NEWPORT NEWS—For the Second straight year, the Greensprings Gators are victors of the VPSU Championship Meet, the area's summer swim all-star event.
With a forecast that had officials keeping one eye on the pool and one eye on the radar for potential thunderstorms, the Gators used a balanced and deeply talented roster to overcome a mid-session lead posted by the Kingswood Klams.
The Gators' standout performance came from their 8-year-old phenom, Kallyn Buirski, who claimed three first-place finishes in the afternoon session. Also pivotal were multi medal winners Kailey Carvajal, Shea Buirski, Jason Covaney, Britney Denny and Leo Kantor.
Kingswood led at the end of the 11 years and up morning session behind an extensive collection of strong performances, most notably by the Long siblings - Sam and Sofia, as well as Lazuli and Indigo Cristol, McKinzie Turner, Jalen Guillory, and seniors Michael Holder and Brett Huckstep. Kingswood also got a big victory from its Girls Medley Relay team.
Third and fourth place honors were nailed down by the Kingsmill Sharks and Queens Lake Eagles, respectively. Kingsmill's sheer numbers provided a flurry of points, but top points in the 9-10 Girls category by Madeline Hanlon, and triple winner Carter Burrows in the same age group on the boy's side, were pivotal.
Scott House, 14, and the Rouzie family of Blake, Molly and Bryce accounted for a substantial amount of the Sharks' remaining points. Queens Lake would sport two top point scorers with Lafayette High's Jessie Beattie and 6-year-old Roman Vander Kooi. Chris Homer, Evan Lynch, Charlie Scogna and Elijah Fields all captured multiple medals for the Eagles.
Fifth place turned out to be a surprise, as Division 2 Coventry leap-frogged two Division 1 squads, including Windsor Forest by half of one point. Truly a team effort by a very deep team with talent throughout the roster, the Sailfish were led by brother and sister combo Isabella and Nathan Kimbel, Joey Salomon, Kyleigh Tankard and Kailin Griffith.
Coventry's lone bid for a Triple Winner, Jonathan Spires, was spoiled by Junior Nationals swimmer and Windsor Forest Frog Carter Kale. The Frogs' Caleb Aman was also a triple winner, with Matthew Sawyers, 8, chipping in a tie for high points in 7-8 Boys. Rounding out the Frogs strong medal performances were Kelly Schisa, Jacob Sprigg and Lindsay Hanks to coral an overall 6th place finish.
The Stonehouse Splash started slow in tenth place after the morning session with 13-year-old Morgan Whaley the sole multi-medal winner, but stormed back to place seventh behind the substantial strength of it 10-Under swimmers. Both Kylee McGuirk, a double winner, and Kaitlyn Sullivan, were top points scorers in the 6-under and 9-10 age groups. Julia McGuirk was close behind Sullivan, while Timmy Brown and Carly Damon, both 6-under swimmers, won multiple medals in addition to 10-year-old breaststroke winner Ryan Allison.
Although missing several key swimmers, First Colony's brother/sister combo of Joelle and Jacob Vereb were top points honorees, with Joelle breaking the only VPSU record on the day in the 13-14 50 butterfly. The team had key contributions from Abby Larson, with a first place breaststroke finish. The Flyers were followed closely by Ford's Colony and Triple winner Colby Hurt. Spirited finishes by Linnea Patterson and Conor Flannery kept the Killer Whales in the hunt.
Division 3 champ Wellington made a big leap to 10th this year, led by 6-under 25 Free winner Logan Timberg, newcomer Benjamin Youngs, Daryn Olsen and Zach Wallace.
Rounding out the bottom half of the field, Jack Graham of Two Rivers was a top points honoree, backed up by Margaret and Matthew Williams. The Manta Rays of Williamsburg Community Pool's young collection of talent placed them well, specifically Braden Lee and Rachel Parker.
Powhatan Secondary was missing a few major contributors, but Angelique Vo and Colin Wright both appeared on the medal podium for the Seastars, as did Kaylin Loch and Derrick Stewart for Windsor Great Park.
Indigo Park's Ben VanTasel and Nick Zhang, Kingspoint backstroke medal winner Conor Sokolowsky, Edgehill's young surprise Casey Tingen, and sisters Rachel and Carissa Chalsma of Village Green were all major contributors to their teams. Even first-year league addition the Kraken from Villages of Westminster managed to get Ian Wallace, 6, to the medal podium.
See team scores on page B2.