PILOT MOUNTAIN —The Bishop McGuinness girls team swam for first place in the Northwest 1A/2A Conference Championships meet on Saturday, defeating six other conference teams and earning five gold medals to claim the All-Conference team title in front of a packed crowd at the Armfield Civic Center.
The final Conference Championship scores were: Bishop McGuinness 138, East Surry 116, Mount Airy 112, Surry Central 83, West Stokes 33, North Surry 18 and South Stokes 8.
All-Conference awards were given individually to all first- and second-place finishers in the 11 events and many teams cheered each other through the finish though competing against one another. First- and second-place individual winners were designated as All-Conference swimmers, said East Surry Head Coach Leah Tunstall.
Bishop McGuinness took the gold in five of the 12 events swam in the seven-team competition on Saturday. The Villains took home gold in the 200 yard medley relay (Erica Justice, Emily Fiore, Coleen Gillooley, Maria Kammire); in the 200 yard freestyle (Emily Fiore); 50 yard free (Bri Eichhorn); 500 yard freestyle (Emily Fiore); and the 400 yard freestyle relay (Bri Eichhorn, Colleen Gillooley, Erica Justice, Emily Fiore).
Coach Kenny Christensen of Bishop McGuinness said, “We expected a tough meet on the girls’ side, but our girls gave their best performance of the year. East Surry beat us in two regular season meetings and we barely beat Mount Airy in the two match-ups with them, but that never brought our girls down.”
Christensen said Colleen Gillooley’s “butterfly leg” in both the medley and the 400 freestyle relays made a difference in getting the wins.
The East Surry Cardinal girls nudged in a close second-place finish at the end of the day-long competition, claiming three golds. Gold was awarded to Cardinals in the 100 freestyle (Katherine Martin); 200 free relay (Kelsey Tunstall, Mikayla Elliot, Avery Tilley, Katherine Martin); and the 100 breaststroke (Avery Tilley).
Coach Tunstall said, “I am really proud of the team. At the end of the day, you do your best, that is what matters; and that is what they did.”
Surry Central’s Christine Hawks was awarded a gold medal in the 100 butterfly; and Mount Airy’s Emma Harrison scored gold in the 100 backstroke.
Golden Eagles Head Coach Dara Kowalcik said Hawks swam her best race ever in the 100 fly and will go to regionals and state. Hawks finished with a time of 1:03.98
Second-place medals (silver) also were awarded. The Mount Airy Bear girls clawed in four along with the Bishop Villains.
Lady Bears grabbed silver in the 200 medley relay (Emma Harrison, Sydney Peavy, Ivy Marion, Lizzie Peel); 200 free (Emma Harrison); senior captain Catherine Scott; and Sydney Peavy.
Villains earned silver in the 50 Free (Maria Kammire); 100 backstroke (Gina Koesters); 100 free (Bri Eichhorn); and 200 free relay (Maria Kammire, Maia Cancro, Carolyn O’Halloran, Bri Eichhorn).
Surry Central Golden Eagles brought home one silver in the 200 IM (Christine Hawks), and East Surry raked in one in the 400 free relay (Avery Tilley, Kayla Simmons, Katherine Martin, Kelsey Tunstall).
Greyhounds Head coach Ashley Taylor said, “I feel amazed about our results as a whole today.” Bear Head Coach Jay Williams said, “I was pleased with the kids but we did have some disappointments. They did swim their heart out and that is what matters.”