PREP SWIMMING: 7 Bearcats qualify for state meet after strong showing at sectionals


Seven Bearcat swimmers earned a spot at the state meet with their performances at North Sectionals over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Clements)

HUNTSVILLE – It was good weekend for the Bearcat swimmers at the North Alabama Sectional Swim Meet at the Huntsville Aquatics Center. In a field of 35 qualifying schools from across north Alabama and nearly 700 event entries, the Cullman girls team finished sixth overall in the 6A/7A division. This meet produced 20 season-best times and six new school records. The leading point scorer for CHS was Reese McNeel, followed by Cabri Adams, Ruby Hudson, Kelly Warren, Claire Ogstad and Madison Clements.

Between preliminaries Friday and finals Saturday, seven bearcats qualified for state competition in at least one event. Individual qualifiers included Adams in the women's 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley, Ogstad in the women's 100-meter breaststroke, McNeel in the women's 1-meter dive and Warren in the women's 1-meter dive. McNeel finished third overall in dive competition followed by a fourth-place finish from Warren. All three of the Cullman girls' relay teams qualified for state as well, including Adams, Ogstad, McNeel and Hudson in the 200-medley relay; Adams, McNeel, Warren and Hudson in the 200-yard free relay; and Ogstad, Warren, Anna Page and Madison Clements in the 400-yard free relay.

In the boy’s division, the 200-medley relay combo of CJ Arnold, Logan Holley, Adam Cooner and Brody Schaefer progressed to the finals but missed state qualifying by just two seconds despite posting their best time of the season. The boy’s 200-yard freestyle relay team made up of Aubrey Helms, Arnold, Schaefer and Cooner also posted a season best in the finals but missed state by just over a second. Individually, Arnold represented the Bearcats boys’ team in the finals in both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, collecting points in each but falling short of state-record times.

Each girls' relay set a new school record during competition. Additionally, Hudson took home individual school records in the women's 50-yard free and 100-yard free and McNeel took the school record in the women's 100-yard fly. 

The Cullman girls will travel to Auburn for the state meet Nov. 30 through Dec. 1 for an opportunity to capture a fourth straight appearance in state finals competition.

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