The Pilot Cup Swim Meet Is Saturday
Swimmers from Pinecrest and Union Pines high schools will be treading in familiar waters when they compete along with O'Neal in the annual Pilot Cup meet on Saturday.
The event begins at 3 p.m. in the pool at The O'Neal School where many of the swimmers at the three schools have received training as members of the Sandhills Sandsharks Swim Club.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Owen Herbert, the O'Neal coach, and one of the Sandshark instructors. "I'm very proud of my swimmers. It's a great debut to open peoples' eyes to the quality of swimmers we have in the county this year."
Heading into their fifth meet of the season, the O'Neal boys are unbeaten. They are lead by Alex Zhang (100-yard butterfly), Brandt Davis (200, 500 freestyle), Bennett Westling (50, 100 freestyle) and Mark Carey (100 breaststroke).
The Falcon girls' have also performed well with a young squad that includes a number of eighth-graders. Whitney Cutler (100, 200 freestyle) and Kendell Field (100 backstroke, 200 individual medley) are two of their strongest swimmers.
Carmen Miller and her sister, Catrina Nordgren, work together, coaching the Pinecrest and Union Pines teams. Saturday's meet will provide another opportunity for their swimmers to post regional qualifying times.
In last week's meet at the FirstHealth pool that included Lumberton, Casey Cooper (100 freestyle, 200 individual medley), Kaylon Kirk (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke) and Heather Sinsley (500 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) were double winners for the victorious Patriot girls.
Twins Ana and Alyssa Fish took the top-two spots in the 50 freestyle race. Maegan Wohlrab, who was unable to attend the meet, is a member of the outstanding 200 medley relay quartet that also includes Cooper, Kirk and Allysa DiTomasso. Claudia Quiros picked up a first (200 freestyle) and a second (500 freestyle) for Union Pines. Teammate Shannon Trudeau took two seconds (200 ind. medley, 100 breaststroke).
In the boys' competition won by Lumberton, Matt Fry was a double winner for Union Pines (200 ind. medley, 100 butterfly). The Viking senior is expected to be a contender in both of those events at the state level. Others winning races for the Vikings were Will Harding (200 freestyle) and A.J. Rackl (100 breaststroke). Teammate Daniel Onorati finished second to Rackl.
The Patriot boys finished second to Lumberton in last week's meet. Tyler Gordon (100 freestyle), Spaulding Spence (50 freestyle) and Alex Wilson (100 backstroke) posted second-place finishes.
Back after missing last week's meet is the Patriots' freshman standout, Kurt Wohlrab, who hasn't lost an event since the first meet of the season.
Miller is also looking forward to the opportunity to bring attention to swimming in Moore County. Her teams are the beneficiaries of not only the efforts of the Sandshark club, but also summer recreation programs offered by local towns.
She has found that kids that have tried other sports first often find a real niche for themselves as swimmers.
"We really need to promote swimming in this area," she said. "Kids that have grown up in the summer programs are a very important part of my teams."
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