This weekend at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center outside of Blacksburg, the state’s top A and AA swim teams converged for the final meet of the season. Out of the original 86 A/AA schools, the George Mason High School girls team finished 16th and the boys team finished eighth. These are the best finishes the Mason teams have ever achieved at the state meet.
For the first time, multiple swimmers made it to the finals in individual events and several relays, most of which were seeded at eighth place and above. It’s been five years since Mason has had a swimmer on the third-place podium during the awards, and it happened twice this year. Senior Lucas Cherry placed third in the 100-yard backstroke and sophomore Jared Britton placed third in the 50-yard freestyle. The boys 200-yard freestyle relay team placed even higher, taking second and the highest-ever standing for Mason with swimmers junior Austin Gogal, freshman Miller Surette, Britton, and Cherry.
The girls 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Erin McFall, sophomore Beth Cashin, freshman Francesca King, and freshman Julianne Kelly finished eighth; Surette finished eighth and King finished 13th in the 200-yard individual medley; Britton finished 16th in the 100-yard fly; Cherry finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle; Cashin finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke; and McFall finished eighth in the 100-yard freestyle and ninth in the 100-yard backstroke. Over the two days, 10 new school records were set by Mason swimmers.
The swim program at Mason was begun as a club team for the 2004-05 season and earned varsity status for 2006-07. Mason first attended the state meet in 2007 when the boys relay team posted a state qualifying time in the first event of the first meet, and Mason has been represented at the state-level contest every year since. The first year, 12 swimmers went to states, and all three boys relay teams and one individual girl made it to the finals. Each year, more swimmers have qualified and placed as both the boys and girls teams have continued to grow and improve.
Among the boys teams, statewide, the top three finishers were Hidden Valley with 195 points, Lafayette with 185, and Western Albemarle with 147. The Mason boys were eighth with 91 points. For the girls, the top three teams were Western Albemarle (210), Cave Spring (196), and Spotswood (164), with Mason coming in 16th with 58 points.
Additional swimmers who competed at the state meet were junior Vincent Camacho, freshman Celia Gieser, sophomore Andrew Hokaj, junior Nik Hokaj, freshman Christopher Markus, sophomore Sarah Miller, junior Sara Mills, junior Nick Roberson, and freshman Blaise Sevier. Senior Captain Joe Rund joined the teams as manager at the meet.