PILOT MOUNTAIN — It what might as well be dubbed the “Surry County Invitational,” East Surry, North Surry, and Surry Central met in the pool Thursday to wrap up the 2017-2018 regular season.
Having defeated Mount Airy on Wednesday, the East Surry Cardinals continued their domination over fellow county schools with victories in both the men’s and women’s competition.
The Cardinal men totalled 102 points, followed by North Surry with 90, and Surry Central with 76.
East Surry’s women scored an incredible 148 points in the tri-meet, with Surry Central as the next closest team with 77. The Greyhound women rounded out the field with 48 points.
The end of the season also signified the celebration of seniors from home Surry Central squad. Two Golden Eagle men, Austin Poplin and Angel Rayo, and one Central woman, Abigail Lambert, were honored during their final home meet.
The seniors were showered with sashes, crowns, and top hats before taking one final lap together.
The East Surry women started things off with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Sydney Beck, Mikki Nunn, Carly Bullington, and Hadly Tucker finished 23 seconds faster than the other three teams.
The women’s next event was the 200-yard freestyle. East Surry’s Anne-Louise Tunstall finished first, followed by Sarah Southard of Surry Central. Bullington gave East Surry another competitor in the top-3 and was only about 1.2 seconds from the silver medal.
Two names that were heavily featured in Thursday’s meet were Julie Hicks and Avery Tucker. The pair of East Surry swimmers combined to win the next four events for the Cards.
Hicks pulled ahead for a victory in the 200-yard individual medley over Surry Central’s Abby Bruce. Cardinal Mikki Nunn just missed out on second place, but earned points for East Surry with her third-place finish.
Avery Tucker won her first race of the evening with a half-second victory over Central’s Sara Collins. Not far behind were Cardinal Grayce Montgomery, Eagle Hannah Mitchell, and Greyhound Maddie Creed, all finishing with three seconds of one another.
Another victory for East Surry came from Avery Tucker in the 100-yard butterfly. Following Avery’s second victory of the evening, Hicks grabbed her second W of the meet in the 100-yard freestyle. Hicks’ finished 0.25 faster than teammate Hadly Tucker for the win.
Tunstall got her second first-place finish as well by winning the 500-yard freestyle by more than 10 seconds.
Combining their previous singles success, Avery Tucker, Tunstall, and Hicks teamed with Beck to win the 200-yard freestyle relay. Hot on their trail the entire race was the Surry Central team of Bruce, Southard, Collins, and Brooke Mosley.
Beck went on her own for a victory in the 100-yard backstroke by narrowly defeating teammate Hadly Tucker. The two finished a few stokes ahead of Central’s Bruce, with North Surry’s Cherokee Sexton and Madison Easter rounding out the top five.
Another close finished occurred in the next-to-last women’s event, the 100-yard breaststroke. East Surry’s Gracie Pruitt won first place by being just over a second faster than teammate Nunn.
East Surry completed its gold medal sweep with a victory in the final event, the 400-yard freestyle. The team of Tunstall, Hicks, Avery Tucker, and Hadly Tucker’s time of 4:03.75 was 27 seconds faster than the second place team.
Head-to-head, East Surry defeated Surry Central 69-24 and North Surry 79-14. Surry Central defeated North Surry 53-34.
The men’s competition was much closer than the women’s. The biggest head-to-head margin for the men (22) was just one point more than the closest margin of victory for the women (21).
East Surry managed to defeat Central 57-35 and the Hounds 45-42. North Surry pulled out a victory over the Golden Eagles 48-41 to earn second place in the meet.
Central began the evening with stellar performances from two of their teams in the 200-yard medley relay. Both Eagle teams finished at least 20 seconds faster than the third-place Cardinals. North Surry’s team was disqualified.
North Surry’s Caleb Isaac’s made up for the first round snafu with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle. Isaac’s time of 2:15.36 was 35 seconds faster than the second place swimmer, East Surry’s Christian Lane.
Nolan Gilliam gave the East Surry men their first win of the night in the 200-yard individual medley, defeating the other four competitors by at least 42 seconds.
Hunter York got the Greyhounds back on track by narrowly defeating the Cardinals’ JaKwon Thompson by 0.75 seconds. Tanner Boone was less than two seconds behind Thompson to earn bronze for the Eagles.
York and Thompson went neck-and-neck once again in the 100-yard butterfly to a similar outcome. Though Thompson’s first lap was two seconds faster than York’s, York made up for it by finishing four seconds faster than his opponent on the next lap. Not far behind was Central’s Jesse Vaughn.
Continuing the theme of photo finishes, Drew Jones’ performance in the 100-yard freestyle was 0.49 seconds faster than East Surry’s Jacob Gates.
Nick Bryant broke out his merman tail for the 500-yard freestyle, finishing the event with a time of 5:36.39 for North Surry. Bryant’s time was just under two minutes faster than the second-place competitor, Central’s Nolan Poindexter. The much tighter races was between Poindexter and East Surry’s Lane, separated by just over a second.
East Surry’s squeaked away two consecutive victories for the first time Thursday night in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 100-yard backstroke.
The Cardinal team of Jacob Gates, Cade Williams, Lane, and Gilliam were just 1.14 seconds faster than North Surry’s squad in the freestyle relay. Gilliam replicated his close finish by narrowly defeating Bryant in the backstroke.
Bailey Gwyn of North Surry won his first individual event of the evening in the 100-yard backstroke by defeating Central’s Abbott Nixon and East’s Gates.
North Surry took the final event of the evening, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Isaacs, Bryan, York, and Drew Jones won the event, but it wasn’t enough to defeat East Surry in the meet.
East Surry defeated North Surry by only three points head-to-head.
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