GRAFTON—The Grafton Bearcat swimmers continue to make waves this season as they participated in the First Annual Backyard Brawl this past week against Philip Barbour and then hit the road for the Penguin Invitational at the Parkersburg YCMA.
The Bearcats and the Colts met up on Wednesday at Alderson Broaddus University for the first event and Grafton had solid showings in various races.
For the boys, the Will Angus placed first in both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke while teaming up with Levi Miller, Layne England, and Luke Nibert to take first in the 200 medley and freestyle relays. Other standout performances on the day included Miller’s first-place finish in the 100 freestyle, England’s first-place finish in the 100 breast stroke, and L. Nibert, England, Z. Nibert, and Miller finishing 1, 2, 3, 4 in the 50 freestyle event.
On the girls’ side, senior Jocelyn Countryman finished first in the 100 butterfly while helping her relay team of Hannah Hobbs, Leah Jackson, and Skylar Woodell to second-place finishes in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle events. Countryman also finished second in the 200 IM, while Jackson also placed second in the 100 freestyle. Other top-five finishes on the day were Jackson and Wooddell finishing third and fifth in the 50 freestyle, respectively.
The swimmers would then head to the Parkersburg YMCA on Saturday for a large meet that included state champion-caliber swimmers in several of the top heats.
While Grafton’s smaller team doesn’t have the quantity of swimmers to accumulate a large number of points, they still managed to set some personal best times while competing against much larger schools as many of the events had between 65-78 entries.
In the boys’ races, top finishes on the day for the Bearcats included Luke Nibert’s 10th place finish in the 50 free, Will Angus’ 11th and 17th place finishes in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke, Layne England’s 16th and 20th place finishes in the 100 breaststroke and 50 free, and Zach Nibert’s 28th-place finish in the 50 free.
For the girls, Jocelyn Countryman finished 12th in the 200 IM, while Leah Jackson finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke and 28th in the 50 freestyle.
Angus set two personal best times on the day while Z. Nibert, England, Countryman, and Skylar Wooddell also set personal best records throughout the day in various events.
“Last year, our girls’ relay team swam their best time of the season and came away with one point for our entire team, so it is definitely not easy,” said Grafton head coach Heather England. “But I am so proud of these kids. They are doing awesome.”
Bridgeport won the meet with 253 points overall, topping a field of 13 schools. Wheeling Park came in second with 246 points and George Washington placed third with 220.5 points. Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South placed fourth and fifth, respectively.