FORT WAYNE – Jammed beneath his arm the way the little Heisman fellow carries the football, Homestead girls swim coach Chad Englehart exited the Helen P. Brown Natatorium on Saturday with another sectional championship trophy – the school’s 15th overall and ninth in a row.
But he knows – as do some of his team members – that Homestead had better secure the thing in the years ahead, because here comes Carroll, and Snider is always there.
Although the 10th-ranked Spartans racked up 527 points to win the South Side Sectional, second-place Carroll (409.5) and third-place Snider (395.5) took a bite out of last year’s domination, when Homestead won all but three events. That said, Homestead still won half of the 12 events, with Snider getting four and Carroll, behind four freshman relay swimmers, getting the other two.
I got a little more than I expected, said Englehart, who had a blue stripe down the middle of his blond hair. We got some outstanding relays I was really, really happy with. We had some young kids that we expected good things out of them, and we got great things.
But then there was the old guard coming through.
Senior Bailey Pressey won the 100-yard butterfly and backstroke, and junior Caroline Weigand established a sectional record with a 1:02.34 in the 100 breaststroke.
Weigand knows she and her Spartans are the hunted when it comes to water sports.
There is a lot of pressure, because for so many years we’ve been in first – winning it, Weigand said. This has been a really tough year. We have only a couple seniors, as opposed in years past we’ve had more senior leadership. That makes it hard, plus there’s pressure to uphold first place. And this year Carroll and Snider really stepped up from years past.
Snider, ranked 12th, had the day’s only other individual dual winner in sophomore Michaela Mintch, who won the 100 freestyle and set a 50-free meet record in 23.71.
And then there were the Carroll Kids.
Freshmen Courtney Kresl, Lauren Blanchard, Mykenzie Kostka and Zoe Toscos won the 200 freestyle relay, then had the crowd on its feet in the final event with a stunning triumph in the 400 relay.
The Chargers’ winning time was 3:33.32. Homestead was second in 3:33.34. Snider was a not-so-distant third in 3:33.69.
Oh my gosh, Carroll coach John Gibson said. Here I was, just hoping we could get under state cut – 3:38. Never in my imagination I thought we would go that fast.
Homestead qualified seven swimmers into Friday and Saturday’s state finals in Indianapolis and will send three divers into Tuesday’s regional at Fishers.
Carroll qualified six, Snider four and one each for Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers.