Runner-up showing for Jr. Cyclones

  BRISTOL--Tennessee High on Friday hosted the area's 2004 Middle School Championship Swim Meet, which a came to a close with Science Hill taking the overall top team scores.
  Johnson City was able to overcome a a strong finish from Vance in the girls competition, while the boys dominated their events to win the overall team competition.
  In 24 different events it was Science Hill representing first place in either the girls or boys 16 times.
  The 'Toppers won every event in the boys competition except the 50-yard fly, in which Joel Bowers defeated Science Hill's James Kang in the 50 fly.
  "The whole team did an outstanding job, and most of them had their best times recorded this evening," said Science Hill coach Chris Coraggio. "We had boys that couldn't make the length of the pool when they started, and now they're placing in the top six. I'm hoping this will help with getting more kids interested in year round swimming."
  Garrett Espenscheid finished third to set a new school record for T.A. Dugger with a time of 45.47 seconds, while teammate Trenton Sprague trailed nearly three seconds to wind up fourth.
  The Jr. Cyclones had a pretty good day in the boys competition, as they edged out Vance for second place.
  Even though T.A. Dugger failed to capture first in any individual or team events, several top five finishes from different swimmers boosted them to second in the boys overall standings.
  It was mostly an effort made up of seventh graders for Elizabethton boys, but also good finishes from their two eighth-grade swimmers, Justin Stanley and Jared Jordan, became an added factor.
  Jordan posted the best time ever for T.A. Dugger in the boys 50 breaststroke at 45.23 seconds.
  Micah Cates turned in a couple of good performances for the Cyclones, as he set a new school record in the 100 freestyle.
  Another record fell for Cates in an event that was dominated by Science Hill's Kyle Owens, but a time of 3:01.07 was good enough for a new best time and second-place finish.
  "The boys were second overall out of five teams, so I was very pleased," said T.A. Dugger coach Jonell Johnson. "We have eight swimmers and two of them are eighth graders and the rest in seventh. It looks good for our program next year, and I expect too see some of those seventh graders breaking more records."
  Owens was also victorious in the 100 freestyle event, while teammate Mason Edmonds enjoyed the same kind of success by winning the boys 25 and 50 freestyles.
  Vance and Virginia Middle School were able to beat out the Jr. 'Toppers in the girls competition, while T.A. Dugger suffered from a lack participants as only three swimmers competing.
  The Lady Cyclones had just one entry in six out of the eight individual events, and no participants in any of the relays.
  Bethany Fair scored the most team points for the Cyclones when she competed in the girls 50 backstroke, while finishes from Kara Appleby in the 50 fly and Cassie Sprague in the 50 freestyle landed them a seventh place ranking overall.
  "The girls had improved times today, but we only had three out of seven swimmers here which hurt us as a team," said Johnson. "I was happy with the ones who were here, for I had one girl dropped seconds off their individual times, and the other two girls turned in their personal best."
  After racking up points in the relay events, Vance was able to defeat Virginia Middle School with top finishes coming from Melissa Dunaway in the girls 100 and 200 freestyle.
  Samantha Owens finished first for Science Hill on two separate occasions, winning the 100 medley and 50 yard freestyle.
  "I thought Virginia Middle school swam well, for last week they came down and we beat them pretty good then, but today it actually came down to the last relay," said Vance coach Chris Estep. "I also knew Science Hill had some good swimmers and it would be close.
  "Hopefully this kind of performance will build interest in the summer league and in high school, as we've already seen their team grow to having over 30 swimmers now."