West Stokes ladies swim team earned the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference championship win Monday afternoon at the C.E. Gaines Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. WPAC Swimmer of the Year, Bethany Memola, led her team to a convincing 246-184 victory over second place Surry Central, while Wildcat head coach Pat Erickson was named WPAC Coach of the Year.
“Our girls swam a great meet,” Erickson said. “We may not have medaled in many races, but we usually had three or four swimmers scoring in each event. The difference in tonight’s meet was our depth. We had 17 different ladies earn points for our team and that is what brought the championship home. It is so rewarding to see their hard work pay off.”
Memola swam in two individual events and won the 200 yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke with times of 2:19.60 and 1:25.69. The junior participated in two relay teams as well. The 400 yard freestyle relay team of Memola, Anna McGhee, Hannah Miller, and Abby Bryant placed second, while the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Sarah Rice, Hannah Speer, McGhee and Memola finished third.
“Bethany is a hard worker day in and day out and is always willing to help our newer swimmers,” said Erickson. “It was nice to see her rewarded with the swimmer of the year award that was voted on by the conference coaches.”
Other medal winners in individual events were Hannah Miller (200 IM and 100 back), McGhee (50 free), and Rice (100 free). The 200 medley relay team of Dunivant Grabs, Miller, Speer and Rice placed third with a bronze medal.
The boy’s team didn’t fare as well due to lack of numbers, but individually five out of the six scored points in their events and finished in sixth place with a score of 74.
“We had a few of our boy swimmers set personal records tonight,” Erickson said. “We are competitive and do well in the events we enter, but we need more bodies to be able to compete as a team.”
The Wildcats were led by junior captain Cameron Heath who brought home a silver medal in the 200 yard freestyle and set a new personal record of 2:10.28 in the event. He also won a bronze medal in the 50 freestyle and then anchored the 200 freestyle relay team to a second place finish. He was joined on the relay team by Bailey Moran, Timothy White and Joe Ashby.
Atkins placed first with a score of 277, followed by North Surry (175), Surry Central (115), Forbush (89) and Walkertown (82).
Next up for the Wildcats is the regional competition on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Charlotte.
Lady Sauras compete at conference meet
South Stokes ladies swim team only consists of five swimmers. Three of those athletes didn’t compete at the Northwest 1A Conference meet on Saturday at Armfield Civic Center in Pilot Mountain, but AnnaKate Cheek and Makayla Worrell swam in two different events for the Lady Sauras.
Cheek competed in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle races and finished in sixth and fifth place and Worrell swam in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle with times of 42.74 and 1:45.52.
“We have had limited practice time since Christmas due to weather and the holidays,” said longtime Saura coach Kent Mendenhall. “AnnaKate and MaKayla work hard and we appreciate their dedication to the program. Swimming is not very popular in our area and we have to do a better job in getting kids to participate.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.