For the first time in Cannon swim coach Jennifer Brunelli’s three-year tenure, she has her girls’ team on the verge of its first CISAA title.Despite only having one senior, Hannah Hartman, and not having her whole team together for most of year, because of injuries and even the flu, the Cougar girls are looking to make a mark at the CISAA conference meet on Feb. 7.“We came into this year with a whole new look to our team,” said Brunelli, who returned only seven of last year’s 29 swimmers on the boys’ and girls’ teams. “But we have come together and performed well. While the regular season is important, our focus all year has been on being at our best for the conference meet and then states.”The Cannon girls, whose only loss came to Providence Day when they were missing two of their best swimmers, enter the CISAA meet in an unfamiliar place, as one of the favorites to win the league title.Their chances all begin with junior Maija Roses, who is not only a two-time defending conference and state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke, but also competed in the U.S. Olympic swim trials last summer (in three different events: 100 and 200 breaststrokes and 200 IM).While Roses is a huge key for the Cougars’ success, Cannon has been without her at full strength for most of the year as she has been recovering from hip surgery. The Huntersville resident, who has swam mostly in relays for Cannon this season, expects to be a full strength for the conference and state meets.“Maija has really been tough for us this year, swimming through some pain,” said Brunelli, noting that Roses is already getting interest from schools like Stanford and California-Berkley among others. “We obviously want to be smart with her coming off the injury, but I think she has a great chance to win again.”Cannon has plenty more firepower to help carry the load. Freshmen Diana Dale (100 backstroke) and Bella Jacoby (50 and 100 freestyle) as well as sophomore Darby West (200 Free, 200 IM and 100 butterfly) have stepped up all year.Dale, Jacoby, Roses and West will also be expected to team up in two of the three relay events (200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay), which are a big key to winning any big meet. Brunelli said that her other 16 girls will also be critical to the team’s success.“Our depth this year has made a huge difference and we need everybody to step up if we are going finish strong,” Brunelli said. “This is the best we’ve felt going into conference championships. I think everybody is really excited about our chances to compete for a championship.”The Cannon boys also hope to be a factor at the CISAA meet. With only nine swimmers on the team, they will likely have to shoot for individual titles instead a team championship.Sophomore Harrison Barone has the best shot of winning in either the 50 or 100 freestyle. The spriter is another strong SwimMAC Carolina year-round swimmer, like Roses, for the Cougars.Junior John Dockery is a versatile swimmer that could be a factor in several events, including the 500 freestyle.Both Cannon teams also are looking to peak at the NCISAA 3A state meet at Greensboro Aquatic Center on Feb. 18.“I feel like we are as healthy as we have been all year,” Brunelli said. “We feel like we can do some things that we have never done before.”This story went to print before Cannon’s meet against Charlotte Christian and Providence Day on Feb. 1.
Monday, Feb. 04, 2013
Cannon’s girls look to make late-season splash
Despite an injury, Maija Roses should be healthy to lead Cannon at the CISAA meet and beyond. COURTESY OF KATIE RUST
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Email him at email@example.com.
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