STRONG FINISH

Marlins claim SASA summer-only runner-up trophy

Consistency in any sport, whether individual or team, is something for which to be sought. In a team sport that is made up of a bunch of individual performances, that stability shows over time.
For the third straight year and fourth time in the last five seasons, the Monticello Marlins finished as summer-only runners-up in the South Arkansas Swim Association Championships Saturday at El Dorado in the HealthWorks Fitness Center’s indoor pool. With 35 swimmers scoring 694 points, the Marlins finished second to Magnolia’s 770. Monticello also found the podium by winding up third overall in the 15-team meet, made up of year-round teams as well as summer-only squads.
“The Marlins worked hard these past two weeks and we are very happy with the way we finished the season,” first-year head coach Taylor James said after the meet. “We are still a young, growing team showing lots of potential. I am proud of where we stand and I am excited about the team’s enthusiasm for next year.
“Win or lose, our victory lies in our improvement from week to week. Each time one swimmer improves one event, it motivates us to continue learning the technique and swim smarter in future races.”
Host El Dorado HealthWorks Swim Club won both the overall and year-round titles with 1,140 points. Monticello’s lone year-round swimmer, Grace Smith, scored 56 points (with relay help from Lauren Cassels, Chaya Reed and Lyndie Mullins) to place fourth in the year-round competition.
In the summer-only race, the Marlins garnered 28 race victories, swam second in 13 events and took 14 third places for the majority of their points, led by Allie Hall’s and Chaya Reed’s four individual wins each. Both swimmers won high-point trophies for their 36-point performances, Hall in the girls’ 6-and-under division and Chaya Reed in the girls’ 10U category.  
“Allie and Chaya are two swimmers with natural swimming talent,” Taylor James noted. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that they came home with the (high-point) trophies. I am very proud of both of their achievements this week as well as this entire season.”
Individually, Jessaca Shepherd won three events, Garrett Carter, Matthew Justice and Jake Harris two each, and Haley Hill one. Ten Monticello summer-only relay teams also touched the wall first. All 36 swimmers wearing Monticello Marlins’ swimsuits scored in at least one event, 25 of them earning first places either individually or as parts of relays.   
Hall won the girls’ 6U 25-yard butterfly in 30.03 seconds, the 25 backstroke (29.72), the 25 breaststroke (33.41) and the 25 freestyle (22.69), while Chaya Reed was first in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (36.25), 50 breast (41.30), 50 free (31.55) and 100 individual medley (1 minute, 19.90 seconds).
Other individual race winners for the Marlins were Shepherd, in the girls’ 100 fly (1:12.27), 100 back (1:13.84) and 50 free (28.64); Garrrett Carter, in the boys’ 6U 25 fly (32.41) and 25 free (28.05); Matthew Justice, in the boys’ 100 breast (1:18.95) and 200 IM (2:27.01); Jake Harris, in the boys’ 500 free (5:39.01) and 300 free (2:09.65); and Haley Hill, in the girls’ 200 IM (3:00.57).
Summer-only relay teams in first for Monticello were Caleb Norris, Cade Newton, Caleb James and Carter, in the boys’ 8U 100 medley relay (2:08.82); Ashtyn Smith, Aslyn Reed, Justice Smith and Kamryn Jones, in the girls’ 10U 100 medley relay (1:25.80); Dylan Snuffer, Luke Justice, Christian Wilson and Caleb Wilson, in the boys’ 13-14 200 medley relay (2:54.27); Morgan Cassels, Hill, Shepherd and Katelyn Harris, in the girls’ 200 medley relay (2:21.48); Jake Harris, Christopher Wilson, Matthew Justice and Joe Hurley, in the boys’ 200 medley relay (2:08.84);
Caleb James, Norris, Newton and Carter, in the boys’ 8U 100 free relay (1:58.74); Aslyn Reed, Ashtyn Smith, Jones and Justice Smith, in the girls’ 10U 100 free relay (1:13.18); Snuffer, Christian Wilson, Caleb Wilson and Luke Justice, in the boys’ 13-14 200 free relay (2:38.02); Hill, Morgan Cassels, Katelyn Harris and Shepherd, in the girls’ 200 free relay (2:04.84); and Jake Harris, Hurley, Christopher Wilson and Matthew Justice, in the boys’ 200 free relay (1:53.83).
The girls’ year-long 200 free relay foursome of Lauren Cassels, Chaya Reed, Grace Smith and Mullins, also won the event (2:16.63).
Summer-only runners-up for Monticello were Jake Harris, in the boys’ 100 back (1:12.58) and 100 free (59.60); Matthew Justice, in the boys’ 100 fly (1:02.21) and 50 free (24.39); Katelyn Harris, in the girls’ 500 free (6:48.56) and 200 free (2:33.30);
Justice Smith, in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (43.70); Snuffer, in the boys’ 11-12 50 fly (38.70); Emma Burt, in the girls’ 100 fly (1:38.71); Morgan Cassels, in the girls’ 100 back (1:18.86); Christopher Wilson, in the boys’ 13-14 50 breast (39.27); Luke Justice, in the boys’ 13-14 100 free (1:11.01); and Shepherd, in the girls’ 100 free (1:03.73).
In year-long events, second is where Grace Smith scored the vast majority of her points. She was the runner-up in the girls’ 500 free (6:25.54), 100 fly (1:21.01), 50 free (28.81) and 200 free (2:24.87).
Bronze medalists for the summer-only Marlins were Ryker Harvey, in the boys’ 10U 50 breast (53.91) and 100 IM (1:50.99);  Snuffer, in the boys’ 11-12 50 back (41.69) and in the 100 IM (1:31.85); Luke Justice, in the boys’ 13-14 50 back (38.97) and 50 free (31.22); Morgan Cassels, in the girls’ 500 free (6:56.14) and 200 free (2:33.59);
Christopher Wilson, in the boys’ 13-14 50 fly (42.13); Hill, in the girls’ 100 back (1:20.51); Norris, in the boys’ 8U 25 breast (30.08); Addison Bradshaw, in the girls’ 8U 100 IM (2:19.78); and Hurley, in the boys’ 200 free (2:29.25).
The boys’ 10U 100 medley relay quartet of Luke Hairston, Job Rodgers, Harvey and Adrian Ratliff also swam third (1:41.99).
Other individual SASA point producers for Monticello were Lauren Cassels, fourth in the girls’ 13-14 50 breast (44.19), fifth in the girls’ 13-14 50 back (39.52), sixth in the 50 free (34.74) and eighth in the 100 free (1:17.81); Christian Wilson, fourth in the boys’ 13-14 50 fly (43.62), fifth in the 50 back (48.68), sixth in the 50 breast (44.54) and eighth in the 50 free (37.40);
Hannah Harrison, fifth in the girls’ 8U 25 back (27.70) and the 25 breast (39.19), seventh in the girls’ 8U 25 fly (32.60) and eighth in the 25 free (24.34); Aslyn Reed, fourth in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (45.61) and 100 IM (1:39.63), and eighth in the 50 free (39.75); Hurley, fourth in the boys’ 100 fly (1:21.12), fifth in the 50 free (28.39) and seventh in the 100 free (1:06.31); Hill, fourth in the girls’ 100 free (1:08.42) and the 50 free (31.02);
Katelyn Harris, fourth in the girls’ 100 back (1:24.46) and sixth in the 100 free (1:11.87); Rodgers, fifth in the boys’ 10U 50 back (54.27), seventh in the 100 IM (2:09.50) and eighth in the 50 breast (1:07.50); Harvey, fourth in the boys’ 10U 50 fly (1:00.76) and eighth in the 50 free (43.35); Jones, sixth in the girls’ 10U 50 back (45.13) and 50 free (38.57); Luke Justice, fourth in the boys’ 13-14 50 breast (42.85); Snuffer, fourth in the boys’ 11-12 50 free (32.83);
Morgan Cassels, fifth in the girls’ 100 free (1:09.04); Bradshaw, sixth in the girls’ 8U 25 breast (30.54) and eighth in the 25 fly (33.93); Tamia Brooks, seventh in the girls’ 11-12 50 fly (47.69) and 50 back (47.30); Christopher Wilson, fifth in the boys’ 13-14 50 free (33.80); Caleb Wilson, sixth in the boys’ 13-14 50 fly (1:07.58); Carter, sixth in the boys’ 6U 25 back (39.80);
Caleb James, seventh in the boys 8U 25 fly (35.61); Norris, eighth in the boys 8U 25 fly (48.83); Ashtyn Smith, eighth in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (53.15); Ratliff, eighth in the boys’ 10U 50 back (57.65); Mullins, eighth in the girls’ 100 back (1:36.41); Newton, eighth in the boys’ 8U 25 breast (36.79); Justice Smith, eighth in the girls’ 10U 100 IM (1:44.12); and Chloe Russell, eighth in the girls’ 11-12 100 IM (2:07.21).
Also, the team of Russell, Lexi Boggus, Burt and Brooks was fourth in the girls’ 13-14 200 medley relay (3:05.78); Lauren Cassels, Chaya Reed, Grace Smith and Mullins swam fourth in the girls’ year-long 200 medley relay (2:33.97); Rodgers, Ratliff, Hairston and Harvey, placed fourth in the boys 10U 100 free relay (1:24.23); Boggus, Brooks, Russell and Burt came in fifth in the girls’ 13-14 200 free relay (2:43.11); and the quartet of Harrison, Hall, Bradshaw and Adysen Jacks were sixth in the girls’ 10U 100 free relay (1:32.90).
“This is my very first time coaching a team and it will be one that I never forget,” Taylor James said. “This year will be the building block for many more years to come. As for next year, I hope to grow in number while holding the encouraging yet competitive community mindset in the swimmers and parents.
“I entered this season with the desire to be a voice of encouragement and support for every swimmer this season. It’s on that same principal that I hope to pick up with next season.”
Speaking of the summer of 2018, the head coach said he is already recruiting new swimmers. If interested, parents and/or athletes themselves may contact Taylor James via email at taylorjames@me.com.

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