Cochran and Morgan lead Concord boys’ swim team to record year
Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014

Cochran and Morgan lead Concord boys’ swim team to record year

    Concord coach Ray Morgan is the Cabarrus News Swim Coach of the Year after leading the Spiders to a fourth-place finish at the state meet.
    Led by Justus Cochran, left, and coach Ray Morgan, the Concord swim team won the 3A Central Regional meet and finished fourth at states, tying the best finish in program history.
    Concord senior swimmer Justus Cochran is the Cabarrus News Swimmer of the Year. He won the 100-yard freestyle at the 3A state meet.
  • All-Cabarrus News boys’ swimming

    200-yard medley relay: Cannon School (Harrison Barone, junior; Austin Coale, freshman; John Dockery, senior; and Matthew Randolph, senior) – placed sixth in states with time of 1:46.04.

    200-yard freestyle: Sam Jones, Concord, Soph. – finished seventh in this event at state meet and second in 100-freestyle.

    200-yard individual medley: Quinn Montgomerie, Hickory Ridge, Sr. – seventh at state meet and second at Central regional.

    50-yard freestyle: Tucker Wall, Concord, Jr. – state champ in this event and in 200-freestyle relay. Swam all-American time of 21.05.

    100-yard butterfly: Tyler Gomez, Robinson, Sr. – state champ also finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley.

    100-yard freestyle: Justus Cochran, Concord, Sr. – state champ in this event and 200-freestyle relay. Runner-up in 200-yard free and 400-free relay.

    500-yard freestyle: Jason White, Central Cabarrus, Fr. – SPC champion finished 12th at states; only freshman to make list.

    200-yard freestyle relay: Concord (Tucker Wall, junior, Wade Bestler, junior, Sam Jones, junior, and Justus Cochran, senior) – won state championship and Central regional.

    100-yard backstroke: Harrison Barone, Cannon School, Jr. – eighth at the state meet with a time of 59.23.

    100-yard breaststroke: Danny Dilks, Mount Pleasant, Soph. – sixth at the state meet with time of 1:03.22; fifth at West regional.

    400-yard freestyle relay: Concord (Tucker Wall, junior, Evan Johnson, junior, Sam Jones, sophomore, and Justus Cochran, senior) – second place at states, less than a second behind the winner.

With swimmers winning titles in four different events in two separate state championship meets and picking up three additional second-place finishes, 2013-14 might be the most successful season ever in Cabarrus County boys’ high school swimming.

Concord High athletes made most of those achievements, winning three state titles and finishing second in three other events. After winning the 3A Central Regional meet, the Spiders placed fourth at the state meet, tying their best finish in program history.

Senior Justus Cochran won the 100-yard freestyle at the 3A state meet and was a member of Concord’s 200-yard freestyle relay team that also captured gold. His teammates were juniors Tucker Wall and Wade Bestler and sophomore Sam Jones.

Wall won his own state title in the 50-yard freestyle. While most state-champion swimmers compete and train year-round, Wall concentrates on swimming primarily during the high school season.

At the 4A meet, Robinson’s Tyler Gomez won the 100-yard butterfly and finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley.

Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Justus Cochran, Concord High. In addition to his first-place finishes, Cochran finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and as a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay.

His performance in his first individual event at the state meet motivated him in his second. “Finishing in second place in the 200 free was a disappointment,” said Cochran. “I just knew I had to get it done. With the 100, you just have to sprint and not look back.”

In the 100 freestyle, Cochran beat the second-place finisher Concord teammate Sam Jones by .68 seconds. Cochran approached the 50-yard mark in second place, but on his breakout from the turn he had assumed the lead.

Cochran placed second in the 100 freestyle and sixth in the 50 freestyle at the 2013 state meet.

At the 3A Central regional meet, Cochran won the 100 freestyle and the 200 freestyle and was a member of the champion 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. He also won two regional championships in 2013.

A four-time all-conference swimmer, Cochran was the South Piedmont 3A Male Swimmer of the Year this season. He plans to attend either Wake Forest or South Carolina but does not intend to swim competitively.

Boys’ Swim Coach of the Year: Ray Morgan, Concord High – Morgan said this year’s team exceeded his expectations.

“Our goal was to win the conference,” said Morgan. “Our goal was to take as many (swimmers) as we can to regionals. With as many swimmers coming back that we had, my goal was to win regionals.”

But winning state championships in three events is the most Concord High has had in a season. The team’s fourth-place finish matched its feat of 2008.

“This year’s team was the deepest team I’ve ever had,” said Morgan, who just completed his 14th season.

Of 19 swimmers, six were seniors and only one was a freshman. While Cochran, Jones and Wall were savvy veterans, the fourth members of their relays were not.

Bestler, who swam on the state-champion 200-yard freestyle team, and junior Evan Johnson, a leg on the second place 400-yard freestyle team, competed in regional and state meets for the first time this year.

The four members of the 200 freestyle relay team swam as a unit only three times the entire season.

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at

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