CLEARWATER — After dominating every major meet this season, Palm Harbor University’s boys had put so ground between themselves and what passes for their competition that the Class 3A, Region 2 team title was a forgone conclusion.
And in one of the more anticlimactic meets, the Hurricanes did just that, scoring 366.5 points for their seventh straight region championship.
But it was PHU’s girls who really opened some eyes. The Hurricanes, who have just one senior, won their first region title since 2004, the year region meets were added to the state series. PHU did it by scoring 320 points, nine ahead of nemesis Sarasota Riverview, which had won the past six region titles. The difference was when Riverview’s 200 medley relay was disqualified.
“We had some huge drops in times by our girls in the preliminaries,” Hurricanes coach Lisa Bitting said. “That really set us up well in the finals. And we got every boy through to the state meet that we needed. It was a tremendous performance by everyone.”
PHU’s 200 medley relay team of Ryan McRae, David Morgan, Zach Perrotti and Jason Williams won in 1:36.15.
Williams took first in the 50 free (21.35). McRae was a champion in the 100 free (46.43). And Perrotti won the 100 fly (51.91).
Clearwater’s Nick Alexiou won the 200 free (1:38.24) and 500 free (4:25.48). The other county boys champion was Seminole’s Zach Metka, who won the 200 individual medley (1:52.96) and 100 breast (57.75), and Northeast’s Georgi Krastev, who won the 100 back (51.14).
Countryside’s 200 free relay of Richard Willsey, Ryan Peters, Tommy Kelly and Gary Lush took first in 1:27.24. Willsey, Lush and Peters also teamed with Michael Lombardo to win the 400 free relay in 3:12.47.
On the girls side, PHU freshman Michelle Turek won the 200 freestyle in one minute, 48.09 seconds, beating defending Class 3A champion Taylor Katz of Sarasota Riverview by more than two seconds. Turek also took first in the 100 free in 52.19.
Another freshman, East Lake’s Sydney Pickrem, won the 200 individual medley (2:01.67) and the 100 breast. Teammate Annika Smith won the 50 free (24.21) and Alexia Gonzalez won diving with 455.30 points.
A-3: Chargers settle for second, third
After cruising to conference and district titles, Shorecrest’s boys and girls ran into teams with more depth at the Class A, Region 3 meet at North Shore on Friday night.
The Chargers girls scored 260 points to as the runnerup behind Tampa Prep, which won with 482. Shorecrest’s boys were third with 273 points, 19 behind Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep, which tied for first.
Shorecrest’s 200 medley relay of Hope Andrews, Courtney Coleman, Emma Spilman and Meredith Little won in one minute, 55.11 seconds. Spilman won the 200 individual medley (2:08.05) and 100 fly (57.33). The Chargers John Farese won the 100 back (52.38) and Joshua Chen won the 100 breast (1:02.82). Farese and Chen teamed Alex Grant and Mark Marshburn to win the 400 free relay in 3:20.01.
Clearwater Central Catholic’s Jared Brown won the 50 free (22.20) and 100 free (48.36).