Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 14, 2013

Juggernaut Carmel awaits county boys swimmers

Boys sectional action begins tonight at Carmel.

By Josh Sigler
Tribune sportswriter

— While not quite as dominant as their female counterparts, Carmel High School’s boys swim team boasts a resume that’s as dominant as it gets on its side of the aisle.

The Greyhound girls posted their 27th straight state title last weekend, tying the nation’s longest streak in the history of girls sports.

The Greyhound boys enter the postseason tonight seeking their fourth straight state championship and 14th since 1990, although they enter this postseason ranked No. 3 behind Chesterton and Indianapolis North Central.

Howard County’s participants head to the 10-team Carmel Sectional tonight looking to see where they stack up against some of the toughest competition around. Competitors will hit the pool at 5:30 p.m.

“If anybody can get out of [the sectional] they’re going to do well at state,” Western coach Brad Bennett said. “Our guys have been pretty dominant all year, and guys like Asa Sheffer and Glen Brown are in the middle of the field. We have guys with a shot of making the top 16, but making the top eight is not a guarantee.”

The Panthers will head to Carmel with a host of swimmers who like their chances of advancing to Saturday’s finals. The top eight in each event tonight advance to Saturday’s championship round, while those who place ninth through 16th make the consolation finals. Those rounds begin at 1 p.m.

Connor Hill (100-yard freestyle), Asa Sheffer (200 free, 100 butterfly), Glenn Brown (200 free, 500 free) and Cody Cox (one-meter diving) each have a chance to make some noise come Saturday.

Sheffer took 10th in the 500 free and ninth in the 100 backstroke last season as a sophomore. Cox finished fifth in diving a year ago, and will need to finish fourth or better Saturday to advance to the regional round.

The 200 medley relay team of Sheffer, Clayton Carroll, Josh Jansen and Evan Carman took eighth in the sectional a season ago.

“My goal is to get as many guys into the top 16 as possible,” Bennett said. “I’d love to see three swimmers in each event, and I have the guys that I believe are going to be close to being able to do that. Going up against the bigger schools, you can almost count on three from Carmel and Noblesville and two or three from Westfield [making the top 16], so it fills up quickly. I want my boys to go down and finish the season strong and show the work they’ve done all year. We’ve truly had an outstanding season and this team has worked very hard, harder than any team I’ve had in recent memory.”

Kokomo’s Nathan Banush leads the Wildkat returners, taking 11th in the 200 free in last season’s sectional as a freshman. He’ll compete in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley tonight.

Kokomo coach Jay Glick also likes the chances of Blake Brookshire and Logan Hawk. Brookshire will do battle in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, while Hawk will take to the pool in the 100 free and 100 backstroke.

Brookshire took 14th in the 100 free a season ago as a freshman.

“It’s obviously tough when you face powers like Carmel, Westfield and Noblesville,” Glick said. “But, there are spots where Howard County teams can get in there and beat those guys and make it a pretty good showing. You better be on your game if you’re going to get in the top eight. It’s looks like all three of our relays can get into the top eight, so that feels good, but you have to be on your game. There’s no waiting around.”

Northwestern boasts the strongest contingent of returners.

Senior Austin Roberts finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke last season, while teammate Tony Janes finished eighth in the 50 free.

Janes, Roberts and junior Griffin Longshore return in two relays that had strong showings a season ago, taking sixth in both the 200 medley and 400 free relays.

Longshore was also ninth in the 500 freestyle a season ago.

Eastern is led by sophomore Sam Rocchio, who took seventh in the 100 butterfly as a freshman a season ago. Senior Joel Mohring took 12th in the 100 backstroke as a junior last season.

Freshman Gray Longshore will look to advance in the 200 free and 500 free, while junior Kyle Miller will join him in the 500 free.

Also for the Tigers, Senior diver David Wilkinson will take to the springboard in the postseason for the first time since he was a freshman.

“It’s great competition for the kids,” Northwestern coach Cindy Britten said. “They have to swim their best to get [into Saturday], and that’s what it’s all about. It’s one of the toughest, if not the toughest, sectional in the state. You’re going down there to swim against the best. We hope it pushes our kids and they compete well and make it back to Saturday.”