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All-Observer Swimming

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More awards for Charlotte Catholic

By Jay Edwards
Correspondent

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    All-Observer Girls’ Swimming Teams

    FIRST TEAM

    50 Freestyle: Nora McCullagh, Charlotte Catholic, Jr.: 4A champion did in state-record fashion with a 22.88.

    100 Freestyle: Emily Allen, Hough, Jr.: Another state record-breaking performance on way to a 4A title in 49.68.

    200 Freestyle: Jessica Merritt, Hough, So.: Yet another state-record time as Hueskis sophomore wins 4A crown in 1:47.37.

    500 Freestyle: Rebecca Postoll, Charlotte Catholic, Jr.: Another Cougars standout emerged as Postoll was 4A state runner-up in 4:51.84.

    200 Individual Medley: Nicole Emery, Charlotte Catholic, Sr.: Notre Dame signee added another individual title in 2:01.42.

    100 Backstroke: Nora McCullagh, Charlotte Catholic, Jr.: Another state title, another state record (all class) with a 53.95.

    100 Breaststroke: Jessica Merritt, Hough, So.: Huskies standout pulls off the double with a state championship here, too, in 1:03.44.

    100 Butterfly: Alyssa Marsh, Pine Lake Prep, So.: Set an all-class state record with a 53.72 in route 1A/2A title, also won the 100 backstroke in 1A/2A record fashion.

    Diving: Mary Ellen Turgonski, South Point, Sr.: Duke signee won second straight 3A diving title, racking up 447.30 points.

    200 Medley Relay: Hough (Heather Merritt, Jessica Merritt, Margaret Higgs, Emily Allen): Huskies’ quartet swam to a state record 1:43.41 en route to a 4A title.

    200 Freestyle Relay: Charlotte Catholic (Rebecca Postoll, Maria Sheridan, Lauren Rhodes, Nora McCullagh): Another state champion in state-record fashion for this Cougars’ relay, finishing in 1:33.22.

    400 Freestyle Relay: Charlotte Catholic (Nora McCullagh, Elsa Welshofer, Rebecca Postoll, Lauren Rhodes): Catholic capped its 13th straight state title with another state record, finishing in 3:22.15.

    SECOND TEAM

    50 Freestyle: Emily Allen, Hough, Jr.

    100 Freestyle: Lauren Rhodes, Charlotte Catholic, Sr.

    200 Freestyle: Christina Lappin, Lincoln Charter, So., and Lauren Greenberg, Marvin Ridge, Sr.

    500 Freestyle: Emmaline Peterson, Hickory, Fr.

    200 Individual Medley: Sara Stranick, Charlotte Catholic, Jr.

    100 Backstroke: Alyssa Marsh, Pine Lake Prep, Jr.

    100 Breaststroke: Sara Stranick, Charlotte Catholic, Jr., and Maija Roses, Cannon, Sr.

    100 Butterfly: Heather Merritt, Hough, Sr., and Elsa Welshofer, Charlotte Catholic, Sr.

    Diving: Nikki Canale, Marvin Ridge, Fr., and Jennifer Giacalone, Hough, Fr.

    200 Medley Relay: Charlotte Catholic (Nicole Emery, Sara Stranick, Elsa Welshofer, Maria Sheridan).

    200 Freestyle Relay: Fort Mill (Michelle Case, Tori Herron, Madison Coughlen, Madison Little) and Marvin Ridge (Lexie White, Ashley Baum, Caroline Hauder, Lauren Greenberg).

    400 Freestyle Relay: Hough (Emily Allen, Heather Merritt, Rachel Bright, Jessica Merritt).

    All-Observer Girls’ Swimmer of the Year: Nora McCullagh, Charlotte Catholic

    All-Observer Girls’ Coach of the Year: Brian Gross, Charlotte Catholic

    All-Observer Regional Girls’ Swimmer of the Year: Alyssa Marsh, Pine Lake Prep

    All-Observer Regional Girls’ Coach of the Year: Melissa King-Pierce, Marvin Ridge

    All- Mecklenburg County Girls’ Swimmer of the Year: Nora McCullagh, Charlotte Catholic

    All-Observer Mecklenburg County Girls’ Coach of the Year: Brian Gross, Charlotte Catholic

    All-Observer Boys’ Swimming Teams

    FIRST TEAM

    50 Freestyle: Tucker Wall, Concord, Jr.: 3A state champion raced to a 21.05.

    100 Freestyle: Zach Piedt, Fort Mill, Jr.: S.C. 4A champ in 46.42.

    200 Freestyle: Jacob Kohlhoff, Fort Mill, Jr.: Another Yellow Jackets state champion in a state record 1:41.06.

    500 Freestyle: Trey Poff, Hough, Jr.: 4A state runner-up swam a 4:33.81.

    200 Individual Medley: Riley League, Northwestern, Sr.: Davidson-bound, Trojans standout was S.C. 4A champion (1:52.67).

    100 Backstroke: Nathan Murray, South Mecklenburg, So.: Sabre swam to 4A state runner-up finish (50.63).

    100 Breaststroke: Riley League, Northwestern, Sr.: Trojan double as state champion with 4A state-meet record 57.82.

    100 Butterfly: Tyler Gomez, Jay M. Robinson, Sr.: 4A state champion raced to a (4A) state-meet record 49.85.

    Diving: Charles Mitchell, Hough, Sr.: N.C. State signee just missed a state title, finishing as 4A runner-up by just 0.7 points.

    200 Medley Relay: Ardrey Kell (Grant Murchison, David Chang, Jack Eudy, Connor Long): Knights’ quartet finished fourth at state in 1:37.44.

    200 Freestyle Relay: Ardrey Kell (Spencer Tully, Nick Spina, Jack Eudy, Connor Long): Another strong finish for Knights as this group placed third at 4A state meet (1:27.67).

    400 Freestyle Relay: Hough (Frank Gilligan, Coleman Manchester, Evan Heldman, Trey Poff): Huskies had a nice run finishing their season fifth at state (4A) in 3:12.10.

    SECOND TEAM

    50 Freestyle: Zach Piedt, Fort Mill, Jr., and Connor Long, Ardrey Kell, Jr.

    100 Freestyle: Graham Weaver, South Mecklenburg, So.

    200 Freestyle: Parker Campbell, Shelby, Sr.

    500 Freestyle: Jacob Kohlhoff, Fort Mill, Jr.

    200 Individual Medley: Tyler Gomez, Jay M. Robinson, Sr.

    100 Backstroke: Garrett Simpson, Crest, Sr.

    100 Breaststroke: John Slavens, Clover, Sr.

    100 Butterfly: Connor Long, Ardrey Kell, Jr.

    Diving: Brendan Schaffer, South Mecklenburg, Sr.

    200 Medley Relay: South Mecklenburg (Nathan Murray, Graham Weaver, Graham Cooper, Matthew Cooper).

    200 Freestyle Relay: South Mecklenburg (Matthew Cooper, Luke Johnson, Noah Cahan, Graham Weaver).

    400 Freestyle Relay: Providence (Daniel Li, Nathan Fold, Pierce Bradshaw, Zach Cox).

    All-Observer Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Riley League, Northwestern

    All-Observer Boys’ Coach of the Year: Patty Waldron, Charlotte Latin

    All-Observer Regional Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Riley League, Northwestern

    All-Observer Regional Boys’ Coach of the Year: Melissa King-Pierce, Marvin Ridge

    All-Observer Mecklenburg County Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Connor Long, Ardrey Kell and Trey Poff, Hough

    All-Observer Mecklenburg County Boys’ Coach of the Year: Patty Waldron, Charlotte Latin

    Note: S.C. swimmers compete in the fall but are included in the Observer swimming teams



The Charlotte Catholic girls’ swim team not only won 12 straight state titles in a row, but it also dominated the competition for most of that unprecedented span.

Coming into this season, the question was could the Cougars win No. 13 at the highest level, as they moved up to N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A for the first time.

Coach Brian Gross and the Cougars didn’t miss a beat, beating out two-time defending state champion Hough by 52 points to claim their 13th straight title, and the first at the 4A level.

While Gross, the Observer and Mecklenburg coach of the year, put together another championship lineup, Catholic junior Nora McCullagh, who repeats as Observer and Mecklenburg swimmer of the year, had another state meet for the ages.

McCullagh, a major Division I recruit, was named the state meet’s most outstanding swimmer for the second year in a row, breaking state records in winning the 50 freestyle (22.88 seconds) and the 100 backstroke (53.95). McCullagh also anchored the 200 and 400 freestyle relay state championship teams that also set state records in both events.

Pine Lake Prep sophomore Alyssa Marsh is the Observer regional swimmer of the year after winning state championships in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, earning the 1A/2A state championships’ most outstanding swimmer.

Marsh also had a record-breaking meet, setting the state record (all-class) in the 100 butterfly (53.72), while breaking the 1A/2A mark in the backstroke (54.86).

Marvin Ridge’s Melissa King-Pierce earned the Observer regional coach of the year honor after leading her team to a 3A state championship by 75 points over Chapel Hill.

On the boys’ side, Charlotte Latin’s Patty Waldron takes home Observer and Mecklenburg Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Hawks to their second straight N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 3A championship in a row.

Marvin Ridge’s King-Pierce doubles as Observer Regional Coach of the Year after leading the boys’ team to a third-place state finish and a 3A West Regional title, where the Mavericks were 277 points better than second-place North Lincoln.

Rock Hill Northwestern High’s Riley League is the Observer and Regional Swimmer of the Year after winning AAAA state titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, setting a state record in the latter at 57.82 seconds.

League, a Davidson signee, also is a straight-A student and owns 10 of the 11 school records at Northwestern.

Ardrey Kell junior Connor Long is the Observer Mecklenburg Swimmer of the Year honors.

Long showed his versatility by tying for state runner-up and finishing third at the 4A meet in the 100 butterfly, while also leading the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams to third and fourth-place finishes at the meet.

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