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Jefferson teams 4th and 19th at state swim meet

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Apr 30, 2021

MORGANTOWN — For the second consecutive year, swim teams from George Washington High School in Charleston won both the boys and girls state championships.

The state title by the Patriot boys was their 10th overall championship in the last 13 years. The grand climax to the much-shortened swim season by the George Washington girls was their sixth state title in the past nine years.

Jefferson’s boys placed fourth — behind Bridgeport (165 points) and Robert C. Byrd (105 points), in addition to all-conquering George Washington (202 points). Wheeling Park (87 points) and Buckhannon (85 points) placed fifth and sixth in the boys division. The Cougars amassed 99 points.

Jefferson’s girls were 19th overall with 11 points (all gained by Gigi Brown with her seventh place in the 50 freestyle and ninth place in the 100 freestyle).

Bridgeport’s Randy Keener and Huntington’s Henry Sheils tied for top individual point leaders in the boys division while George Washington’s Madilyn McGlothen and Buckhannon’s Cadence Vincent tied for the most points in the girls division.

Morgantown (with 156.5 points) was in second place in the girls division, followed by Wheeling Park (127 points), Buckhannon (123 points), Bridgeport (120 points) and Fairmont Senior (89 points).

For the Jefferson boys, the highest finish came in the meet’s final event — the 400 freestyle relay — where the Cougars were third. Swimming for Jefferson in that relay were Chris Turner, Nick Lugo, Justin Gottlieb and Connor Labombard. The boys also placed fourth in the 200 freestyle relay. Individually, Chris Turner was third in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle. Nick Lugo placed fifth in the butterfly and sixth in the IM. Connor Labombard was sixth in the 200 freestyle. Other Jefferson participants were Calvin Davis, Ben Hanson, Zach Pfaltzgraff, Kowen Brassfield and Matt Bandler.

At the state meet for the Jefferson girls besides Brown were Isabella Tuzzio, Sydney Coderre and Riley Humphrey.

One of the most-talked about happenings at the one-day state event was the participation of George Washington’s Grant Ridenour. Ridenour was in the 200 freestyle relay for the Patriots. He approached the starting blocks in a slow amble, getting there with a walking boot on one leg. He removed the boot to swim his leg of the relay race where he swam first and the Patriots won. When the event was over, placed the boot back on his injured leg and ambled off to celebrate with other members of the relay-winning and meet-winning Patriots.

Back in Nov. and Dec. 2020 and then Jan. 2021, it appeared there would be no swim meets held for the season, but there was eventually some late competition and a state championship event held — unlike in the spring of 2020 when nothing ever transpired in the sports of softball, baseball, girls track and field, boys track and field, girls tennis or boys tennis.