NORTH ROBINSON — Shelli Ashley, alongside assistant coach Rich Guins, come into the 2019-2020 season in their second year as coaches for the Colonel Crawford Eagles swimming squads following a first season that saw the Lady Eagles go 7-1 overall and the boys team finishing at 3-5. In 2018-2019, the girls team won the North Central Ohio Swim League while the boys team finished as the runner-ups.
Ashley and Guins will look to keep growing along with the tradition of success held by the swim teams representing Colonel Crawford.
“This will be a very strong year for the girls and a growing year for the boys, begins Ashley in an email. “The girls should be at top of the league, while the boys, again, are growing and unfortunately I don’t think we will see a league title this year.”
In addition to their placements within the NCOSL, Crawford also picked up some key victories a winter ago for the then first-year head coach, who replaced Mike Holtzapfel.
“The girls team won the Seneca Early Invitational, Mount Gilead Invitational, Crawford Relay and Sprint Meet and placed as the runner-us at Sectionals and the boys placed second at the CC Relay meet.”
The Eagles will see 12 returning letter winners from last winter’s girls team and five over on the boys side of competition while losing four key elements to previous year’s success.
For the Lady Eagles, Cassidy Vogt, Katie Hanft, Jayden Ward, Emma Swisher, Drew Krassow, Maddy Keller and Alison Manko are all returning players that qualified for districts a year ago while the boys return Keenan Sharrock and Keyen Shipman. Vogt was the only member of the Colonel Crawford swim squad to see state meet action in Canton last season, qualifying in the 50-meter freestyle.
As for talent lost from previous seasons, Ashley and the Eagles saw Jillianne Gregg, who had state meet experience, and Kyle Taylor, who previously went to district for the boys team, graduate in the spring of 2019. Also departed are Crawford graduates Keton Pfeifer and Hailey Ratliff.
But, as it has been in the past, the Eagles continue to see more talent come up through the ranks.
”Incoming freshmen to keep an eye out for the girls are Abby Martin, Kayla Payne and Reagan Ritzhaupt,” says Ashley. “These girls will bring even more depth to our strong team. The boys also have a small group of freshman coming in in the likes of Branyan Rowland and Nate Eachus, who will both be top contenders on the squd and bring strength to our growing team!”
The Eagles officially begin their season on Monday, November 25 with a home, NCOSL meeting with the Upper Sandusky Rams and the Wynford Royals. On Saturday, February 1, the regular season officially comes to an end with a trip to Port Clinton and competition in the annual Gipe Relays.
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