- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
COLLEGE PARK – Northern High School senior Ben Lawless said he was having an off-day at Saturday's Class 3A-2A-1A state swim championships at the University of Maryland's Geary F. Eppley Recreation Center, but one wouldn't know it.
Lawless swam like he was having one of his best days and now has two number one rankings in the state to prove it.
The senior finished two laps ahead of his competitors in the 500-yard freestyle, setting a new meet record in 4 minutes 26.17 seconds, breaking the 2012 record of 4:27.83 set by Garrett Powell. Then, he broke his own record of 1:40.59 in the 200 free that he set just a year ago. He finished this year in 1:39.40.
Lawless said he was actually trying to swim faster in both events.
“It's an accomplishment breaking Garrett's record, that feels pretty good, and breaking my own record [in the 200 free], that feels good, too,” Lawless said. “Time-wise, the 200 was all right. I feel like I could have gone faster in both. Personally, I feel like I'm having an off-day. That's all right though.”
Lawless helped his Patriots team finish 14th overall with 57 points, with Poolesville of Montgomery County taking the state team title with 346.
Standing on the podium for the last time in a public school state meet meant a lot to Lawless and Northern head coach Carrie Bonalewicz.
“I'm pretty proud of him,” Bonalewicz said of Lawless. “I know I'm losing him next year. I'll wait to cry at the [athletic] banquet.”
La Plata captured 20th place with 42.5 points, while Patuxent finished 22nd with 19 points. Lackey placed 28th overall with seven points and Thomas Stone brought in 29th place with six points and McDonough was 31st with three points.
For the girls, C. Milton Wright of Harford County finished first with 327.5 points. La Plata tied with McDonough for 21st place with 20 points. Stone captured 23rd place with 18 points and Northern took 29th with two points.
The 4A-3A state championships occurred earlier on Saturday with Richard Montgomery of Montgomery County winning on the boys side with 267.5 points. Leonardtown finished 12th overall, first among SMAC schools, with 51 points.
Two Leonardtown relays finished in the top-10. The 200 free relay with freshman Dean Pinno, junior Lawson Race, sophomore Michael Kaslik and junior Caleb Kaslik took eighth in 1:32.69, while the 400 free relay of Pinno, Race, Michael Kaslik and junior Cole Chebi was 10th in 3:28.07. Caleb Kaslik took 10th individually in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.60.
North Point took home 14th place with 39 points and Huntingtown finished 17th with 28 points.
North Point's Nick Essing finished second in the 50 free, touching the wall in 21.62 seconds, just two one-hundredths of a second behind the winner, Walter Johnson's Jean-Marc Nugent.
Essing was up against Nugent again in the 100 free and took fifth, finishing in 48.72. Nugent set a new meet record in 46.99.
“I'm pretty happy with it, although a little annoyed [with 50 free],” Essing said. “I had no idea [how close the race was]. He was like two lanes over from me. He couldn't see me, but I'm happy with the day overall.”
On the girls side, Wootton of Montgomery County captured the win with 292.5 points. Leonardtown tied with Paint Branch of Montgomery County for 24th place overall with four points.
Boys: 1. Richard Montgomery 267.5, 12. Leonardtown 51, 14. North Point 39, 17. Huntingtown 28
Girls: 1. Wootton 292.5, 24. Leonardtown 4
Boys: 1. Poolesville 346, 14. Northern 57, 20. La Plata 42.5, 22. Patuxent 19, 28. Lackey 7, 29. Thomas Stone 6, 31. McDonough 3
Girls: 1. C. Milton Wright 327.5, T-21. La Plata 20, T-21. McDonough 20, 23. Thomas Stone 18, 29. Northern 2