ONTARIO — It was a busy week last week for the swimmers representing Galion High School.
After Winter Storm Harper caused the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference meet to be postponed until Wednesday, January 23, followed by a home tri-meet, the Tigers wrapped their week back at Ontario High School to compete in the Ontario Invitational on Saturday, January 26.
Galion’s boys team entered the day looking to get back on the winning track after being dethroned from their spot atop the MOAC, a spot in which they held for the previous four seasons. The Tigers would do just that, upending the hosting, newly crowned conference champions on the final event of the day; 262-256.
Other team scoring on the boys side went as follows: 3. Tiffin Columbian- 217; 4. Norwalk- 129; 5. Mansfield Senior- 122; 6. Shelby- 111; 7. Harding- 106; 8. Willard- 70 and 9. Tiffin Calvert- 15.
The Tigers would earn a pair of victories in the relay events on the day to go along with five individual event championships.
Caleb Strack, Braxton Tate, Clay Karnes and Ben Alstadt got the winning started in the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay. The Galion foursome paced the pack and defeated the runner-ups from Columbian by nine seconds, finishing their race in a time of 1:48.28. To wrap the day, the Tigers sent Alec Dicus, Weston Rose, Strack and Alstadt into the water to compete in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Needing a strong showing to take down the hosts, the Galion clan finished with a time of 3:29.78, ahead of both Columbian and Ontario to win the title and the invitational.
In the individual events, Galion would get their winning started in the 50-yard freestyle. Junior Ben Alstadt swam his way to the title with a championship time of 23.31, more than half a second better than runner-up Duncan Beary of Harding. Later on in the 100-yard butterfly, Karnes edged runner-up Nicholas Bauer to claim the title for the Tigers in a time of 58.88. In the very next event on the boys side, Rose picked up the win in the 100-yard freestyle, swimming his race in 52.80, a second better than Ontario’s Logan Rietschlin. Galion got another strong showing from Dicus and Tate in the 500-yard freestyle as the Tigers’ duo finished first and second, respectively in the event. Dicus won with a time of 5:17.81 while Tate snagged second in 5:25.73. Strack earned Galion’s final individual win in the 100-yard backstroke, defeating runner-up Logen Cline of Shelby by three-plus seconds; 59.07-1:02.46.
Other placements for the boys on Saturday were: 200-yard freestyle- Dicus, 2nd; Karnes, 5th; Rose, 6th; 200-yard individual medley- Strack, 2nd; 50-free- Isaac Niedermier- 7th; Grayson Willacker, 17th; Kyler Ratcliff, 25th; 100-free- Niedermier, 9th; Willacker, 22nd; 200-yard freestyle relay (Dicus, Rose, Karnes, Alstadt)- 2nd; 100-back- Ratcliff, 7th and 100-yard breaststroke- Tate, 3rd.
As for the Galion Lady Tigers, they would claim fourth place in the nine-team field, scoring 188 points overall. Ontario, also fresh off of a MOAC title, won their invitational with 281.5 points.
Rounding out the girls’ team scoring were: 2. Shelby- 212; 3. Norwalk- 195; 5. Willard- 131; 6. Calvert- 126.5; 7. Mansfield Senior- 96; 8. Harding- 95 and 9. Columbian- 58.
Galion would be led by freshman Troie Grubbs on Saturday. Grubbs picked up the Lady Tigers only two individual event wins while also being the anchor on a Galion relay team that claimed a championship.
Grubbs’ first victory came in the 100-free, where she would claim the title in a time of 55.69, outlasting Ontario’s Amy Evans by 2.3 while also setting a new, meet record. Later on in the 100-back, Grubbs would pace the field of 17 swimmers to the tune of 1:02.70 to claim the title by six-plus seconds over the Lady Warriors’ Jennifer Crum.
Kaisey Speck, Sari Conner and Kennedy Speck would join Grubbs to form the championship caliber 400-free relay team for Galion. The Lady Tigers’ foursome finished their race in 3:54.94 to edge Ontario’s squad en route to the relay crown. That same group claimed a runner-up finish to start the invite in the 200-medley relay, finishing in a time of 2:00.24.
The Specks and Conner would also pick up big time points for the Lady Tigers in the individual events on the day.
Kaisey finished as the runner-up in the 200-IM and finished third in the 100-breast while Kennedy earned third in the 500-free while swimming to fourth in the 100-fly. Conner picked up third-place points for Galion in the 200-free while also snagging fifth place in the 100-free.
Other placements for the girls on Saturday were: 200-free- Kate Wildenthaler, 20th; 50-free- Destiny Yoder, 26th; Wildenthaler, 28th; Kiera VanMeter, 30th; Regin Kuelhman, 33rd; 100-free- Yoder, 22nd; VanMeter, 27th; Kuelhman, 33rd; 500-free- Ashleigh Wright, 10th; 200-free relay (Wright, Yoder, VanMeter, Wildenthaler)- 8th and 100-back- Wright, 6th.
The Tigers hosted the Mansfield Senior Tygers on Tuesday at the Galion YMCA and will next see action next Tuesday, February 5 when they head to Ashland for a clash with the hosting Arrows.
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