Saturday night's Cedar Run District swimming championships could not have gotten off to a more nightmarish start for the Osbourn High School boys' team.
The Eagles' 200-yard medley relay team of seniors Joe Mueller, Josh Nicolette and Pat Toland and junior Josh Brisini appeared to win the first event of the meet but was disqualified when an official ruled one of the swimmers started his leg too early. Instead of taking a quick lead, defending district champion Osbourn received no points and immediately fell into a 32-point hole.
"That was our first disqualification all year," Osbourn Coach Jason Lucey said. "I think it was just the excitement of districts. Had we even gotten third, it would have been easier. Having zero points made it much tougher."
Lucey, however, gathered his boys' swimmers immediately after the disqualification and told them to use it as motivation.
"They were really upset, but I told them if they wanted to win badly enough, they'd find a way to win," Lucey said. "From that point on, they were determined. They were upset, but they used that anger to focus."
Osbourn chipped away at the deficit for the rest of the meet and squeaked out a four-point victory. The Eagles totaled 329.5 points to Stonewall Jackson's 325.5. Osbourn Park finished third with 308.
On the girls' side, Osbourn Park defended its title with 364 points. Stonewall was the runner-up with 321, and Osbourn (305) placed third.
Mueller won the 50 and 100 freestyle events, and Nicolette tied Stonewall freshman Zachary Hayden for first in the 100 breaststroke, but the Eagles' boys' victory was keyed by a slew of lower place finishers who built up points, Lucey said. In the 50 free, Osbourn took three of the top four spots, and in the 100 free, the Eagles captured four of the top five spots.
Similarly, Osbourn Park's girls' championship victory was thanks in large part to the Yellow Jackets' depth. Because each of the three schools in the district meet were allowed to place four swimmers in each event, there were two heats for every event Saturday -- a slower heat of four and a faster heat of eight.
"I have so much depth that my four swimmers almost always were all in the second heat," Osbourn Park Coach Kate Thomas said.
The Yellow Jackets also received a standout performance from senior Erin Hammersley, who won the 100 free and 200 free and anchored Osbourn Park's victorious 400 freestyle relay. That race was tied after the first three 100s, but Hammersley swam a blistering anchor leg to secure the victory.
"When you have a swimmer of that caliber, they can either make everyone feel strong or overshadowed," Thomas said. "But she's really outgoing and friendly and supportive of her teammates, which is even more important than her times. But we love her times, too."
In addition to tying Nicolette for first place in the 100 breast, Stonewall's Hayden won the 200 freestyle. Other double winners were Osbourn Park junior Drew Chartrand, who won the boys' 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, and Osbourn freshman Sarah Ameen, who posted victories in the same events in the girls' competition.
Cedar Run District Championships
1, Osbourn, 329.5; 2, Stonewall Jackson, 325.5; 3, Osbourn Park, 308.
200 free: 1, Zachary Hayden, Stonewall, 1:49.64; 2, Arlen Connolly, Stonewall; 3, Cameron Chicoine, Osbourn Park; 200 IM: 1, Drew Chartrand, Osbourn Park, 2:01.66; 2, Josh Brisini, Osbourn; 3, Nathaniel Harrison, Stonewall; 50 free: 1, Joe Mueller, Osbourn, 23.48; 2, Aaron Martin, Osbourn; 3, Brent McNeil, Stonewall; 100 fly: 1, Chartrand, Osbourn Park, 54.31; 2, Michael Cartwright, Stonewall; 3, Matt Marquart, Stonewall; 100 free: 1, Mueller, Osbourn, 51.61; 2, Stephen Waldron, Osbourn; 3, Michael Grim, Osbourn; 500 free: 1, Connolly, Stonewall, 5 minutes 12.76 seconds; 2, Chicoine, Osbourn Park; 3, Brisini, Osbourn; 100 back: 1, Cartwright, Stonewall, 56.18; 2, Marquart, Stonewall; 3, Waldron, Osbourn; 100 breast: 1, tie, Hayden, Stonewall, and Josh Nicolette, Osbourn, 1:02.46; 3, Andrew MacGregor, Osbourn Park.
200 medley: 1, Stonewall (Cartwright, Hayden, Rory Millette, Connolly), 1:44.98; 200 free: 1, Osbourn (Martin, Patrick Toland, Brisini, Mueller), 1:35.46; 400 free: 1, Stonewall (Connolly, Marquart, Hayden, Cartwright), 3:25.90.
1, Osbourn Park, 364; 2, Stonewall Jackson, 321; 3, Osbourn, 305.
200 free: 1, Erin Hammersley, Osbourn Park, 1:55.41; 2, Nicole Snyder, Osbourn; 3, Catherine Moseley, Osbourn Park; 200 IM: 1, Sarah Ameen, Osbourn, 2:16.50; 2, Stephanie Webber, Osbourn Park; 3, Ashley Wells, Stonewall; 50 free: 1, Kerry Urso, Stonewall, 25.65; 2, Hannah Coutu, Osbourn; 3, Emily Slough, Stonewall; 100 fly: 1, Ameen, Osbourn, 1:01.13; 2, Samantha Smith, Stonewall; 3, Leslie Campbell, Osbourn Park; 100 free: 1, Hammersley, Osbourn Park, 53.87; 2, Urso, Stonewall; 3, Audrey Pietrzyk, Osbourn; 500 free: 1, Snyder, Osbourn; 2, Elizabeth Mueller, Osbourn; 3, Moseley, Osbourn Park; 100 back: 1, Mueller, Osbourn, 1:03.71; 2, Christina Thoreson, Osbourn Park; 3, Smith, Stonewall; 100 breast: 1, Pietrzyk, Osbourn, 1:12.37; 2, Wells, Stonewall; 3, Webber, Osbourn Park.
200 medley: 1, Osbourn (Mueller, Pietrzyk, Ameen, Snyder), 1:55.47; 200 free: 1, Stonewall (Brianne Connolly, Maria Fini, Laura Wainman, Slough), 1:48.60; 400 free: 1, Osbourn Park (Webber, Katie Mulholland, Emily Gers, Hammersley), 3:51.53.