Signal Mountain Wins Another City Swim Meet Title

Dalton Second Behind Record-Breaking Roman Valdez

Saturday, July 15, 2017 - by John Hunt
Ooltewah’s Madelyn Weathers starts the girls 11-12 butterfly final.
Ooltewah’s Madelyn Weathers starts the girls 11-12 butterfly final.
- photo by M.A. Locke

The Dalton Dolphins did everything possible and they had another memorable record-breaking day, but it wasn’t enough to de-throne the Signal Mountain Green Giants as the defending champions of the annual Bill Caulkins City Swim Meet.

This year’s event, held at the Arlene Crye Pool in the friendly confines of Fort Oglethorpe’s Gilbert-Stephenson Park, is the season-ending event for the Chattanooga Area Swim League and it was a tremendous display of athletic ability, incredible stamina, amazing teamwork and a ton of personal bests from individuals on all 13 teams.

Dalton certainly had the most record-breaking performances and the Dolphins had some youngsters who put on impressive performances from the start to the end.

But it was the overall depth of the Green Giants that ultimately sealed the deal for the team that has now won the last two city meet titles and probably has more first-place finishes in this meet than the rest of the league combined.

The Green Giants started the day with 1,204 points and a lead of 276 points over Dalton.  The margin only got wider on Saturday as Signal Mountain finished with 2,461.5 points.

Dalton was second with 1,960.  Ooltewah was third with 1,757 while Stuart Heights and Fairyland rounded out the top five teams with 1,697.5 and 971, respectively.

And just like the case on Friday, only one record was broken by the girls while six were set among the guys and all six involved Dalton.

More specifically, they involved 12-year-old Roman Valdez, who won the 50 fly, 50 free and 50 back on Saturday and all in record-breaking times.  He broke the record in the 50 back twice, improving on his time of 28.42 in the prelims with a 27.32 in the finals.

The Dolphins also broke the 200 free relay mark twice and chances are good that Valdez was on that team as well.

The only mark to be broken by the girls came in the 9-10 200 free relay where Stuart Heights won with a time of 2:06.04, breaking the old standard of 2:06.48 that had been set by the same team in a prior year.

Signal Mountain has more than its share of quality swimmers, but one factor that makes the Green Giants almost unbeatable in a meet like this their depth.  While Dalton had 41 swimmers for the weekend, Signal Mountain had more than three times that number.  The Green Giants had 290 kids on their roster and probably at least half took part in one event or another.

Second-year coach Jake Sosna certainly isn’t complaining.

“That’s another one for the Greenies,” he said with a huge grin shortly after the final freestyle relay race had ended.

“We took it pretty good this weekend and maybe the key was having everyone stick around to wait out the rain delay earlier in the day.  But top to bottom, we just crushed it in the backstroke.  That was really surprising as we weren’t counting on that.

“Our main goal today was to just maintain the lead we built on Friday, but we were able to pull even further ahead.  Winning back-to-back is nice and I’m really happy for these kids and all of our coaches as we’ve busted our tails this summer to enjoy this experience,” Sosna added.

Sosna was a happy fellow, but Dalton counterpart Jason Mezaros was equally as happy and pleased.

“We had a great weekend as we did all we could possibly do.  We had a lot of first-place swims and these kids were fantastic in the morning and again in the evening,” the veteran coach praised.

“Our lack of numbers in the 8 and under age group hurt us and that’s something we need to work to rebuild, but this is one of the best city meets I’ve ever been part of and I couldn’t be any more proud.

“We did all that we possibly could and have nothing to be ashamed of,” he concluded.

Signal Mountain’s Trey Freeman and Dalton’s Valdez were the only two swimmers to score the maximum 100 points that includes first-place finishes in five events.

There were five youngsters who finished with 97, including Ooltewah’s Anna Boyd, Stuart Heights’ Luke Waldrep, Fairyland’s Ellie Taliaferro and Dalton teammates Sophia Wagner and Henry Bethel.

As has always been the case in the past 31 years, perhaps the highlight of the entire weekend is the awarding of the two Jennifer Fugate scholarships and honoring the young men and women who are nominated for this prestigious award.

Fugate was an energetic and talented young lady who died unexpectedly before the city meet back in 1986.  Her parents established a scholarship in her memory the following summer and it’s grown since that time to include two scholarships.

The 2017 recipients include Fairyland’s Anna Ward and Audrey Barkeloo-Carter of Stuart Heights.

Ward graduated from GPS this spring and was a three-time All-American in high school swimming for the Bruisers.  She’s headed to Dixie State University in Southern Utah this fall and is the youngest of six children of Steve and Deseret Ward.

Barkeloo-Carter just graduated from Notre Dame where she was the class valedictorian.  She’s made her mark teaching swimming in recent years and has been an integral part of volunteering for Special Olympic swimming.  The daughter of Jeff and Ronda Carter, she’ll attend UT-Knoxville this fall.

Other nominees for this special award included Adam Foster and Zoe Meyer of Cleveland, Thomas Porter of Signal Mountain, Haley Grider of Ooltewah, Evan Moeller of the Catoosa Great White Sharks and Mya Grace Bevis of Stuart Heights.

Paul Blazek, one of the biggest supporters of the Red Bank Gators team for many, many years, served as the master of ceremonies with the microphone on Saturday.  He’s one more outstanding announcer and does a great job of keeping the crowd informed of who’s swimming in each event.

He also has an outstanding bass voice and was joined by three members of the Choo Choo Barbershop quartet for the national anthem.

FINAL TEAM SCORES: 1. Signal Mountain 2,461.5; 2. Dalton 1,960; 3. Ooltewah 1,757; 4. Stuart Heights 1,697.5; 5. Fairyland 971; 6. Country Club 970.5; 7. Cleveland 899.5; 8. Big Ridge 623; 9. Catoosa 441; 10. Ridgeside 274; 11. Waterdogs 243; 12. Red Bank 214; 13. Cumberland 175.

HIGH-POINT SCORERS:

6-UNDER GIRLS – 1. Sydney Gordon (Signal Mountain) 35; 2. Keilah Holliman (Ooltewah) 33.

6-UNDER BOYS – 1. Elijah Bean (Waterdogs) 51; 2. Wyatt Henry (Signal Mountain) 35.

7-8 GIRLS – 1. Anna Boyd (Ooltewah) 97; 2. Lydia Mizutani (Cumberland) 88.

7-8  BOYS – 1. Noah Holliman (Ooltewah) 90; 2. Wilder Wingfield (Fairyland) 84.

9-10 GIRLS – 1. Sophia Wagner (Dalton) 97; 2. Scout Chapin (Stuart Heights) 91.

9-10 BOYS – 1. Luke Waldrep (Stuart Heights) 97; 2. Franco Valdez (Dalton) 84.

11-12 GIRLS – 1. Maddie Weathers (Ooltewah) 94; 2. Caroline Schenck (Country Club) 85.

11-12 BOYS – 1. Roman Valdez (Dalton) 100; 2. Grayson Officer (Cleveland) 87.

13-14 GIRLS – 1. Ellie Taliaferro (Fairyland) 97; 2. Ellie Waldrep (Stuart Heights) 90.

13-14 BOYS – 1. Henry Bethel (Dalton) 97; 2. Kyle Berry (Country Club) 87.

SENIOR GIRLS – 1. Jewel Gordon (Signal Mountain) 96; 2. Jamee Mitchum (Signal Mountain) and Grayson Payne (Cleveland) tied with 84 each.

SENIOR BOYS – 1. Trey Freeman (Signal Mountain) 100; 2. Jonathan Shaheen (Dalton) 82.

INDIVIDUAL EVENT WINNERS:

6 & UNDER GIRLS

25 FREE – 1. Sydney Gordon (Signal Mountain) 21.90.

25 BACK – 1. Audrey Ruth (Signal Mountain) 27.20.

8 & UNDER GIRLS

25 FLY – 1. Lydia Mizutami (Cumberland) 16.72.

25 FREE – 1. Katie Tudor (Country Club) 16.00.

25 BACK – 1. Anna Boyd (Ooltewah) 19.02.

100 FREE RELAY – 1. Ooltewah 1:12.02.

9-10 GIRLS

50 FLY – 1. Scout Chapin (Stuart Heights) 30.65.

50 FREE – 1. Sophia Wagner (Dalton) 28.56.

50 BACK – 1. Sophia Wagner (Dalton) 34.04.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Stuart Heights 2:06.04 (breaks old mark of 2:06.48).

11-12 GIRLS

50 FLY – 1. Maddie Weathers (Ooltewah) 29.32.

50 FREE – 1. Emma Pulliam (Catoosa) 26.95.

50 BACK – 1. Maddie Weathers (Ooltewah) 31.42.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Signal Mountain 1:57.12.

13-14 GIRLS

50 FLY – 1. Ellie Taliaferro (Fairyland) 26.62.

50 FREE – 1. Ellie Taliaferro (Fairyland) 25.12.

50 BACK – 1. Ellie Waldrep (Stuart Heights) 27.17.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Ooltewah 1:44.54.

SENIOR GIRLS

50 FLY – 1. Jamee Mitchum (Signal Mountain) 26.88.

50 FREE – 1. Jewel Gordon (Signal Mountain) 25.12.

50 BACK – 1. Dallas Woods (Signal Mountain) 27.67.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Signal Mountain 1:43.25.

6 & UNDER BOYS

25 FREE – 1. Elijah Bean (Waterdogs) 20.65.

25 BACK – 1. Elijah Bean (Waterdogs) 26.20.

8 & UNDER BOYS

25 FLY – 1. Noah Holliman (Ooltewah) 18.43.

25 FREE – 1. Wilder Wingfield (Fairyland) 16.75.

25 BACK – 1. Charlie Whittle (Ooltewah) 20.87.

100 FREE RELAY – 1. Fairyland 1:11.33.

9-10 BOYS

50 FLY – 1. Luc Chenard (Dalton) 31.84.

50 FREE – 1. Luke Waldrep (Stuart Heights) 28.70.

50 BACK – 1. Franco Valdez (Dalton) 34.71.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Stuart Heights 2:07.27.

11-12 BOYS

50 FLY – 1. Roman Valdez (Dalton) 25.54 (breaks old mark of 25.99).

50 FREE – 1. Roman Valdez (Dalton) 23.97 (breaks old mark of 24.48).

50 BACK – 1. Roman Valdez (Dalton) 27.32 (breaks own mark of 28:42 set in prelims).

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Dalton 1:45.28 (breaks own mark of 1:46.85 set in prelims).

13-14 BOYS

50 FLY – 1. Kyle Berry (Country Club) 25.46.

50 FREE – 1. Henry Bethel (Dalton) 23.21.

50 BACK – 1. Henry Bethel (Dalton) 26.02.

200 FREE RELAY – 1. Dalton 1:37.85.

SENIOR BOYS

50 FLY – 1. Trey Freeman (Signal Mountain) 23.10.

50 FREE – 1. Trey Freeman (Signal Mountain) 21.44.

50 BACK – 1. Trey Freeman (Signal Mountain) 24.46.

200 FREE RELAY – Dalton 1:30.74.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

 


Covenant Volleyball Recipient Of Team Academic Award By AVCA

The 2016-17 Covenant volleyball team picked up one more team honor as it was recognized as a Team Academic Award recipient from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).  It is the third time in the last four years that Covenant has collected academic honors from the AVCA. The award, celebrating its 25th year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball ... (click for more)

Hurricane Hall Ravages Fort Payne Again For Another UCRA Victory

Local fan favorite racer Kasey Hall of Geraldine, Ala., grabbed another United Crate Racing Alliance (UCRA) victory at his home track Fort Payne Motor Speedway  Saturday  night.    Hall, driving his black unmarked # 38 "Bilstein Shocks, Oliver Race Engines" backed T-N-T race car, collected $2,500 for his second UCRA victory of the season at ... (click for more)

3 Hikers Missing In Big Soddy Creek Gulf Area Are Found Safe

Three hikers missing since Sunday afternoon at Big Soddy Creek Gulf have been found safe. They left around noon, and were supposed to return around 6 p.m. The hikers are a married couple and their friend. They are avid hikers. Crews with the Soddy Daisy Police and Fire Departments began searching at daybreak on Monday. (click for more)

Pair Arrested In Connection With Lookout Mountain Vehicle Thefts, Break-Ins

Police on Lookout Mountain said two arrests have been made tied to the theft of  two vehicles stolen from a home in Lookout Mountain, Ga., last week.   In connection to the vehicle thefts, seven other vehicles were entered and several items were stolen. Lookout Mountain, Ga., Chief Todd Gann said, "Early  Wednesday  morning, a Georgia resident noticed ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not Many Know This

The best story of the summer – by far – came out of Panama City over the Fourth of July weekend when over 80 total strangers on a Panama City beach responded to screams. Two boys, ages 14 and 11, were caught in a rip tide and all of these “angels” quickly formed a human chain -- over 80 people with their arms locked -- to stretch out in the water, reach those kids and tug them out ... (click for more)