MORGANTOWN – The foursome of Preston Bennett, Owen Caynor, Sam Squires and Reis Leonard swam the first event of the day for the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers at the 2021 West Virginia State High School Championships at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park in the 200-yard medley relay.
The team, ranked ninth, took fifth with a time or 1:51.79, setting the tone of the rest of the championship meet for the Bucs.
“I did not expect the start that we had,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Will Squires. “We were ranked ninth going in and I thought that we could reasonably move up a couple of spots if everything went perfect. They shattered all expectations and placed fifth overall, dropping over four seconds collectively (which in swimming is a huge deal). That truly set the tone for the rest of meet for the boys. As soon as the boys finished their medley relay, I knew that their day was only going to get better. I saw how pumped they all were following the race and could feel their energy building. They carried that throughout the whole day and swam some of the best races I've had the privileged of coaching.”
Bennett followed with his individual events and broke school records in both the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle.
The sophomore took second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:54.22 and third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.37, dropping six seconds of his seed time.
Bennett was the lone sophomore to earn All-State honors.
“All-state is given to the six best individual swimmers,” noted Squires. “With help from his relay teams, which serve as a tie-breaker, he outscored a couple of other swimmers to be selected to the team.”
Sam Squires recorded a pair of top-five finishes as he took fifth in the 50-yard freestyle (22.55) and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.99).
In the 100-yard breaststroke, Squires set a school record and moved up five spots as he was seeded 11th going into the event.
Leonard took 23rd in the 50-yard freestyle (25.51) and 23rd in the 100-yard freestyle (58.24).
The 200-yard freestyle team of Caynor, Leonard, Squires and Bennett took fifth with a time of 1:36.14.
“Leonard and Caynor helped immensely on these relays to secure valuable points,” noted Squires.
The four-man team of the Bucs finished sixth with 85 points.
“The four-man squad managed to hold off some of the best teams in the state to place sixth out of nearly 30 teams,” noted Squires.
George Washington won the team title with 202 points while Bridgeport was second with 165 and Robert C. Byrd was third with 105.
“I can't say enough about how they approached these last three weeks of training, and I could tell their goals they set for themselves were just waiting to be crushed,” concluded Squires. “Between Reis and Owen emptying the tank in their relays to Preston and Sammy pulling off lifetime best performances in their individuals, the boys came in with an unshakeable attitude and made the most of each swim.”
1. George Washington 202; 2. Bridgeport 165; 3. Robert C. Byrd 105; 4. Jefferson 99; 5. Wheeling Park 87; 6. Buckhannon-Upshur 85; 7. Parkersburg 76; 8. Parkersburg South 56 9. (tie) Hurricane and Morgantown 47; 11. University 46; 12. (tie) Spring Mills and Huntington 43; 14. Brooke 37; 15. Cabell Midland 31; 16. Winfield 29; 17. Charleston Catholic 23; 18. Washington 19. Capital 19; 20. Elkins 8; Notre Dame 7; 22. John Marshall 6; 23. Fairmont Senior 5; 24. (tie) Sissonville and Grafton 4; 26. Hedgesville 3; 27 (tie) Buffalo and Weir 2; 29. Wheeling Central 1.
50-yard freestyle – Sam Squires (5th) 22.55; Reis Leonard (23rd) 25.51.
100-yard breaststroke – Sam Squires (5th) 1:02.99.
100-yard freestyle – Reis Leonard (23rd) 58.24.
200-yard freestyle – Preston Bennett (3rd) 1:46.37.
500-yard freestyle – Preston Bennett (2nd) 4:54.22.
200-yard freestyle relay – Owen Caynor, Reis Leonard, Sam Squires, Preston Bennett (5th) 1:36.14.
200-yard medley relay – Preston Bennet, Owen Caynor, Sam Squires, Reis Leonard (5th) 1:51.79.