CARY – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) held the 4A State Swimming & Diving Championships at Triangle Aquatic Center with the Green Hope men and women sweeping the team state championships on an evening that saw two NFHS National High School meet records fall thanks to Cardinal Gibbons sophomore Claire Curzan. The Green Hope women won the program’s first state championship while the men earned their fifth all-time and third straight.
Women’s Championship Recap – Gibbons’ Curzan speeds to two national records while Green Hope women held off a hard challenge from Hough
Cardinal Gibbons sophomore Claire Curzan was the star of the meet, taking home Most Outstanding Swimmer honors in the women’s meet. Curzan powered to set two new National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Meet Records, winning both events for the second year in a row. Curzan captured the 100 Yard Butterfly in a time of 50.35 seconds, smashing the national high school record set just last year of 51.29 by Victoria Huske from Arlington Yorktown High in Fairfax, VA. Then in the 100 Yard Backstroke, Curzan slipped past the national high school record time of 51.43 seconds set by Olivia Smoliga from Glenview Glenbrook South High in 2012 when Curzan reached the wall at 51.38 seconds.
Kiley Wilhelm from Myers Park established a new state meet record in the 200 Yard Individual Medley. Wilhelm touched in 1:56.77, cruising by the previous record of 1:57.93 set by Apex Friendship’s Brooke Zettel in last year’s 4A meet. Hough’s Grace Rainey also set a new state meet record in the 100 Yard Breaststroke during the morning preliminary heats, touching in 1:01.26. Rainey won the championship in the event with a finals time of 1:01.31.
Green Hope managed to win the women’s program’s first team state championship on the strength of their depth and a relay win in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Elizabeth Baric, Anna Long, Katherine Carson, and Maria Baric teamed up to post a time of 1:34.30 in the event, outracing the Myers Park quartet by more than a full second. Maria Baric was the only individual event winner for Green Hope, capturing the 50 Freestyle in 22.89 seconds.
Hough finished a close second behind Green Hope as the Huskies took two of the three relay events. Huskies relays ripped through the 200 Medley Relay in 1:42.58 as Amaya Hanley, Rainey, Elizabeth Sowards, and Martha Tripsa powered to victory. Then in the 400 Freestyle Relay, Sowards, Hanley, Rainey and teammate Kensley Merritt hit the wall in 3:23.65 to take the championship. Merritt also captured an individual title in the 200 Freestyle, swimming to a time of 1:47.34.
Men’s Championship Recap – Moore anchors Green Hope to a third straight team title
The Green Hope men captured the squad’s fifth team State Championship and third consecutive title, racking up eight individual event titles including all three of the meet’s relays. The Falcons were anchored by Michael Moore who won the 200 Individual Medley in a time of 1:47.83, eclipsing the 4A meet record of 1:48.26 set by Matt Houser from J.H. Rose in 2009. Moore also took home gold in the 100 Backstroke, winning the championship heat in 49.22 seconds. He was named the men’s meet Most Outstanding Swimmer.
Falcons relay teams were dominant as well with the 200 Medley Relay team of colin Cotter, Michael Cotter, Jesse Ssengonzi and John Satterfield opening the meet by setting a new state meet record of 1:32.24, besting the 2019 time of 1:32.35 set by Athens Drive. Green Hope’s 200 Freestyle Relay team of Ben Prucha, Jackson Pollard, Moore, and Michael Cotter ripped to victory in 1:24.83. The Falcons closed the meet in a similar fashion to how they opened, as Ssengonzi, Moore, Collin Cotter, and Satterfield combined to post 3:06.22 in the 400 Freestyle Relay to win the heat.
Satterfield grabbed an individual event win in the 100 Freestyle for the Falcons, touching in 45.23 seconds. Ssengonzi won the 100 Butterfly in 49.09 seconds. Michael Cotter was the 200 Freestyle champion, winning with a time of 1:38.58 to push the Falcons out to a quick advantage.
North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Sportsmanship Awards
The NCHSAA and North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Company are committed to recognizing and promoting outstanding sportsmanship. We award two Sportsmanship Awards at each State Championship Event to deserving members of championship teams, as selected by their coaches. The 2020 4A Women’s Swimming & Diving Sportsmanship Award winners are Maria Baric from Green Hope and Martha Tripsa from Hough. The 2020 4A Men’s Swimming & Diving Sportsmanship Award winners are Jesse Ssengonzi from Green Hope and Reid Mikuta from Page.