Lady Raiders have edge on Lassiter
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
February 09, 2014 04:07 AM | 2006 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emma Cole helped Walton gain the edge on east Cobb rival Lassiter in the Class AAAAAA team standings, with the Lady Raiders finishing fourth overall.
<Br>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Emma Cole helped Walton gain the edge on east Cobb rival Lassiter in the Class AAAAAA team standings, with the Lady Raiders finishing fourth overall.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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ATLANTA — Just like the county championships two weeks ago, the Walton and Lassiter girls were neck-and-neck once again.

This time, though, they were battling for fourth and fifth, in the Class AAAAAA state meet Saturday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

After lingering between fifth and seventh late in the night, it was Walton which secured fourth with 185 points. And it has Emma Cole, Gabbie Gauntt, Mary Beckwith and Kira de Bruyn to thank for that after they secured a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 28.75 seconds.

Lassiter was fifth in the team standings.

“I knew they had it in them,” Walton coach Mary Howell Hafner said, “and I was so glad to see them come together, win the 400 free relay and put us in fourth.”

Walton had the depth, but not quite enough top-tier firepower, to overcome champion Lambert (279), Johns Creek (246.5) and Brookwood (206).

Like the Walton boys, the Lady Raiders were unable to seal an individual state title.

De Bruyn came the closest in the 200 individual medley. After winning the past two state championships in the event, de Bruyn was in the lead by a fingernail’s length, but Brookwood’s Devan Sweeney got her in the final 50 yards to claim the title in 2:03.59, just ahead of de Bruyn (2:03.99).

Cole chipped in by taking second in the 500 freestyle (4:54.05). Trailing Savannah Ruedt for the majority of the race, Cole came back from behind in the final 100 yards to finish second behind Brookwood’s Ana Jahns (4:49.94). Cole also took third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:48.81).

Evan Arsenault tied Walton teammate Johanna Keeline for 11th in the 50 freestyle (25.00), but the Lady Raiders not having a swimmer in the top 16 of the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle hurt their chances of making a surge.

After not meeting expectations in Friday’s preliminary races, Lassiter made the best of its situation in the finals.

The event that helped jumpstart the Lady Trojans was the 200 freestyle relay of Lauren O’Malley, Ali Ramirez, Anna Lofton and Lexi Glunn, who took second behind Lambert in 1:37.07.

“We had a lot of great swims (Saturday) and thought we turned it around,” Lassiter coach Brittany Hughes said. “(Friday) night was tough.”

In the individual events, Kelli Croft was seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:53.61). Glunn took fifth in the 200 IM (2:06.47) and sixth in the 100 freestyle (52.71) and Lofton was ninth in the 50 freestyle (24.84).

Madeline Hester helped Lassiter in diving, finishing third Thursday with 393.65 points.

Kennesaw Mountain was the next-highest Cobb County finisher, placing 17th behind diver Jordan Shealy, who was second with 415.95.

* Allatoona senior Aja Malone got the individual state title she was yearning for her entire career, winning the Class A-AAAAA state title in the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.39.

Malone outlasted Cartersville’s Elise Hart, who was second in 55.12.

The Lady Buccaneers went on to finish 16th overall.

“After four years of swimming it at state, I finally won,” Malone said. “It’s awesome.”

Hart got her revenge Malone in the 100 backstroke, coming back to pass the Allatoona senior on the final turn to win in 55.33. Malone was second at 55.61.

Allatoona freshman Caitlyn McHugh chipped in by finishing seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:06.04) and 13th in the 200 freestyle (1:56.25).

Pope’s Emma Murray clinched her debut title in the 100 breaststroke. In an even race with Savannah Arts Academy’s Darby Wayner and Westminster’s Katie Christy, Murray was the first to touch the wall, with a time of 1:24.36.

“I know it was going to be close because I know they’re insanely fast,” Murray said. “I’ve never won a state championship, and it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Pope also took 13th in the 200 medley relay (1:54.74).

The Lady Greyhounds were 21st overall, just behind Kell.
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