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They won the county.
They won the district.
Now, they’ve won the region.
So, the big question is: Can they win States?
“I have no concerns about States,” said JF Head Coach Jonathan Templeton. “We have a great lineup and whatever happens, happens.”
While what happens will be determined next weekend at Christiansburg, for now the Jefferson Forest boys can bask in the warmth of their dominating performance in winning the Region III crown last Saturday.
How dominating? How about finishing first in eight of eleven events?
How about a fistful of meet records?
Yes, the Cavs were superb. And the ladies weren’t too shabby either, though they had to take a back seat to Spotswood, which picked up the team title.
Nevertheless, of the 22 swimming events (JF does not compete in diving), athletes adorned in black and red touched up first in ten of them.
Things started out with a JF sweep of the 200 medley relay.
On the boys side, Chad Nowakowski, Alex Soderman, Hunter Morris and Carter Watson teamed up to win at 1:42.21.
The ladies group of Ainsley Reed, Susanna White, Sarah Fredericksen and Lauren Romanzak then posted a new meet record of 1:54.07.
Caleb Williams and Fredericksen went on to nab JF wins in the 200 free, with Williams breaking Watson’s old meet mark.
Nowakowski next made it five straight JF wins, taking the 200 IM in 2:00.97.
Watson followed with a win in the 50 free, with his time of 22.36 seconds just ahead of Staunton River’s Jordan Dehli, who was runner-up.
White made it a county sweep of the 50 free, setting a meet record in the process.
Williams picked up his second win of the meet, taking the 100 free in 48.23, a second and a half ahead of teammate Soderman.
Reed won the 100 free in convincing fashion, clocking in at 55.44 seconds.
Templeton called Reed’s win “the most notable swim of the meet,” in that she moved up two spots from the seeding order to earn the victory.
Fredericksen showed her versatility by winning the 500 free in 5:13.60.
She also showed her stamina by turning around and helping her mates win the 200 free relay. In that winning effort of 1:42.30, she was joined by Reed, Callie White and Susanna White.
Oh, yeah, they also set a meet record.
The lads of the 200 free relay (Morris, Stuart Blakely, Blake Nowakowski and Williams) won it in 1:32.28.
The county logged a 1-2-3 in the 100 back, as Williams (54.63 seconds), Chad Nowakowski and Liberty’s Travis Beverley took the top spots in the race.
Susanna White wrapped up her remarkable day by setting a new mark in the 100 breaststroke. Her time? 1:05.23. The old record holder? Susanna White, of Jefferson Forest.
The cherry on the sundae came when the JF 400 free relay churned home in record-setting fashion. That crew, consisting of Williams, Chad Nowakowski, Soderman and Watson bore a striking similarity to the old record holders.
In fact, the displaced top dogs were Williams, Nowakowski, Watson and Joe Euhus, who is now at the Air Force Academy.
White was honored with a plaque that pronounced her swimmer of the year. It was the second consecutive year that White has been so honored.
Templeton, by virtue of his team winning Region III, was named men’s Coach of the Year.
It is obvious in talking with him, though, that such honors matter little to him. From day one, Templeton has had his eye on the prize: that state title and as many individual accolades as his swimmers can earn.
The state swim meet, by the way, will take place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26. It will be hosted at the Christiansburg Aquatics Center.