Meridian Swim & Divers Compete at Championships

Meridian Swim & Dive compete in State Championship meet. (Photo: Leah Kirk).

By Leah Kirk

The Meridian Swim & Dive team traveled to Richmond, Virginia last week for the 2022 Class 3 Swim and Dive Championships. The Mustangs sent 22 athletes to compete against over 30 High Schools in the State.

Mustang Diving kicked off the event on Thursday evening at St. Catherine’s School where the Mustangs sent a record number of divers to a State Meet. The Boys team started off the events at 5:30 where they took on 16 Divers from across the State. The Girls Team followed at 6:30 with 20 divers, many from Southwest Virginia. Four of the five divers, prior to the start of the season, had little to no experience diving, but continued to work hard each week, earning their spots at States after just 3 and a half months of diving.

On the Boys team, Freshmen Connor Tweddle and Markus Kummer continued to impress as the meet continued. Connor placed 5th with a score of 212.60 followed by Markus in 9th with a score of 174.50. The Girls Team had some very steep competition from two-time State Champion Natalie Jones of Christiansburg, among others. However, Freshman Jane Afsah-Mohallatee and Sophmore Julia Hall both rose to the occasion. Jane placed 6th with a score of 263.35 and Julia placed 9th with a score of 207.65. Keep an eye on the Dive Team over the next few years as it continues to grow.

Swimming Prelims began at 7 a.m. on Saturday, February 19 as the 17 Mustang swimmers competed to advance to the Finals. The top 16 in each event continued on to Finals and for the first time ever, all 17 Swimmers advanced to Finals. The Boys 200 Free Relay team, comprised of Juniors Ben McCracken, Carson Ruoff, and Wesley Sturgill, along with Freshman Wills Fleming, had a 1st seed into Finals. Every relay team advanced to Finals.

All Individuals and Relays continued to impress throughout the day as the excitement continued to build. Due to Covid, there were no spectators allowed last year, but fans were out in full force this year bringing an electricity to the all-day event. The Meridian Boys Team came in 4th overall, their highest placing at States since rising up to 3A just a few short years ago. The Girls Team still came to impress with a 13th place finish. As the meet continued, many of the Mustangs had personal best times and continued to impress with their determination and drive.

Final Results:

200 Medley Relay – Wesley Sturgill, Wills Fleming, Ben McCracken, and Carson Ruoff – 4th; Anna Dickson, Mya Taheri, Lydia Sturgill, and Lexi Ries – 13th.

200 Free – Anna Dickson – 4th; Wesley Sturgill – 15th.

200 IM – Wills Fleming – 10th.

50 Free – Carson Ruoff – 2nd, Ben McCracken 7th; Lexi Ries – 16th.

1 M Diving – Connor Tweddle – 5th, Markus Kummer – 9th,

100 Fly – Ben McCracken – 5th; Lydia Sturgill – 15th.

100 Free – Carson Ruoff – 5th; Lexi Ries – 12th.

500 Free – Alexa Wagner – 16th.

200 Free Relay – Ben McCracken, Wesley Sturgill, Wills Fleming, Carson Ruoff – 2nd; Elysha York, Emerson Mellon, Alexis Niemi, Lauren Mellon – 13th.

100 Back – Wesley Sturgill – 9th, Matthew Janicki 14th; Anna Dickson, 13th.

100 Breast – Wills Fleming – 11th.

400 Free Relay – Matthew Janicki, Jonathan Katen, Eddie Hughes, Gaspar Green – 14th; Lexi Ries, Lydia Sturgill, Elysha York, Anna Dickson – 10th.

The Mustangs will be back in action next fall. The team would like to thank the Mustang Community for their support – especially the team’s fantastic families – for being a huge part of the success of the team each year.