girls — No. 5 in the state championship; boys undefeated in NWC
Missing faces: Zach Davidson, Gavin Andrews, Tory Bowers, Zach Casazza, Kaitlin Casazza, Dixon Holland
Familiar faces: senior Ben Coon (fifth in the state championship in the 500 free; seventh in the 100 free), junior Grant Davidson (seventh in the state championship in the 100 back), junior Sean Gorham (eighth in the state championship in the 100 breast), as well as Maria Kammire, Colleen Gillooley, Joseph Farley, Emily Fiore, Shannon Gaylord, Brian Soltis, Mary Stepnowski
New faces: freshmen Gina Koesters, Carly Kreber, Jeffrey Davidson, Emma Lloyd, Alex Strasser
Expectations: To repeat as conference champions, finish in the top five in the state championship for both boys and girls
What does your team do best: Practice hard, focus, commitment, compete. Practice is more demanding than some college teams.
What challenges face your team: Young team, experience
What would be a success for your team: Qualify 70 percent of the team for the state championship

High Point Christian
Coach: Carol Johnson (nine years — one year head coach, eight years assistant coach)
Last year: Our swim team was small compared to other 3A schools with a combined team of only 20 members, equally split with 10 guys and 10 girls. Our guys finished third in the PACIS meet, and our we were happy that our girls moved up a spot and finished third also. We had one all-conference swimmer who also received the PACIS Swimmer of the Year award.
Missing faces: seniors Tess Allison, Faith Johnson and Taylor Light. Tess and Faith were some of our primary scorers throughout the season and were crucial to our relays. Taylor was a stable force during meets and was able to score for us at Conference (top three) and states. Faith was individual all-conference and all-state (setting new PACIS and state records), PACIS Swimmer of the Year, All-Area Swimmer of the Year, All America and Scholastic All-America.
Familiar faces: seniors Margo Cochran, Caroline Harding, Landis Cranford, Forrest Gentry, Will Robbins, and Jordan Saintsing should be some of our top scorers individually and on relays throughout the season. Landis and Forrest both placed in the top three at the PACIS meet and scored for us at states last year. Juniors Curtland Hanes and Andrea Lo, sophomore Tess Hendley and eighth-grader Emily Waite will also compete on our relays and be individual scorers.
Expectations: State meet qualifying times have dropped, so I hope to see a more concerted effort by the swimmers to also drop their times in hopes of making states in a variety of events. The stiffer 3A competition is definitely a driving force for better performances by our swimmers. They are a very determined group, and hopefully this will be evident throughout the season, and also show in conference wins and placement at states.
What does your team do best: We are a swim team family. The swimmers look forward to coming back and being together each year, in and out of the water. I, as a coach, am very proud of them as people and as swimmers. They have a lot of heart, and caring for others, and their teammates. They (and their families) are a very SPECIAL group of people.
What challenges face your team: Trying to score well against these larger schools we compete against with a notably smaller team then most of our competition. Our teams size is usually half to three times smaller. Thus we do not have the depth, and most of our team is young in the sport, as well as almost half of the team being middle schoolers.
What would be a success for your team: For the swimmers to feel accomplished in and out of the pool! That they are able to drop their swimming times and hopefully make the state qualifying times. That they can also broaden their scope of events in which they can potentially score in dual meets, the conference meet and the state meet. But mostly for all the swimmers to come to the realize where their strength comes from: in heart, in abilities, in character, in grace, in knowledge, in mercy, in their hopes and dreams. There is only one author and finisher of their faith, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Coach: Blair Hawley (fifth year); middle school coach Mary Ann Smith (second year)
Last year: Boys were (13-8, finished third in the TAC meet and third out of 28 teams in the state meet; Girls were 9-15, finished fourth in the TAC meet and eighth in the state meet
Missing faces: Jack Crouse (transfer), Sean Ormond (graduated), Ben Bruggeworth (graduated)
Familiar faces: senior Christian James (all-conference in 2011, silver medal in 500 free at state meet in 2012), senior Avery Goho (all-conference in 2011 and 2012, MVP Award in 2012, silver medal in 100 back at state meet in 2011), sophomore Kess Hendrix (all-conference in 2012)
New faces: freshman Jacob Breece
Expectations: We nearly doubled our team this year. We have 32 swimmers on our roster, which is a large number of swimmers for a small 2A independent school. Our toughest competition in the conference will be against Caldwell and Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill. As we continue to build on the skills of our new swimmers, we should have a strong appearance at the state meet in February.
What does your team do best: Having enthusiasm and encouraging others is strong suit of our team. Our relays will be very fast this year.
What challenges face your team: This year, we have a lot of new faces to the sport of swimming. Learning the rules and improving technique is the biggest challenge for some swimmers.
What would be a success for your team: Having everyone qualify to swim at 1A/2A state meet.

Coaches: Kenny Christensen (second season), Bill McKenzie (second season)
Last year: Boys — Northwest Conference champions, third 1A/2A West Region; third 1A/2A state; Girls — Northwest Conference champions; third 1A/2A West Regional; fifth 1A/2A state
Missing faces: Boys — Zack Casazza (state champion 100 Breaststroke), Gavin Andrews, Dixon Holland, Zach Davidson, Sam Mills, Slater Knox;
Girls — Tory Bowers, Emily Corsig, Caitlin Casazza
Familiar faces: Boys — sophomore Bryan Soltis (state finalist), junior Sean Gorham (state finalist), junior Grant Davidson (state finalist), senior Matthew Brackett (regional qualifier), senior Ben Coon (state finalist), junior Joseph Farley (regional qualifier), junior Charlie Ladka (regional qualifier), senior Daniel Gomez-Perry (all-conference);
Girls — sophomore Emily Fiore (state finalist), senior Bri Eichhorn (state finalist), junior Colleen Gillooley (state finalist), junior Maria Kammire (state finalist), Elizabeth Whelan (state finalist), senior Shannon Gaylord (co-captain), senior Liz Farmer (co-captain)
New faces: Boys — freshman Jeffery Davidson, freshman Alex Strasser, freshman Sean Farley, freshman Nick Sandominick, junior Tiwa Anyansi;
Girls — junior Asher Alt, freshman Maia Cancro, sophomore Marie Hammes, freshman Erica Justice, junior Grace Kelly, frshman Gina Koesters, junior Carly Kreber, freshman Emma Lloyd, sophomore Maria Rogaski, junior Mary Smith
Expectations: Boys — Conference championship, Regional Top 5, state Top 10; Girls — Conference Top 2, Top 5 in Regional, Top 10 in State
What does your team do best: Boys — We are really good at racing against the clock. They are really good at setting a time goal and meeting it; Girls — Our girls just swim, they don’t complain and they don’t slack off in practice.
What challenges face your team: Boys — A lot of great leaders graduated. Some of our kids are having a hard time pushing themselves at practice without those swimmers there to push them;
Girls — They are lacking in confidence right now. You lose the swimmers we lost that can be expected. Once they get in a meet and see how good the new swimmers are how much the returning swimmers have improved.
What would be a success for your team: Boys — Our swimmers once again have lofty goals, but they are much more individual based this season compared to last year;
Girls — I think for this group, we just want to see times improve, and their confidence to improve. As long as they are happy with their performance, then we are being successful.

Southwest Guilford
Coach: Billy Bradshaw (fifth year); assistants Sarah Corriher (second year), Kurt Martine (first year)
Last year: Girls 5-7 (2-4), finished fourth in conference; Boys 2-9 (2-4), finished 5th in conference. 18 girls, 11 boys returning; eight girls, five boys Lost. We have 33 total girls and 37 boys this year.
Missing faces: Jenna Massengale and Lucy Harvey (graduation) and Alexander Mebane (transfer)
Familiar faces: junior Jessica Daniel, sophomore Kylie Jones, sophomore Lauren Overton, junior Vicky Tsakas, sophomore Jake Barden, junior Carlo Ballesteros. Jess was a state qualifier in fly; Kylie was a regional qualifier in 200 and 500 free; Lauren Overton was a regional qualifier in 500 free; Vicky was a regional qualifier in breast; Jake was a regional qualifier in 200 and 500 free; Carlo is a strong all-around swimmer who leads by example.
New faces: freshmen Meredith Stringfellow, Dylan Rubalcava, John Min, Liam Hales, Matt Hawn, Seth Yook, Noah Melton, Spencer Jordan
Expectations: We are climbing the ladder, and I expect a third-place finish in the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference for the boys and a fourth-place finish for the girls.
What does your team do best: We train and swim as a family. We support each other. I have worked hard to make a team with a family-oriented structure that promotes strong character, academic fortitude and athletic improvement. We do not emphasize winning but stress training and competing at the highest level possible, racing more against our inner competitor than the opposing team. The by-products, invariably, are personal bests, greater satisfaction and more fun.
Another good thing is that we are diverse. We have representation from six or seven different ethnic groups and non-traditional swimmers on the team. It’s a special team with a unique team structure.
What challenges face your team: Developing so many new and wonderful swimmers. I have opened swim team’s doors to everyone, so the challenge is teaching stroke. This is a challenge that our coaches and seasoned swimmers embrace, and the transformation from beginning to end is amazing.
What would be a success for your team: A 100 percent swimmer retention from year to year; climbing the conference championship ladder a spot or two; seeing our team continue to grow to be The Place To Be in Southwest sports (we are getting there).


Southwest Guilford
Coach: Charlie Brown (11th year); Desiree Wright (first year)
Missing faces: Five-time state champion Shemiah Brooks, who is now at Clemson
Familiar faces: senior Hunter Roberts (one of the top three returning hurdlers in the state); sophomore Deandre Baker (qualified for the state meet in the first meet of the year, long Jump 21-3), sophomore Mia Little (55 meter dash, second fastest freshman girl in the state last year)

Coach: Robert Youtz (eighth year)
Last year: We had a few go to state, but did not score as a team.
Missing faces: Kathryn Bennett; no guys left from last year
Familiar faces: junior Carly Kreber (top distance runner and state qualifier), sophomore Lexie Weidman (one of our top distance runners), senior Alex Errington (solid female middle distance runner), junior Sam Williams (top male distance runner and state qualifier), junior Greg Redden (distance runner), senior Riley Brannan (top sprinter), Thomas LaMuraglia (top sprinter)
New faces: Jimmy King, Jack Brannan, Zack Jones, Amanda Kabealo, Sarah Grace Johnson, Jenna Basel
Expectations: To get as many qualified to the state meet as possible. To continue to improve throughout the season and to get into good shape for outdoor track. We would like to get more qualified to state than we did last year.
What does your team do best: Shows up every day and works hard at practice.
What challenges face your team: Both teams are very young and have a lot of new athletes out for track, so getting them used to indoor track will be a challenge.
What would be a success for your team: Staying injury-free, and getting more people to state and placing in the top eight.

Coaches: Mark Pitts (six years), Anne Popek (six years), Zack Smith (two years)
Last year: 15th in the 4A indoor track state meet
Missing faces: None
Familiar faces: senior Xavier Jones (top returner in 300 third 4A indoor State meet 2012), senior Thomas Popek (top returner in pole vault, fith 4A indoor state meet 2012), senior Winston Craig (fourth returner shot, sixth 4A indoor state meet 2012), all of the members of the 12th-place 4x400 team (Jones, sophomore Kendale Fulmore, Popek, senior Thusan Fernando), senior Patrick Clouse (2012 indoor state qualifier pole vault)
New faces: To be determined
Expectations: Top 10 at indoor 4A state meet
What does your team do best: Small team big results
What challenges face your team: Size of team
What would be a success for your team: Top-five finish at 4A indoor state meet


Southwest Guilford
Coach: Jon Chambers; assistants Jameson Schultz, Jim Coggins
Missing faces: Holden Hill, Evan Siler
Familiar faces: Patrick Camp, Ibdu Meite, Marshall Stodkey, Peter Becher
New faces: Adam Moye, Dakota Shiftlet, Ricardo Robinson
Expectations: Top two in the Piedmont Triad 4A; put four to five wrestlers in the state tournament
What does your team do best: Support each other
What challenges face your team: Not having a heavyweight
What would be a success for your team: Beating Northwest Guilford!!

Coach: Richard Herman (13 years); assistants Bobby House, David House, Doug House (plus Dennis Yocum, Sam Davis, Shabaz Butt)
Last year: 27-2, 5-0 Central Carolina 2A (CCC champion), 1-1 in the playoffs
Missing faces: Ryan Broadie (second in the state at 220 pounds), Sharaun Mouzone (195 pounds), Jordan Hagens (heavyweight)
Familiar faces: sophomore Hiygee Martin (34-13, 106 pounds), senior Tay Dupree (50-9, 120 pounds), senior Aaron Reeves (51-11, 160 pounds), senior Luke Williams (34-19, 145 pounds), senior Gabe Brockett (32-11, 170 pounds), sophomore Corbin Wilson (26-18, 132 pounds), sophomore Brett Hokenson (25-30, 138 pounds), sophomore Jason Boutsady (24-14, 113 pounds)
New faces: junior transfer Ashen Butt (120 pounds), freshman Kyree Colson (132), freshman Kailon Bratton (145), freshman Evan Makupson (160), freshman Keith Clemmons (195)
Expectations: Hope to compete for the conference title
What does your team do best: Use our athletic ability in matches
What challenges face your team: Strong schedule and finding replacements at the upper weight classes
What would be a success for your team: Conference champions and finishing in the top 10 in the state tournament

Wesleyan Christian
Coach: Phillip Merritt (first year as varsity head coach, eight years as assistant, two years as head JV as well); assistants David Lancaster and Justin Bullins
Last year: Finished third in NCISAA 3A, won the PACIS
Missing faces: Tim Townsend (2011 state champion, 2012 state runner-up), Spencer Harrell (2012 state champion), Sean Flannigan (2011 and 2012 state champion)
Familiar faces: senior Wes Sutton (two-time state champion, captain), sophomore Ryan Petty (state runner-up eighth grade, ninth grade fourth), sophomore Sam Pruett (fourth place eighth grade captain, runner-up ninth grade captain), junior Bradley Davis (over 75 wins and looking to place this year, captain), junior Josh Bailey (over 75 wins and looking to place this year, captain)
New faces: freshman Ethan Cochran (looking to contribute at 145), eight new juniors add some size to the team
Expectations: Win PACIS and place top three in the state, three state champions
What does your team do best: Work hard
What challenges face your team: Very young and inexperienced as a whole
What would be a success for your team: If the team elevates the intensity of practice and that produces the fruit that at every weight class our wrestler contributes points in the state tournament

High Point Central
Coach: Troy Smith (second season as head coach, fifth at HPC); assistants Rob Hill (first Season), John Davis (second Season)
Last year: 10-23 (sixth in the Piedmont Triad 4A)
Missing faces: None. Did not have a senior on the team last season.
Familiar faces: junior Kyle Rogers (120 pounds, regional qualifier, team captain), senior Michael Verdi (126, four-year starter), junior Luke Bean (132, regional qualifier, team captain), junior Josh Wilson (182, regional qualifier, all-conference); junior Zach McLean (195, 45-10 last season, team captain, all-conference, third in regional, lone state qualifier last season, preseason ranked fourth in the state), sophomore Adam Olsen (285, won 32 matches as a freshman, heavyweight all-conference and regional qualifier)
New faces: freshman Connor Sutphin (106 pounds)
Expectations: To be a strong competitor in the tough Piedmont Triad 4A Conference and earn a state dual-team playoff berth.
What does your team do best: Our kids are in very good shape for this time of year and very disciplined wrestlers on the mat.
What challenges face your team: We are still pretty young in a few weight classes, so match experience is a necessity early on. We have the potential to be a solid dual team this season. We should have strong showings in individual tournaments.
What would be a success for your team: A success for our young team this season would be a state dual-team berth and multiple state qualifiers.

Coach: Andy Chappell (29th year — first at Ledford after stints at High Point Central, Ragsdale); assistants Tim Ellenberger, Tee Deen, Tom Little (were assistants with me at Ragsdale for 16 years)
Last year: 33-12; 5-1 conference; lost in the first round of dual-team playoffs
Familiar faces: junior Connor Sherrill (120 pounds, 37 wins), junior Drew Chappell (145 pounds, 34 wins), senior Austin Deberry (132 pounds, 41 wins, state qualifier), senior Ben Rickard (195 pounds), sophomore Zac Koontz (182 pounds)
New faces: sophomore Lupe Cervantes (220), junior Triston Lovette (152), junior Brad Ross (138), sophomore Chase Lewis (126)
Expectations: We always practice to prepare to win. And if enough of the guys will buy into that mindset, we will improve as the season progresses.
What does your team do best: Building a tradition in wrestling at Ledford High School.
What challenges face your team: We will be very young and inexperienced in certain weight classes, but sometimes that is a positive thing.
What would be a success for your team: Make the dual team playoffs; advance past first round; five state qualifiers; improve each practice