WELLSBURG – The Buckeye 8 Athletic League crowned its eighth swimming champion on Saturday at the Brooke High School Natatorium.
The latest titles will always have historical significance as well.
For the first time in league history, the Buckeye 8 hosted a league championship meet after hosting the event in conjunction with other events on the schedule from previous seasons.
Regardless of the venue, the St. Clairsville Red Devils continued their streak of success.
Coach Ernie Banks’ daughters dominated once again, racking up 132 points to claim their fifth straight title. The Red Devil boys also won their fifth straight league crown, posting 90 points.
“They’ve been swimming really well, considering what part of the season we’re in,” Banks said. “The kids have swam a lot more yards this season compared to last year, so times are slower than they were at this point last year, but I expect they trained with great intensity and intensity. I think it will pay off later in the season.
The Red Devils will now aim to accomplish their next goal and that will happen next Saturday in the same water when Brooke hosts the OVAC Bill Brubaker Swimming Championships.
“The Buckeye 8 was the first goal of the season and it’s a game the kids really enjoyed,” said Banks. “I like having the 8 consecutive weeks OVAC and Buckeye. It’s kind of developed the way we race in championships in terms of training and combinations. We’re still in high intensity training next week, but we’re going to release some technical combinations and start from there.
In saying that the Red Devil’s daughters were dominant, there is no hyperbole involved.
St. Clairsville – with senior Casadie DiBetta, Kylie McKeegan, Olivia Moyer and Brenna Planey in the lead – won the individual and / or relay title in 10 of 11 events.
“It’s been a fun race with these four,” Banks said. “I take advantage of every second. It was a perfect storm with these kids. It was really fun, but we weren’t done either.
These aforementioned seniors got things done in a spectacular way when they mixed their talents to win the 200 IM relay in a blazing time of 1: 57.10. This brand was more than 27 seconds ahead of their closest competitor.
Then the avalanche of individual titles started.
Planey claimed his first victory by dominating the 200 freestyle in 2: 06.77. She did 23 seconds better than her closest competitor.
DiBetta, who heads to the Ohio University swim program next season, has put the finishing touches on his Buckeye 8 individual career with two more championships. She burned the field and her own 200 IM record when she hit the wall in 2: 15.26. She was 36 seconds ahead of her teammate Andrea Horton.
McKeegan, who signed to swim for Youngstown State next season, was a decisive winner in two free sprints. She won the 50 in 26.14, more than three and a half seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
After McKeegan’s performance in the 50, Moyer, who signed to swim for Marist next season, qualified for the championship by winning the 100 butterfly in 1: 04.54. She was 14 seconds ahead of her teammate Ryleigh Conaway.
McKeegan added her second title when she swam four lengths of the pool in 58.29 to win the 100 freestyle.
Planey earned her second victory when she won the 500 freestyle in 5: 52.34.
The senior quartet teamed up once again to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1: 46.07, which was a competition record time of over four full seconds.
Moyer returned to the pool and added a second title, winning her specialty, the 100 backstroke in 1: 06.95.
DiBetta rounded off the Red Devils victory by remaining undefeated this season in the 100 breaststroke in an impressive time of 1: 06.14.
The Beaver Local won the 400 freestyle relay in 4: 30.90 with a team of Rachel Mathias, Jacquelyn Campbell, Braham Melody and Addison Mobley.
The Red Devils were equally dominant, winning all but two of the events during the men’s part of the event.
Sophomore Evan Yost, senior Jack Gasber, freshman Zach May and senior Brendan Miller teamed up to win the 200 medley relay in a time of 1: 51.06. They did 15 seconds better than Beaver Local.
Gaber was the first of several individual winners for St. C. when he won the 200 freestyle in 2: 02.42. He clocked a two-for-two day in the individual championships when he clocked 1: 06.99 to win the 100 breaststroke.
May clinched his first individual Buckeye 8 title when he hit the wall clocking 24.09 to win the 50 freestyle. Soon after, May made two runs and returns in 52.76 to win the 100 freestyle.
Yost then got to work on the 100 butterfly and won the award with a 57.99. He went on to win two individual titles in as many tries when he set a competition record in the 100 backstroke with 59.49. His time was 28 hundredths of a second faster than that of his brother Nate, which was posted in 2020.
The same Red Devils quartet that won the medley relay swam the 400 freestyle title with a time of 3: 40.81.
Parker Pease of Beaver Local won the 200 IM in 2: 24.06. Senior Quinn Sullivan was the 500 freestyle champion in 6: 27.49.
Cambridge – new to Buckeye 8 – won the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1: 41.11.