High School Sports

Wando ends Fort Mill's reign

South Pointe's Leanne Egan competes in the Girl's 200 Yard Individual Medley.
South Pointe's Leanne Egan competes in the Girl's 200 Yard Individual Medley.

The Rock Hill Aquatics center held the top high school swimmers in class AAAA Saturday. Wando left Rock Hill with both the girls' and boys' state titles, ending Fort Mill's reign of back-to-back championships.

The Warriors are the first school in history to win both the boys and girls championships in the same season.

The Yellow Jackets ended the competition in the top 10, finishing seventh in both the girls' and boys' final tallies. Nation Ford, Fort Mill's newest high school, finished tops among local schools, finishing fifth for both the girls and boys.

Supporters packed the aquatic center with standing room only available in the seating area. Parking was also sparse, as many spectators were forced to park at adjacent Old Pointe Elementary School.

Mauldin and Wando filled much of the stands, including a group from Wando decked out with full black body paint to encourage their classmates.

"We just wanted to show our swimmers how much we appreciate them," said Wando senior Marshall Drake. "Swimming often does not get the attention as some of the other sports, but it is a lot of fun to watch and well worth the three-hour drive up here."

Everywhere throughout the event, competitors, spectators, and coaches raved about the facility and volunteers for the event.

"This is our second year up here, but the event keeps getting better and better," said Wando coach Allyson Youmans, 2005 South Carolina Coach of the year. "We would love to have a facility like this in our area. Obviously winning both the girls' and boys' titles will make the drive home more fun."

Several local swimmers had excellent days at the meet, including Justin Ashcraft from Nation Ford. Ashcraft won the 200 yard freestyle and 500 freestyle events. His time of 1:42.47 set a meet record in the 200. Ashcraft beat crosstown rival Alex Carr in both events.

"We have competed with and against each other for a long time," said Ashcraft. "We are good friends and it is an honor to compete against him for the state championships. We all train so much all year and to win an event like this makes it all worth the effort."

Northwestern coach Susan Snyder was pleased with her Lady Trojans, who finished seventh on the day.

"Finishing in the top 10 is something we have aimed for all season," said Snyder. "All of our kids lowered their times this afternoon and competed very well. It takes a lot of work to pull off an event like this, and we have tremendous volunteers to make this a great meet."