DUNLAP – The first major hurdle of the Wawasee girls swim season was cleared Tuesday night. Despite a game effort from the host Concord girls swimmers, Wawasee managed enough depth points to pull away for a 95-77 victory in a key Northern Lakes Conference showdown.
Wawasee, which had not been tested in its first four wins of the season, were battled from the start by Concord’s frontline swimmers. In fact, Concord opened the night with a 235.35 from diver Lauren Boone, then after a 45-minute delay due to technical problems with the scoreboard, the Lady Minutemen took three of the first four events.
Ashley Schrock began her huge night with a leg of the winning medley relay (1:56.68) then beat Wawasee’s Paige Miller head-to-head in the individual medley at 2:10.33, a half-second better than Miller. Schrock would also return for the breaststroke win later in the meet with a convincing 1:10.01.
Kenzie Wright’s 26.28 win in the 50 free would help Concord to a 42-36 lead at the intermission, but it was all Wawasee from there.
The Lady Warriors won six of the final seven events, and piled up plenty of ‘B’ and ‘C’ lane points to give itself some breathing room.
Mikala Mawhorter had a strong showing in the fly, working a 1:06.62 with teammate Shelby Adams right on track a touch slower. Mawhorter joined Kendra Miller, Paige Miller and Bre Robinson for an impressive win in the 200 free relay at 1:41.97, one in which a 23.3 split from Robinson in the final 50 yards blew away the head start Concord’s Wright had on the final leg.
Robinson was also strong, winning the 100 (52.45) and 200 (1:53.61) going away while Paige Miller had no trouble taking the 500 at 5:18.16. The two Millers, Robinson and Kayla Hershberger finished the night with a statement swim in the 400 free relay (3:49.98) and Hershberger added a solo win in the backstroke at 1:05.20.
“Kids like Shelby Adams and Mikala in the fly swam season bests, and Paige Miller was a lifetime best in the 500. To be throwing out times like that this early is really exciting to see,” said Wawasee head coach Julie Robinson. “It was hard to tell without the board to see where we actually were, but it’s still impressive.”
After the intermission, Wawasee scored no less than nine points in any event, and its ‘B’ relay team in the 400 claimed second, capping a big team victory.
“We actually are swinging into being a better second half of the meet team, but if we can fix a couple of things in the front half, I think we will be OK,” Robinson admitted.
The victory lands Wawasee at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the NLC with what should be manageable meets next week with NorthWood and Plymouth before the holiday break. Concord, on the other hand, has now lost to conference frontrunners Goshen, Northridge and Wawasee. Adjustments will need to be made with about a month left before the conference tournament.
“I feel like Wawasee is probably the favorite, but there have been three really good teams that have beat us,” Concord head coach Tom Johnson stated. “We struggle in dual meets because of our lack of depth. I’m proud with how the girls raced today. We were closer than I thought we would be, which shows we put the effort in.”