Prince William News
Tue., Jan. 15 - patriot-swimmers-favored-to-claim-schools-first-district-titles
Patriot swimmers favored to claim school’s first district titles
© Gainesville TimesAfter two resounding wins on Friday night against Stonewall Jackson, the Patriot boys and girls varsity swim teams appear to be on track to capture the school's first-ever Cedar Run District championships for any sport.
Both teams won with more than 200 points in the one-on-one match ups at the Freedom Fitness and Aquatic Center in Manassas on Jan. 11.
Patriot swimmers won a combined 20 out of 22 events as the boys topped the Raiders 210 to 75 and the girls won 205 to 74.
That happened to be the same night Broad Run and Battlefield split two closely fought meets at the same venue, with the Spartan girls winning 159 to 127 and the Bobcat boys winning 157 to 128.
What that means for the district is that undefeated Patriot is in the driver's seat en route to the district finals, set for Feb. 1 in Manassas.
The girls and boys toppled Battlefield, the defending district champions, at the start of the season Nov. 30 and followed up with district wins over Broad Run and Freedom (South Riding) along with a non-conference victory at the Seton Invitational on Dec. 15.
All that is left on the regular season schedule is one more district meet against Osbourn on Jan. 18.
Working in Patriot's favor is that no one from either team graduated last season when the Pioneers finished second in the district.
That makes this season kind of like a second-chance opportunity, according to Morgan Remaley, one of the girls' team captains.
"I feel like our team built itself off from last year," said the junior, later adding, "We don't have a third chance."
Recalling how the Patriot boys came within one point of Battlefield last year, Remaley claimed the "feeling in our stomach was horrible" from the scoreboard.
Co-captain Sydney Thorpe, whose father coaches BHS, explained that the strength of Patiot's depth chart is responsible for the team picking up points beyond just the best swimmers.
"A lot of our dependence is on the freshmen," she said.
That includes Mary Claire Tansill.
She swam second on the victorious 200 yard medley relay team on Friday and won both the 100 yard breaststroke and the 200 yard individual medley with freshman Morgan Mugnolo and junior Rebekah Morgan finishing in the second and third spots.
Such a race is a prime example of how Patriot picks up major points out of single events.
Tansill, Mugnolo and Morgan together won 19 points in one event, nearly 10 percent of Patriot's total for the whole meet.
Meanwhile, Patriot relay teams came in the first four spots in the 200 yard event as the top team of freshmen Tansill, Mugnolo and sophomores Haley Soller and Samantha Baird set a school record.
In fact, 13 times on Friday, Patriot swimmers claimed at least the top three spots in a single event.
Baird set a school record in the 100 yard freestyle (57.35 seconds) as did Mugnolo in the 100 yard backstroke (1:05.16) and Tansill in the 100 yard breaskstroke (1:07.69).
"Morgan is definitely one of our girls who came in and was like, 'What can I do'" to help, said Remaley.
The captains Remaley and Thorpe also instituted a big-sister, little-sister concept to head coach Lisa Bussian's team this year as upper-classmen are pairing with younger players to help guide them.
Remaley works with Soller, who she said she has known since age 8, and Thorpe partners with freshman Morgan Hester.
Soller won the 500 yard freestyle (5:59.86) on Friday, topping third-place Ramaley by almost 22 seconds.
"She just beat me, actually," said Remaley with a laugh while standing by the side of the pool. "My little sister just beat me in a race."
As for the boys, captain Thomas Scott, who won the 100 yard butterfly and 500 yard freestyle on Jan. 11, explained that it's mostly our sophomores and juniors" that are projecting the team toward the top spot in the district.
Sophomore Andrew Proper claimed first-place individual titles in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard freestyle. He teamed up with sophomore classmates Luke Cumberland and Jeffrey Pfannenstein along with the junior Scott to take home first in the 400 yard freestyle relay and with Scott, Pfannenstein and junior Gavin Graham to win the 200 yard medley relay.
Pfannenstein won outright by himself in the 100 yard backstroke. So did his classmates Coulter Morrill in the 200 yard freestyle and Nathan George in the 100 yard breasstroke.
Senior Nick Mannning explained that, as a senior leader, what he tries to have "as many one-way conversations with as many of the underclassmen as possible" as a way of building up their confidence.
Junior CJ Higdon, Jr. explained that Scott and Manning are well-respected on the team because of their times and work ethic, which in turn helps make them effective leaders.
"Anything you put (Manning) in, he's going to try as hard as he can go," said Higdon.