Vike Swim Season Starts With Split
Union Pines opened its boys’ and girls’ swimming seasons at Campbell University Tuesday in a 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference meet.
The defending CFVC champion Lady Vikings, who went undefeated in league action a season ago, picked up right where they left off, tallying 157 points to win the five-school meet. Western Harnett scored 124 to place second, while Overhills finished third at 79.
Vike sophomore Cassidy Fry captured first-place finishes in the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke, while teammate Janelle Imbriale dominated the 50- and 100-meter freestyle. The tandem teamed up with Courtney Pope and Erin Harding to help Union Pines win the 200-meter medley relay race. Logan West joined Fry, Imbriale, and Harding as the winning 200 freestyle relay team.
“I’m fortunate to have all but one of my girls return from last year,” said Vike head coach Carmen Miller. “We made some changes to cover the gap left by our lone senior (from last season) in Shannon Trudeau. She was the top breaststroker in the conference for four years straight and I was worried we would feel the loss.
“However, senior Courtney Pope swam the event (breaststroke) for the first time in this meet and won it. At the same time, sophomore Ashlyn Owens has really made great improvements since last season as well.”
On the night, Owens finished second in the 50 freestyle — behind Imbriale — and placed third in the 100 freestyle.
Boys Show Strong Potential
Sophomore captain Jacob Walker lead the Vike boys to an encouraging runner-up finish at the meet.
Ultimately, Union Pines finished two points behind the Southern Lee Cavaliers — a squad that has asserted itself as the class of the CFVC over the past several seasons of league competition.
“Our boys’ team has always been plagued by low numbers,” Miller said, “but this year they stand 15 strong compared to the eight we had last year.
“We had eight good swimmers last year and we could win events, but without the necessary numbers, we lacked the depth needed to score high enough to win a meet. This year we have those eight back and the new swimmers are providing us with that true depth required to post potential meet-winning scores.”
Walker won the 100 freestyle and finished a close second in the 50 freestyle. Vike Kyle Metcalf took first place in the 100-meter backstroke, while teammate Aran Stalls won the 100 breaststroke.
“A little over a year ago, I stood on the pool deck and taught basic stroke skills to these guys,” said Miller. “Then, at this meet, I see Aran (Stalls) win the 100 breaststroke and (from watching him) you would think he had been swimming for years.
“In a way it does hurt to get so close and not win, but, on the other hand, it still feels great to be up there at the top with a true chance. In six years of coaching the boys’ team here at Union Pines, I have never had this many guys come out for swimming and make such a strong showing.
“Granted, we did make some rookie mistakes that resulted in several DQs (disqualifications), but once we get those kinks ironed out, we are going to be strong contenders for the conference title. So I’m excited to see what the season brings.”
Both Union Pines squads swim their next meet at Campbell University, this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Buies Creek.
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