Comets bring home another state title in dramatic fashion

Jake Sapp | Staff Writer

Another one.

On February 22, the Mason Girls Swimming Team brought home the state title for the second straight year. Albeit some hardship during the meet, the team ultimately pulled through, capping off the season successfully.

Kiara Anchrum, Reese Lugbil, Tiana Anchrum, and Ashley Lugbil pose with their trophy.

Coach Mark Sullivan said that he is incredibly excited for his team’s success, despite the smaller team they had going into States.

“I think our season was beyond successful,” Sullivan said. “Winning the title two years in a row isn’t an easy thing to do, especially after we lost so many swimmers after last year’s victory.”

Senior Meredith Wolf has qualified for the State Championships both years and sees the accomplishment as something incredibly special for both her and her team.

The girls celebrate their victory and pose for photos.

“Knowing that we were able to achieve something like this two times in a row is overwhelming,” Wolf said. “I don’t think there are many people that can say that they won the state championships twice during their high school career, let alone once.”

Senior Leanna Wall is another returning member of the state championship lineup and believes that their training throughout the season helped them to bring back the title.

“We trained exceptionally had throughout the year,” Wall said. “I don’t think any of us could say that we didn’t at least get better this year in some regard, and in general we just became closer as a team.”

On their way to Canton, Ohio, Wall said that the team was dead set on the victory, having grown reliant on one another throughout the course of the season.

“Going into state, we just had a really positive attitude,” Wall said. “Throughout the season we built up trust in one another in practice and with some other team building activities that we did. We all had faith in one another to do our best.”

However, the team ran into a roadblock during the meet, which Sullivan said hindered their score to a significant degree.

“As some people may already know, one of our relays got disqualified about halfway through the meet,” Sullivan said. “If we hadn’t been disqualified, we would have won by a significant margin, but despite that, the girls were still able to buckle down to keep us in the lead.”

Senior Harna Minezawa believes that the disqualification was not necessarily a bad thing and that it ended up reigniting the team’s desire to compete.

“Once we saw the disqualification, I really think it brought us together as a team,” Minezawa said. “It certainly threw us off a bit, but it ultimately made us try even harder to win.”

Now that the season is over, many seniors will be hanging up their towels and saying goodbye to the MHS Swimming program.  Sullivan feels as though next year the team will have to work double-time in order to make up for their lost teammates.

“Next year is going to be difficult since we will be losing so many of our seniors,” Sullivan said. “A lot of the people who will be graduating this year are key members for our team, so we are going to have to seriously pick up some slack going into next winter.”

Being one of the seniors, Wolf feels both proud and upset about the fact that her swimming career is coming to an end after such a successful season.

“I’m really going to miss being a part of this team,” Wolf said. “I’m not going to be swimming competitively in college, so knowing that my career is ending on such a high note is both amazing and saddening at the same time.”

After coaching these seniors for so many years, Sullivan is saddened to see them go but still hopes to keep bringing back state titles for years to come.

“I’m really proud of this group,” Sullivan said. “They did something great this year, and not having them around next season will be hard. But either way, we’re still going to try and keep the momentum going into more seasons down the line.”

Coaches Mark Sullivan, Mark Davis, and Mike Tomes celebrate with the girls.

Photos contributed by the Mason Swim and Dive Board.