The margin was even narrower than last season, but the Homestead girls are once again South Side sectional swimming and diving champions, scoring 525 points to edge runner-up Carroll by 19 points at Helen P. Brown Natatorium on Saturday.
The Chargers swept all three relay events and broke the meet record in each race, winning the 200 yard medley in 1 minute, 42.72 seconds, the 200 free relay in 1:34.20 and the 400 free relay in 3:26.34.
But Homestead took second place and hit the cut time to automatically qualify for the state meet in all three relays.
“Carroll's a great team, and there are a lot of great swimmers on both sides and at Fort Wayne Community Schools; always feels better walking out with the trophy than without it,” Homestead coach Justin Max said. “The way this meet's structured, it's always going to be pretty close between the two of us and come down to those last few swims.”
The Spartans made big inroads in the freestyle events, winning all four of the individual races. Junior Audrey Crowel won the 200 free in 1:50.42, sophomore Kyra Tonsil won the 50 in 23.49 (Carroll freshman Alexis Jankowski was second in 23.73 and also went under the state cut time), junior Maggie Stock won the 100 in 51.96 to edge Tonsil. Lily Kaiser won the 500 in 5:06.14.
Carroll senior Mallory Jackson won the 200 individual medley in 2:03.04, while Kaiser and Stock also posted cut times in that event as they took second and third place. Carroll's Teagen Moon won the 100 butterfly in 55.01 (Homestead's Audrey Crowel finished second and hit the state cut).
The Spartans also picked up valuable ground in the 100 backstroke, the event Jackson won for the Chargers at the state meet last season. Chargers sophomore Mya DeWitt won the event in 54.34 on Saturday, but sophomore Morgan Brown made a big push to finish second for Homestead. Jackson took third while Homestead junior Ella Sackett was fourth.
Bishop Dwenger junior Anna Yaggy won the 1-meter dive with a final score of 480.35.
The Homestead divers (freshmen Alli Sullivan and Shannon Kessler and junior Emmalie Sipe) swept fourth through sixth place, respectively, picking up 42 crucial points for the Spartans.
“It's amazing, Jill (Eakright) is the best dive coach there is, and I'll hear no arguments against it,” Max said. “Especially this year, we've had tremendous diving since I've been here, but this year it's a very different squad with a lot less experience. Alli Sullivan, our top finisher who took fourth and is going to regionals, we didn't even know if she was going to come out for the team in October.”
Aside from Yaggy and her diving title, Concordia senior Lauren Doerffler was the only non-Homestead or Carroll swimmer to win an event, claiming the 100 breaststroke title in 1:04.88. Her Cadets finished third as a team with a score of 262, while Snider was fourth at 179 and Bishop Dwenger fifth at 177.
Norwell took second place with 293 points, well behind Jay County's 416. Knights senior Alyssa Cyrus won the 200 free and 100 back and anchored Norwell's winning 400 free relay. Freshman Brianna Cook of Adams Central won the dive competition with a score of 317.85. Bluffton finished third in the team standings and Huntington North fifth.
The Tigers took second place at their home sectional, trailing Culver Academies, 398-386. Warsaw won the 200 medley relay and took second in both of the freestyle relays. Columbia City finished third in the team standings.