The second Cobb Quad Challenge will get under way at Central Aquatic Center. Based on depth and talent level of the teams competing, the meet will be broken down into a series of four divisional meets that will begin early in the morning and conclude in the evening.
The Division I meet between Lassiter, Walton, Kennesaw Mountain and Harrison will begin at 8:40 a.m., while Pope, Hillgrove, Wheeler and North Cobb will swim in the Division II meet at 3 p.m.
The Division III meet between Kell, Campbell, Marietta, Sprayberry, North Cobb Christian will start at 11:30 a.m. and be the only five-team meet of the day. The day will wrap with Walker, McEachern, Allatoona and Mount Paran Christian swimming in Division IV at 6:15 p.m.
The county’s coaches opted to begin a new tradition last season and end the annual Cobb/Gwinnett Challenge that pitted two counties against one another in a similar format.
Gwinnett won all 10 challenges by significant margins. While Cobb had the talent to match its rivals to the west, the depth of Gwinnett’s programs was too significant to overcome.
Now, this meet will be looked at as a preview for the county championships in late January, and coaches are anxious to see how well they match up against one another.
“This will be a pre-county meet, and we’re about to see how well we stack up against Walton and Lassiter,” Kennesaw Mountain coach David Reason said. “This will be the first time we’ll have everyone together.”
Reason is referring to the year-round swimmers who missed their respective meets last weekend to swim in the Georgia Senior State Championships at Georgia Tech. He said that all the year-rounders, including those on his team, should be 100 percent after recuperating from the weekend.
Standouts Jimmy Yoder and Zach Bunner are expecting to join the Lassiter boys team. The Lassiter girls haven’t seen much of Jordan Drake and Nicole Prendes this year, but both are expecting to compete Saturday.
Sisters Melissa and Rebecca Postoll should be on hand to help Kennesaw Mountain, and Kira deBruyn should give the Walton girls a boost.
“We will be excited to have a fuller squad and will be excited to see what they will do,” Lassiter coach Lauren Barnes said. “We’re about halfway through the season, and we want to get a clearer picture on who our leaders will be and who will step up.”
There was a shakeup in the Division II meet this year, with Wheeler moving up from Division III and Harrison moving up to Division I. Kell dropped from Division II to III because of depth.
Pope graduated many of its top swimmers from last year, but it still has the depth to win the Division II meet. However, Wheeler could be a force due to much higher numbers and more year-round swimmers.
The Wildcats have a strong contingent of underclassmen — mostly year-rounders — led by Ethan Neault, and they are strong in all the freestyle events and relays.
While the Wheeler girls are down in numbers, they seem to be improving talent-wise. Graylyn Jones, a Kansas signee and defending Cobb County champion, can score points in both diving and swimming events.
“We’re looking to have a good meet after moving up from last year,” Wheeler coach Cam Ward said. \