B-U to send large contingent to state meet

Girls will be led by veteran group at Thursday and Friday’s event

TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur girls will send an experienced group to the state meet, while several Buccaneer boys are making their first appearance.

Qualifying action gets underway Thursday morning at the WVU Natatorium for the girls, while the boys will take to the pool in the afternoon. The finals are set for Friday, starting with the girls at 8:30 a.m. and the boys at 4:30 p.m.

A total of 11 B-U swimmers — seven girls and four boys — will compete in Morgantown.

The Lady Bucs, who placed second in the regional meet, are led by senior veterans Brooke Newcome, Kailyn Bosley and Ivy Ward.

Newcome and Bosley are appearing in their fourth state meet and were members of a state champion 200 freestyle relay team as freshmen.

Ward, meanwhile, is a three-time state qualifier, and is entered in the 100 backstroke after earning an at-large berth.

“All three of those girls have been with the program for four years,” said third-year coach Brandon Williams. “They have an abundance of state-meet experience and I’m anxious to see how they perform this year.”

Newcome won the regional crown in both the 100 backstroke (1:06.46) and 200 IM (2:26.45).

Bosley crossed the line first in the 200 freestyle (2:15.33) and was third in the 500 freestyle (6:15.61).

Junior Madi Shepherd and sophomores Jenny Williams and Merrody Malone also qualified in multiple events.

Shepherd was the regional runner-up in both the 100 freestyle (56.04) and 100 backstroke (1:08.47), while Williams placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.32) and earned an at-large berth in the 200 IM(2:33.11).

Malone earned at-large berths in the 100 butterfly (1:10.35) and 200 IM (2:40.59).

Shepherd and Williams are headed to states for the second time in their careers.

Sophomore Emma Reger, meanwhile, qualified in the 200 freestyle, placing third at regionals with a time of 2:26.87.

In the relay events, Newcome, Ward, Bosley and Shepherd will team up in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle.

The foursome captured the regional crown in the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:04.18 and were runner-ups in the 200 medley (2:03.96).

For the Buccaneer boys, freshman Sam Squires and sophomore Florian Cramer will compete in individual events.

Squires qualified in the 50 freestyle by earning an at-large berth with a regional time of 24.86.

Cramer also earned an at-large berth, posting a regional time of 6:05.30 in the 500 freestyle.

Squires and Cramer, junior Drew Griffith and sophomore Will Sparks are qualified in the 200 medley relay, earning an at-large berth  with a time of 1:56.78 at regionals.

Sophomore Dane Ammons will serve as the boys’ alternate.

Williams was pleased with how well his squads performed at last Saturday’s regional meet held at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

“We knew the meet would be a challenge,” he said. “Harrison County had a few teams with a lot of depth. But I think we held our own and had several swimmers have significant drop in their times.

“This is the biggest group I’ve taken [to states] and I’m really looking forward to seeing how all of them perform. We will absolutely be bringing our ‘A’ game.”

Seth Blake serves as Williams’ assistant coach.

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