Leader Blues

Thursday, July 20, 2006

SPORTS>> Sherwood wins third CASL title

By RAY BENTON
Leader Sports Editor

The Sherwood Sharks clinched their third consecutive Central Arkansas Swim League championship last weekend, beating Otter Creek to complete their third- straight undefeated season.

The Sharks now begin preparation for the Meet of Champions, which will be held this Saturday at the Donaghey Center on the campus at UALR.

Sherwood has compiled the most team points in the MOC the last two years as well, and will be the heavy favorites heading into Saturday.

The Sharks have potential winners in almost every event of every division, especially in the 10-under girls division. Sherwood has the top three times in the league in the 10-under girls freestyle, backstroke and individual medley races, and two of the top four in the breaststroke in butterfly.

Jessie Garrison has the league’s fastest time in three events, while teammates Connor McNulty, Nikki Sanders and Sheridan Arnold aren’t far behind. Arnold has the fastest time so far this year in the breaststroke.

Garrison, in just her second year of competitive swimming, holds the Sherwood team’s records in four events, and is swimming faster than the league records in three of the four events this year.

Delaney Haralson is no worse than third in any of her events in the girls 8-under division, and is ranked number one in the freestyle and individual medley.

Mary Kate McNulty and JoAnn Rutherford are in the hunt for MOC titles at the 14-under division. The duo is second and third in three events, and McNulty is ranked No. 1 in the breaststroke and individual medley.

Alex Athetis is less than a second off No. 1 in two events in the 16-under division, while Kelsey Lancaster is just behind her in the IM and backstroke.

In the 10-under boys division, Christopher Heye is ranked No. 1 in every category except butterfly, where he trails Bryant’s Josh Terrell by just .92 seconds. Teammates Jonathan Jones, Jimmy Esola and Austin Shaw could medal in several events as well.

Thomas Heye is ranked in the top four in every category in the 8-under, and teammate Jayson Simmons is in the top four in four of the five events.

Caleb Sanders is currently ranked No. 1 in the boys 6-under backstroke, second in the freestyle and butterfly, and third in the breastroke and IM. Ian Heye is ranked No. 1 in the breaststroke.

Devin Scott is ranked either third or fourth and is in the medal hunt in every event in the boys 14-under division. Jeremy Jones is ranked fourth in two events.

Micah and James Rutherford, and Nathaniel Jones, are in the medal hunt in all of the boys 16-under events.

Lakewood’s Preston Strobel is No. 1 in every event, and at least two seconds faster than everyone else in all but one division. Micah Rutherford gives Sherwood its best hope for a gold. He is only 1.4 seconds behind Strobel in the freestyle.

Many other medal winners are likely. All of the above-mentioned names are in the overall rankings and will swim in the gold level races.

Dozens of others could win medals and earn team points in the silver and bronze divisions.