Northwest Ohio will be well-represented at the state swimming and diving championships taking place today through Saturday in Canton.
St. Francis de Sales' Colin Murtagh and St. John's Jesuit's Jake Epperson head the contingent of area hopefuls in pursuit of state-championship glory.
Dave Stannert, who serves as coach for swimmers from several area schools, will watch four of his pupils compete.
Maumee's Kendall Karchner qualified for state for the fourth year in a row, winning Division II district titles in the 100-yard backstroke and 200 freestyle. Karchner's time of 58.89 in the 100 back ranks second among the state qualifiers. Her 1:56.82 in the 200 free ranks among the top eight.
"She's seeded well going into state and she's got something to prove," Stannert said. "Hopefully, she'll finish in the top eight for both events."
Stannert will also pay close attention to how Whitmer senior Austin Kosier, Clay sophomore Alison Zsigray and Bowling Green freshman Jamie Akenberger handle swimming at the state meet for the first time.
Kosier qualified for the 200 individual medley with a time of
2:00.89. Zsigray will also compete in the 200 IM (2:12.57). Akenberger qualified in the 100 back (59.52).
"I was extremely pleased with how they swam [at district] over the weekend," Stannert said of his four state qualifiers. "They've all been to at least 95 percent of our practices this season and have really worked hard.
"For Jamie and Alison this is a chance for them to gain experience. For Austin, it's a great way to cap off his swimming career."
Murtagh, a senior, is a favorite in both the 50 and 100 free. He swept those events at district to lead the Knights to their 41st consecutive title last Friday. Murtagh's winning district time of 21.11 in the 50 is tied for No. 1 among state qualifiers and his 46.46 in the 100 is second-best.
Epperson, a sophomore, paced the Titans to a runner-up showing at district by streaking to victories in the 100 breaststroke (57.41) and 200 individual medley (1:54.54). He ranks No. 1 among qualifiers in the 100 breast and sixth in the 200 IM.
Napoleon senior Nick Saul is also a favorite to contend for a state title. Saul won the 200 free (1:41.09) at district and has the third-best qualifying time in the event. He'll also swim the 500 free.
St. Francis' Scott Friderichs reached state with the third-best time in the 500 free (4:37.32) with his district victory.
Lake divers Brittany TenEyck and Krista Sanders are expected to do well in Division II.
Fremont Ross sophomore Jacque Fate ranks third in the 50 free among Division II qualifiers. She also qualified in the 100 free.
Findlay sophomore Annie Donovan qualified in the 50 and 100 free, and Napoleon's Chelsea Meyer will compete in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM.
Cincinnati St. Xavier and Columbus St. Charles are expected to battle for the boys team title. Upper Arlington, Cincinnati Ursuline and Centerville are the favorites in girls Division I. Gates Mills Hawken is the strong favorite in girls Division II.
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