Cyclones prevail in final home meet

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   Elizabethton ended their home swimming season with a bang Monday night, taking a 192-101 win over Sullivan East.
   Broken down amongst the boys and girls team, the boys rolled to a 79-12 win over a severly undermanned Patriot team. Meanwhile, the Lady Cyclones notched their first win of the season with a 113-89 victory over East.
   "I'm really glad that they could win that last one," said EHS head coach Jonell Johnson. "It was a great way to end on that note. We had all of our swimmers and they each competed in two individual events and in the relays. That really helped us to win this meet.
   "We had them outnumbered on the boys side, but our girls still beat the East girls with around the same number of swimmers."
   The girls' effort was highlighted by Lindsey Norris, who won back to back races in the 100 and 500 freestyle events. Norris was also a part of the winning team in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay events.
   "I wasn't expecting to win two in a row," admitted Norris. "I was excited to win the 100. I didn't know I was ahead and that was my first win.
   "It was tough swimming the 500 after the 100, but I was more familiar with the 500. I can ease down in it and do more of what I'm used to doing. I was trying to bring up my fastest time in the 500 and was trying to go really fast over that last 50 (meters)."
   She wasn't the only star for the Lady Cyclones, who won two of three relay events. Other individual winners on the girls' side included Audra Walker in the 200 freestyle, Sarah Key in the 200 individual medley and Allissa Walker, who won both the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke races.
   "I've been sick the last couple of days, so I thought I did pretty good," said Audra Walker about her 200 freestyle victory. "Actually it was my first individual win. I have improved a lot since the start of the season. I haven't been checking my times, but I've done a lot better."
   The girls also got key scores from Ariel Rockett with a second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 50 freestyle. Whitney Nelson matched those numbers with runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle and a third in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Savannah Davis also got in on the act, with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
   On the boys' side, it was a night to honor senior Charlie Crowe, swimming in his last home meet. He anchored the team to wins in all the boys' relay events and took top individual honors in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. He even found the time to swim in a couple of exhibitions.
   "It's been a good four years here," said Crowe. "There have been a lot of ups and downs. Tonight, since it was my last time swimming, I tried to help two of the other guys try to make the state. I swam two individual events getting points for the team and then swam them as exhibitions.
   "Overall, this has been a good year. The people are good here at Elizabethton. They treat you real nice and it's an awesome athletic program. I love swimming here."
   Crowe's strategy of swimming with teammates worked to the advantage of Evan Lindauer. Not only did Lindauer win the 100 backstroke, but he also qualified for the state swim meet with a time of 1:07.6.
   Blake Dugger barely missed in his attempt to qualify in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:05.80, although he was able to capture the race win.
   Eric Crowe was also on the scoreboard finishing third in the 50 freestyle and second behind his older brother in the 100 free.
   For East to simply have a team is impressive. Many of you will recall that earlier in the school year, they had to attend classes at Bristol Motor Speedway as their facility was being cleared of black mold.
   "It was hard keeping our team together," said Patriot head coach Amanda Schumann. "The Bristol Y let us use their pool without paying for it. They gave us all the pool time we needed. They were very generous with us. I was glad that we kept our team intact.
   "We don't have enough boys for a relay team, but all three of them did a good job for me. Jonathan Valentine got a win in the 500 freestyle in the first time he ever swam it. He liked it and talked about breaking the school record next year."
   Valentine's win was one of three for the Patriot swimmers. Sarah Rutter and Tasha Jackson also got event wins in the 100 breastroke and 50 freestyle, respectively.
   "Sarah Rutter is a junior, who has been swimming three years now, and she did a good job winning the 100 breastsroke," said Schumann. "Little Miss Tasha is a character and she is the speediest one I have on the team."
   Like Crowe for the Cyclones, Jackson along with teammates Jessica Perez and Mary Montgomery as seniors were competiting in their final regular season swim meets.
   Next on tap for both teams is Saturday's regional swim meet at Sullivan South.