By Leah Kirk
The Meridian Swim & Dive Team is heading to States! Last week, the Mustangs competed in the Region 3B Meet, where nine teams competed to secure their slots for the State Championships this Thursday and Saturday in Richmond. The Mustangs will be sending 22 students to the State Competition this week.
The Mustang Dive Team dove into the competition pool on Friday February 4th with the 3B and 6B Region Combined Meet. There the five Divers took on divers from Maggie Walker Governor’s School and Brentsville High School in Region 3B, but also competed alongside the Region 6B Divers as they competed for Region 6B State Championships. The 11-Dive meet was an all day affair but proved to be a success as all five divers qualified for the State Meet on February 17th. From the Boys Team, Connor Tweddle (Freshman) placed 2nd with a score of 228.4 and Markus Kummer (Freshman) placed 3rd with a score of 191.45. From the Girls Team, Jane Afsah-Mohallatee (Freshman) placed 2nd with a score of 304.70, Julia Hall (Sophomore) placed 3rd with a score of 226.2, and Helen Jordan (Junior) placed 4th with a score of 201.90. Jane Afsah-Mohallatee’s score secured a new school record, surpassing Senior Natalie Burke’s previous record of 286.05 in last season’s State Meet.
The Mustang Swim Team started off with a bang as both Boys and Girls Teams continued to shine throughout the competition. Overall, Meridian placed both teams in the top three. Boys placed 2nd and were Region Runner-ups and the Girls were 3rd place. The team had successes in both Individual and Relay events, and will send even more qualifiers to States through their times in other meets during the Regular Season. After last season, which was restricted to only the Top 5 placers in the Region due to Covid Mitigation practices, the ability to qualify during the season allowed the Mustangs to send a much larger delegation than last year.
The Boys Team lead the way with a second-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay, comprised of Matthew Janicki (Sophomore), Wills Fleming (Freshman), Ben McCracken (Junior), and Carson Ruoff (Junior) with a time of 1:41.45, shaving 5.5 seconds off their seed time. The 200 Free Relay, comprised of Ben McCracken, Wesley Sturgill (Junior), Wills Fleming, and Carson Ruoff came out on top with a first-place finish with a time of 1:30.42. The 400 Free Relay, comprised of Wesley Sturgill, Jonathan Katen (Freshman), Eddie Hughes (Senior), and Matthew Janicki had a strong third place finish with a time of 3:35.18, dropping four seconds off their seed time.
The Girls Team also continued to impress with their third-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay, comprised of Anna Dickson (Junior), Mya Taheri (Freshman), Lydia Sturgill (Freshman), and Lexi Ries (Sophomore) with their time of 2:01.37. The 200 Free Relay, comprised of Elysha York (Junior), Emerson Mellon (Senior), Alexis Niemi (Junior) and, Lauren Mellon (Senior) placed sixth, but still qualified for the State Meet for their time from a previous meet. The 400 Free Relay team, comprised of Lexi Ries, Lydia Sturgill, Elysha York, and Anna Dickson placed 3rd with a time of 3:56.97. Lydia Sturgill’s time in the 500 Free of 5:38.02 set a school record, which was previously set by 2021 Graduate, Ellen Chadwick in 2018.
Meridian had an excellent showing of Individuals throughout the competition as well. Top five in each Individual Event will continue on to the State Meet this weekend.
200 Free — Wesley Sturgill (2nd), Matthew Janicki (4th), Anna Dickson (4th), Alex Perez (Junior – 11th), Lauren Mellon (12th), and Alexis Niemi (13th).
200 IM – Wills Fleming (4th), Gaspar Green (10th), Jack Flanagan (11th), Mya Taheri (11th), Katherine Steyn (Freshman – 14th), and Clementine Kim (Freshman – 16th).
50 Free – Carson Ruoff (1st), Lexi Ries (4th), Alexis Niemi (10th), Jonathan Katen (12th), Eddie Hughes(13th), and Emerson Mellon (15th). Ben McCracken will also compete in the 50 Free with a Regular Season qualifying time.
Diving – Jan Afsah-Mohallatee (2nd), Connor Tweddle (2nd), Julia Hall (3rd), Markus Kummer (3rd), and Helen Jordan (4th).
100 Fly – Ben McCracken (2nd), Carson Ruoff (4th), Lydia Sturgill (5th), Emil Morin (Senior- 9th), Ally Campbell (Freshman – 13th).
100 Free – Lexi Ries (5th), Eddie Hughes (7th), Elysha York (9th), Lauren Mellon (10th), Alex Perez (14th), and Wesley Crawford (Freshman – 19th). Carson Ruoff will also compete in the 100 Free with a Regular Season qualifying time.
500 Free – Ben McCracken (2nd), Lydia Sturgill (3rd), Alexa Wagner (5th).
100 Back – Wesley Sturgill (3rd), Matthew Janicki (5th), Anna Dickson (9th), Elysha York (10th). Anna Dickson will also compete in the 100 Back with a Regular Season qualifying time.
100 Breast – Wills Fleming (4th), Mya Taheri (7th), Jack Flanagan (12th), Katherine Steyn (13th), Danielle Kuck (Junior – 15th), and Oliver Csaszi (Freshman – 15th).
Congrats to all the athletes who participated in Regionals – it’s been a great season!
The 2022 VHSL State Meet will be available for viewing on the VHSL Network. Follow the team on Instagram @meridianswimanddive.