B-UHS swimmers open season with high expectations

Cadence Vincent

TENNERTON — Both of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School swim teams look to be two of the top teams in the state again this year. The two squads, led by B-UHS swim coach Michael Roessing, feature a talented group of returning upperclassmen, highlighted by Preston Bennett and Cadence Vincent, two of the most highly decorated swimmers in school history. 

Expectations in Tennerton are high and for good cause, as there are plenty of reasons to be excited for this upcoming year—namely that both teams return a wealth of talent and experience from last season’s successful run for this season. The swim teams will look to keep their run of dominance rolling heading into the 2021-22 season.

The B-UHS swimmers started their mission to keep their streak of success in recent years up this week as both teams opened their seasons this past Saturday when they traveled to compete in the Autumn Class at the Tri-County YMCA in Scott Depot. The meet was too large to have in one session, so it was broken apart for safety purposes. In the two sessions, the Bucs finished fourth, while the Lady Bucs took first place in the seven-team event. Together, they combined scores to record a third-place finish at the meet.

Bennett led the boys by securing two gold finishes in the 100 Yard Free and the 100 Yard Back, to place second overall. Carter Zuliani placed ninth overall, highlighted by a silver finish in the 50 Yard Free. Reis Leonard (26), Owen Caynor (29), and Jackson Malone (62) rounded out a solid group of overall finishes by the boys’ team in their first official action of the season.

Vincent, who entered the season as a two time Big 10 Conference champion, a state record holder, the reigning conference Swimmer of the Year, and as the defending state champion in the 50 Yard Free last year, started off the season on a high note, as she led the girls by securing two gold finishes in the 100 Yard Back and the 100 Yard Fly on her way to a first-place finish overall. Vincent’s stock continues to rise as she is one of the highest ranked swimming prospects in the nation. 

Cameron Zuliani, a First-Team Big 10 swimmer last year, posted a gold finish in the 100 Yard Free and a silver finish in the 100 Yard Breast in route to a third-place finish overall. Alayna Whitehair, also a returning First-Team All-Conference selection, recorded a gold finish in the 200 Yard IM and a bronze finish in the 100 Yard Breast to place fifth overall. Riley Vincent notched a silver finish in the 50 Yard Free on her way to placing ninth overall. Lillian Fetty (30), Abby Loudin (55), Hailey Lashmit (99), Savannah Lashmit (100), and Cate O’Neill (101) rounded out an outstanding group of overall finishes by the girls’ team to open the year.

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