Quartet of GHS swimmers advance to state meet
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
BOWLING GREEN — It was a records-smashing performance exactly when they needed it.
Four members of the Galion High School boy’s swim team — senior Connor Kempf, junior Zane Ekin, plus sophomores Sam DeNero and Chad Karnes — combined to break eight … yes, eight … school records in last week’s Division II District Meet held here. Their reward is a trip to the state meet this week in Canton.
The quartet teamed up to place third in the 400 freestyle relay with a GHS-best time of 3:20.44.
They took fourth in the 200 medley relay at 1:40.92 for another school mark.
DeNero was second in the 50 freestyle with a 21.95, besting a GHS record set by Dave Agee 33 years ago.
Kempf finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a record-breaking swim of 55.35.
The relay squads, plus DeNero and Kempf in the above-mentioned individual races, will compete in the state meet with preliminaries beginning Thursday evening in Canton.
Ekin and Karnes each broke two individual school records, although their placing in the district did not qualify them for the state meet.
Ekin now hasGHS standards in the 200 individual medley with a clocking of 2:03.41 (6th in the district), as well as the 100 butterfly at 54.66 (8th).
Karnes recorded a 1:50.55 in the 200 freestyle (8th) and swam a GHS-best 5:03.59 in the 500 freestyle (8th).
“The day was exceptional with the boys’ team qualifying for the state meet and for breaking eight team records in the process,” noted long-time Tigers’ head coach Ted Temple. “Connor Kempf is the graduating senior for the boys. His leadership and swimming will be difficult to replace next season. He has qualified for the state the last two seasons.”
As a team, the Tigers finished fifth in the district with 145 points.
The Lady Tigers had five swimmers in the district meet. They finished 33rd with 7 points.
Top performers were: Caroline Shifley, 12th in the 200 individual medley (2:26.12 personal record ) and 17th in the 100 butterfly (1:05.46 personal record); plus Shifley, Kennedy Gregg, Becca Rigdon and Kristen Benedict in the 200 medley relay with a 16th-place time of 2:02.06.
The 400 freestyle relay quartet of Shifley, Rigdon, Samantha Altstadt and Benedict was 17th at 4:06.03.
“The girls finished strong for the season,” Temple stated. “Three of the girls had personal best times at the meet. The medley relay also posted a season best time. Losing Kristen Benedict and Becca Rigdon to graduation will be a huge loss for this team in both leadership and swimming.”
GHS isn’t the only school in the Galion area to be sending swimmers to Canton.
Kaleb Johnson of Crestline was second at the district in the boys’ 100 breaststroke (1:00.11).
Colonel Crawford’s 200 freestyle relay team of Trey Crase, Clay Fogle, Ian Kochheiser and Logan Pfeifer took first in the district with a school record 1:28.21.
Those same four were second in the 400 freestyle relay at 3:16.79.
Fogle, Kochheiser, Pfeifer and Nic Roe were third in the 200 medley relay with a 1:40.52.
In addition, Pfeifer was second in the 100 freestyle at 47.95; and Fogle swam a 22.30 for fourth place in the 50 freestyle.
As a team, the Eagles placed second, 49 points behind champion Sandusky Perkins.