Things haven’t been this good for East Surry girls’ swimming in 14 years.
The Lady Cardinals didn’t have quite the same star power as it did a year ago, when they contended for several individual state titles and finished seventh overall in the 1A/2A championships, but were the highest-scoring 1A traditional school.
However, the 2016-17 version made up for the lack of star power with depth, and the East Regional champs actually did three spots better in this year’s championships, held like last year at the Cary Aquatic Center.
East Surry finished fourth overall with a team total of 193 points, trailing only two 1A nontraditional schools, Pine Lake Preps (332) and Raleigh Charter (241.5) and 2A Carrboro, which was one of the host schools (220). The next-highest finishing traditional 1A school was actually another team from Surry County — Elkin finished 20th overall with 20 team points. Everyone in between the Lady Cardinals and the Lady Elks was either an open enrollment school or a 2A school.
The fourth-place team finish was the best for East Surry since the 2002 and 2003 teams both finished second.
Three local teams had individuals or relay teams high enough to score team points. In addition to East Surry’s girls, the Cardinal boys finished 29th overall with 10 points. Mount Airy’s girls also made it onto the scoreboard, putting up 16 points to rate 23rd overall.
East Surry’s Northwest Conference rival Bishop McGuinness showed well in both halves of the meet, placing eighth in the girls’ half with 93 points, and 10th on the boys’ side with 107. Elkin’s boys finished 15th overall with 50 points.
The Lady Cardinals’ best individual event finish were bronze medals from Avery Tucker in the 100 backstroke and in the 400 free relay, courtesy of Ashley Hicks, Anne-Louise Tunstall, Julie Hicks and Tucker. East Surry’s girls scored in all of the relays, though. In the 200 free relay, Hicks, Sydney Beck, Tunstall and Tucker were fifth. In the 200 medley relay, Beck, Gracie Pruitt, Mikki Nunn and Julie Hicks placed sixth.
The 100 back was a strong event for East, with Hicks coming in sixth and Beck in ninth. Other performances for the Lady Cardinals included:
200 Individual Medley: Tunstall (8th Place), Nunn (14th), Pruitt (15th)
50 Freestyle: Ashley Hicks (19th),
100 Freestyle: Ashley Hicks (11th), Tunstall (15th)
100 Butterfly: Tucker (5th), Beck (15th)
500 Freestyle: Julie Hicks (9th)
100 Breaststroke: Nunn (8th), Pruitt (9th)
All of East Surry’s boys’ points came from Nolan Gilliam, who was 12th in both the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly.
For Mount Airy, Sierra Best came in sixth in the girls’ 100 breaststroke. Best also competed in the 200 IM, finishing 18th, and was anchored the school’s 400 free relay team along with Gilleyn Bunting, Elizabeth Marion and Lindley Williams. They came in 21st.
Nick Bryant represented North Surry’s boys in the 500 free and placed 18th overall.