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West, Central girls tie at state meet
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Forsyth County News
The girls from Forsyth Central and West Forsyth both performed well in the state swim meet at Westminster last weekend — equally well in fact, since at the end, there was no daylight between them.

West and Central tied for 12th place on the girls side in the Class A-AAAA swim meet, with each school scoring four finals appearances and a third-place state finisher.

In Class AAAAA, South Forsyth’s boys finished 20th, making the finals in four events.

“That really was interesting,” West coach Jim Ernst said of the tie between his and Central’s girls.

Ernst said both coaching staffs were tracking results throughout the day, trying to determine which scoring combinations would result in a tie.

“We were watching that closely, because we were sitting next to the Central coach ... We were working all the angles,” Ernst said.

Sophomore Shelby Hoyt and junior Katie McLean were the top performers for Central’s Lady Bulldogs, making the finals in four events between them. Hoyt finished third in the 500-yard freestyle and came seventh in the 200-yard freestyle. McLean finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly and was sixth in the 200-yard individual medley.

For West, it was senior Alexis Weber and freshman Madison Taylor leading the way, as both made the finals in the same two events.

Taylor grabbed a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle, less than a half-second behind winner Lauren Scott of Starr’s Mill. Weber, who will swim at Georgia Tech after graduation, finished seventh in that event. In the 100-yard freestyle, it was Weber finishing fourth, while Taylor was sixth.

Central coach Derek Shelton said the meet culminated a season of continual improvement for his team.

“All the girls improved their times based on their seed times [entering the meet],” he said.

“They did a really good job of getting better through the entire year and stepping up when they needed to with the state meet ... I was extraordinarily proud. We were a small team this year, but the ones that we had were very good kids.”

Ernst said that having Taylor join Weber on the West squad this year made for an effective 1-2 punch that improved the team’s overall placement.

“I think she’s got a great future ahead of her, certainly, if she keeps working hard,” Ernst said of his freshman phenom.

Ernst also noted that Taylor had to win a swim-off with Elizabeth Pitts of Marist to secure a spot in the top heat — and thus a top-8 state finish — for the 100-yard freestyle.

In addition to the success of his girls, Ernst said he was also impressed with the West boys’ season. Although the Wolverines didn’t place anyone in the finals, they qualified for state in two relays and an individual event, after being shut out of the state meet a year ago.

Ernst said he hopes the school’s summer program will help the team gain some year-round camaraderie in the offseason, as well as growing the team by attracting more swimmers.

“We would like to pull as many kids [as we can] and ... build West swiming as kind of a year-round type thing,” he said.

In the Class AAAAA meet, South’s Elliot Brockelbank was Forsyth’s top male performer. The sophomore qualified for the finals in two individual events, as well as a relay. His highest finish was ninth place in the 500-yard freestyle, while he finished 12th in the 200-yard freestyle. As part of South’s 400-yard freestyle relay team, Brockelbank helped the team to a 16th-place finish, along with Scott Langley, Nick Richards and Nage Gibson-Thompson.

Gibson-Thompson also made the finals in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing 10th.

Rounding out local results at the A-AAAA meet, Central had two relay teams qualify for state, in the 200-yard freestyle (Rachael Pack, Emily Sundy, Mclean and Hoyt) and 400-yard freestyle (Nicole Dowling, Pack, McLean and Hoyt).

The Lady Wolverines sent three relay teams to the event: 200-yard medley (Weber, Alex Whitton, Maddy Frame and Bree Steele), 200-yard freestyle (Frame, Steele, Haley Jones and Taylor) and 400-yard freestyle (Weber, Emilie Bertsch, Taylor and Whitton).

West Forsyth’s boys competed in three events, with Ross Schlegel representing the Wolverines in the 50-yard freestyle. The relay team of Schlegel, Alex Schwartzenberger, Matt Zurzolo and Ryan Barnes competed in the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle.

Competing in the preliminaries for South’s boys in the AAAAA meet were Richards (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard freestyle); Langley (100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke); Zack Eggert (100-yard butterfly, 500-yard freestyle); Gibson-Thompson (100-yard freestyle); Hunter Davis (100-yard breaststroke); and relay teams in the 200-yard medley (Gibson-Thompson, Davis, Eggert and Richards) and 200-yard freestyle (Langley, Brandon Whitlatch, Blake Stoval and Brockelbank).

South’s girls competed in 10 events on the day. Lady War Eagles appearing at state were Kelsey Thompson (200-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle); Caroline Angle (200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke); Ellen Johnson (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke); Kristen Eggert (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke); Amanda Ray (100-yard butterfly, 500-yard freestyle); Alexis Havrilla (100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke); Allie Schaich (100-yard breaststroke); and three relay teams: 200-yard medley (Havrilla, Eggert, Ray and Thompson), 200-yard freestyle (Angle, Michaela Grass, Meredith Harrison and Johnson) and 400-yard freestyle (Angle, Johnson, Ray and Thompson).

North Forsyth sent state qualifiers to six events in Class AAAAA. Competing for the Raider boys was the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bones Dalkin, Alex Cruz, Alex Joplin and Travis Harris. Representing the North girls were Julia Maxie (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke); Alex Papp (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke); and the relay team of Hannah Watkins, Maxie, Samantha Oller and Papp in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle.

E-mail BJ Corbitt at