- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
COLLEGE PARK — Waiting until Event 19 was worth it for Patuxent Panthers fans Saturday at the Class 3A-2A-1A state swim championships held at the University of Maryland’s Eppley Recreation Center.
Event 19, the 100-yard backstroke, featured Patuxent sophomore Chris Kahl.
And when the race was over, the Panthers fans who made the trip up from Lusby rejoiced in the stands as Kahl won the event in 54.57 seconds.
Kahl was all smiles at the end of the meet after swimming the last leg of the boys 400 freestyle relay, his fourth event of the day. Kahl also finished third in the 500 free in 4 minutes 58.34 seconds.
“It feels good because I not only won, but swam a best time,” Kahl said of his 100 back time. “I gave it my all. I was extremely tired after the 500, but that’s OK, that’s what racing is about. I can’t wait to get up on that podium. I’ve been trying to break five minutes [in the 500] all year, and this is the first time I did it, actually the first time in my high school career.”
Kahl also teamed up with senior CJ Hall, junior Steven Coley and senior Ronnie Forster for the 200 free relay. The team finished 12th overall, first in SMAC, in 1:40.46 to post 10 points for the Panthers.
Patuxent finished 16th overall, first for a SMAC boys team, with 59 points. Poolesville won the state title for the second straight year with 327 points.
Other SMAC teams placing included La Plata wrapping up 21st place with 39 points, Calvert taking home 23rd with 21 points, Thomas Stone finishing 28th with four points and McDonough 31st with two points.
La Plata junior Eric Matteson finished 13th overall, first in SMAC, in the 200 free in 1:59.78. He also placed eighth in the 100 back in 58.75.
Poolesville won the girls team state title with 313.5 points. Stone captured 19th place overall, first for a SMAC team, with 26 points, while McDonough finished 21st with 24.5 points.
On the girls side, McDonough junior Sydney Fuller had two of the best placements among SMAC participants.
Fuller placed sixth in the 50 free in 26.20 and tied for seventh in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.58 with Harford Tech’s Taylor Casalena.
Calvert’s Cara Mathers was all smiles after winning her heat in the 50 free. She finished 18th overall in 27.76.
Stone had a strong showing with juniors Amber Sandy, Taylor Stark, Taylor Webber and Rachel Pritchett swimming the 200 medley relay. The team finished 11th overall, first among SMAC teams, touching the wall in 2:05.02. Sandy also dropped time in her 100 back, finishing 16th in 1:08.45.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Sandy said. “States is the last meet and it’s definitely shown how much we’ve improved throughout the season and it showed how hard we worked in practice.”
Webber said she was happy that her team made it to states.
“It was all or nothing, the last meet,” Webber said. “I think everyone did their best and got a lot of personal best times. We all gave it our all.”
Pritchett touched the wall in 28.01 to finish 23rd in the 50 free and took 15th in the 100 free in 1:01.45. Stark was 16th overall, first in SMAC, in the 100 breaststroke in 1:18.44.
“I think it says a lot that we’re here with this being our toughest competition all year,” Stark said, “especially with none of us being year-round swimmers, that says a lot just to even make it here. I also think the pool was faster today than in prior years and definitely faster than regionals.”
Stone senior Alexis Rossetti made her first appearance at states and swam the third leg of the 12th-place 400 free relay, touching the wall in 4:15.76.
“I feel so fortunate to swim with such a talented team,” Rossetti said, “and it’s nice because we’re like a family at our school so it’s nice to be on this swim team.”