Photos courtesy of Angela Rhode
By less than two seconds, the Magnolia 400-yard relay team edged the Bryant Hornets at the touch to forge the first tie for the championship of the South District at the swimming and diving meet held at Bishop Park’s Aquatic Center on Friday.
Both teams finished with 403 points. Bryant led by exactly six points going into the final event and Magnolia earned 40 points to the Hornets’ 34 in the relay.
The team of Curt Jennings, Epifanio Torres, Patrick Daniel and David Cheng finished in 3:53.76 while Bryant’s quartet of Jacob Rhode, Tristan Hoershelmann, Alex Ball and Trace Rhode turned in a 3:55.23.
“We had to re-do that relay because one of the boys that was in it had been disqualified for missing a race,” mentioned Bryant coach Angel Dale. “I was very pleased with my 400 relay. They gave it everything they had trying to win. It was very exciting and great competition.”
El Dorado was a distant third in the 11-team meet with 171 points with Benton fourth at 155.
A similar scenario played out in one of the early events, the 200-yard medley relay in which Magnolia’s group turned in a 1:46.67 with Bryant’s Ray Weldon, Chandler Reep, Michael Higgs and Kyle Henry finished second in a blink at 1:48.67.
The Hornets won the 200 freestyle relay with Reep, Weldon, Henry and Higgs finishing in 1:37.20, well ahead of El Dorado’s second-place 1:46.13. Magnolia was disqualified because their anchor swimmer left early.
The Hornets won two individual events and used their depth as four swimmers scored in the 500 free and three scored in the 200 free, the 200 individual medley, the 100 backstroke and the 100 breast stroke.
Henry led the pack in the 500 free with a 5:26.68. Trace Rhode was second at 5:34.58 and Jacob Rhode was fourth in 5:54.76. Zachary Milam added points with a 10th in a time of 7:21.98.
Higgs earned a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing in 55.78 with teammate Dylan Althen getting eighth in 1:19.50.
Cavion Crosby accounted for second-place points in the one-meter dive with a score of 281.25, just short of Arkadelphia’s Taylor Savage at 314.65.
“Cavion made State by competing in all 11 dives,” Dale mentioned. “He’s done the reverse but has been a little timid after hitting the board in December. But he rose to the occasion for the District Meet.
In the 200 IM, Trace Rhode was third in 2:20.01 with Hoerschelmann sixth in 2:32.40 and Fonzee Bittle seventh in 2:33.
The trio that scored in the 200 free was paced by Jacob Rhode’s fourth-place finish with a time of 2:13.05. Alex Ball was eighth in 2:16.70 and Althen was 10th in 2:27.38.
Reep took fifth in the 100 breast stroke in 1:16.98 with Hoerschelmann sixth (1:18.50) and Milan seventh (1:18.85).
Weldon’s 1:06.18 led a trio of scoring Hornets in the 100 backstroke. He was fifth with Reep sixth (1:07.35) and Trevor Ball 10th (1:16.15).
Henry and Alex Ball scored in the 100 free. Henry was fifth in 54.65 with Ball eighth in 1:00.93.
In the 50 free, Weldon took sixth in 24.95 and Trevor Ball was 14th in 28.77.
The season will conclude for Bryant at the State meet. Diving will be held on Feb. 26 and swimming on Feb. 27.