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Patriots boys, girls top Stone in season opener in pool; Bonalewicz gets first victories as head coach


Staff writer

Despite having some swimmers have the flu bug heading into Wednesday’s Southern Maryland Athletic Conference opener versus Thomas Stone at the North Point High School pool, Northern head coach Carrie Bonalewicz was elated and for good reason.

With a lot of depth, Northern won 17 out of 22 events overall, as the boys went on to cruise to a 171-88 victory over Stone and the girls earned a 156-96 win.

In her first season as the program’s frontrunner, Bonalewicz was all smiles as she earned her first-ever win at the Patriots helm.

“Thomas Stone had some very good competitors, their girls team gave our girls a run for their money at times during the meet,” Bonalewicz said. “A number of people were sick, but the team pulled through and gave 100 percent in the pool.”

The Patriots had six double winners combined, as junior Ben Lawless, sophomore Tommy Cranford, and freshman Nick Goszkowicz led the boys team.

Lawless, who was feeling sick, did not let that hamper his performance, capturing first places in the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute 49.65 seconds and breaking his own school record in the 500 free with a time of 4:41.18.

“I was really sick, but I’m happy with my performance,” Lawless said. “The main thing was that I wanted to support the team and get points for us. The coaches have been doing well working with the team. I think it will be a very good year.”

On breaking the school record, Lawless added, “I was really surprised that I was able to swim a 4:41, I honestly didn’t think I would go that fast today.”

Cranford earned wins in the 50 free in 23.45 and touched the wall in 53.60 seconds in the 100 free. Goszkowicz took firsts in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.

The Patriots swept the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relay events on the evening.

“Our swimmers really had a good meet, and my assistant coaches Dani Henwood and Lisa Singler have been doing a good job in practice with them,” Bonalewicz said.

Senior Josh Linsmeier and junior McKay Stevens led the Stone boys with top finishes in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, respectively.

“Half our team’s never swam before,” Thomas Stone head coach Patrick O’Leary said. “McKay really stepped up today, I was proud of him. He swam a 1:13 in the breast, which was a second faster than last season. Josh did really well in the butterfly today improving his time.”

On the girls side, senior Alexa Leininger, junior Devon Goszkowicz and senior Heather Cheney all won two events each.

Leininger picked up wins in the 200 and 500 free, while Goszkowicz won the 200 IM and the 100 free. Cheney picked up victories in the 50 free and the 100 fly.

Junior Amber Sandy won the 100 back and junior teammate Taylor Stark won the 100 breast to help lead the Stone girls.

“This was our first meet and we got off to a very good start,” Leininger said. “We’ve been swimming hard at practice and this really boosted our morale.”

Northern also won two out of the three relays, while Stone earned a win in the 200 medley relay.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be head coach,” Bonalewicz said. “I have a great staff and it was nice to open the season with a win.”