MCCOMBS HEADS TO MOUNT

NEW MIDDLETOWN, OH- Riley McCombs is making waves in the swimming world and beyond. The Tiger Swimmer has chosen to continue her academic and athletic journeys at Mount Union this Fall.  A standout at her high school, she’s a four-time OHSAA District Qualifier and has made it to the state finals twice, showcasing her skills in both the 100y breaststroke and the 200y IM. At the 2024 state meet, she even took on the breaststroke leg in the 200y medley relay, further proving her versatility in the pool.

Not just a swimmer, Riley has been a significant presence in her school’s music and academic circles as well. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, has been part of the marching band for six years, jazz band for three, and concert band for four. On the athletics track, she’s competed for two years and is on her way to earning her second varsity letter in track this season.

With a GPA that hovers around 3.5, despite a recent hiccup, and a record of 3.8 in earlier grading periods, Riley’s academic performance is as strong as her athletic prowess. She’s broken or set more than 20 swim team records, making her one of the most decorated athletes in her school’s history. Keep an eye on this dynamic student-athlete as she dives into future challenges, both in the pool and on the track.

BUCKINGHAM’S PALACE

COLUMBIANA OH-  Columbiana High School boasts a shining star in their swimming program, junior Preston Buckingham. Widely regarded as the best swimmer to come through Columbiana, Buckingham’s remarkable talent and dedication have propelled him to extraordinary heights in the pool.

Buckingham’s list of achievements is nothing short of impressive. With a staggering ten school records to his name, he has left an indelible mark on Columbiana’s swimming program. From the 100 Freestyle to the 400 Free Relay, Buckingham’s versatility and skill across various events showcase his exceptional ability in the water. Buckingham holds school records in all of the following:

100 Freestyle
200 Freestyle
500 Freestyle
100 Backstroke
100 Breaststroke
100 Butterfly
200 Individual Medley 200 Medley Relay 200 Free Relay
400 Free Relay

This year marks Buckingham’s third consecutive qualification for the state championships, a testament to his consistent excellence and unwavering commitment to his craft. With each appearance at the state level, Buckingham has represented Columbiana with pride and determination, leaving a lasting impression on the swimming community.

Adding to Buckingham’s success is the opportunity to swim alongside his sister, who is a freshman this season. The bond shared between siblings in the pool not only strengthens their connection but also serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for both athletes.

Beyond his impressive accomplishments in swimming, Buckingham’s leadership extends far beyond the pool deck. As the class president of the 2025 class, a member of the junior leadership of Columbiana County, and a participant in the Teen Advisory Board for the state of Ohio, Buckingham exemplifies the qualities of a true leader both in and out of the water. His dedication to serving his school and community underscores his character and integrity as a student-athlete.

With one more year of swimming ahead at Columbiana, Buckingham remains focused on reaching new heights and achieving his personal best. As he prepares to compete at the state championships once again, Buckingham’s determination, talent, and leadership promise to continue making waves in the pool and beyond. With his sights set on continued success, the future looks bright for Preston Buckingham and the Columbiana swimming program.

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FOLGER BREWING UP SUCCESS

SALEM OH- Sophomore Ryan Folger has brought a wave of excitement and enthusiasm to the Salem swim program, making history as the first male swimmer in school history to qualify for the state championships. His achievement marks a significant milestone for Salem, with Folger being the first overall swimmer to reach the state level since 2000.

Folger’s journey to state has been fueled by his unwavering determination and relentless pursuit of excellence. After narrowly missing the cut last season, he dedicated himself to rigorous training and focused on improving his performance in the pool. His hard work paid off, as he secured qualification for the state championships this year in the 200 breaststroke and the 400 individual medley, cementing his status as one of Salem’s top swimmers.

In addition to his impressive state qualification, Folger has left an indelible mark on Salem’s swimming program by setting multiple school records. With records in the 50, 100, 200, and 500 freestyle, as well as the 200 Individual Medley, 100 Breaststroke, and 100 Butterfly, Folger has established himself as a standout performer in a variety of events. His versatility and skill in the pool have set him apart from his peers and positioned him as a force to be reckoned with in the swimming community.

Despite his already impressive list of accomplishments, Folger remains humble and hungry for success. With two more years left in his high school career, he is poised to achieve even greater heights in the pool. His dedication, work ethic, and passion for swimming serve as an inspiration to his teammates and a testament to his potential for future success.

As Ryan Folger continues to make waves at Salem High School, he does so with the knowledge that his journey is just beginning. With his sights set on continued improvement and a bright future ahead, Folger is a rising star in the swimming world, destined for greatness both in and out of the pool.

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DINAPOLI’S DAY ISN’T DONE

Gina DiNapoli: Boardman’s Swimming Sensation

As a junior at Boardman, Gina DiNapoli has already etched her name into the record books of the school’s swimming history. Last year, DiNapoli made waves when she broke school records and qualified for the state championships, showcasing her talent and determination in the pool. This year, she has taken her performance to new heights, surpassing her own records and once again earning a ticket to the state meet.

For DiNapoli, the experience of competing at the state level last season has proven invaluable in her journey this year. Armed with the confidence and knowledge gained from her previous state appearance, DiNapoli approached this season’s state qualification with a sense of determination and poise, knowing what it takes to excel on the biggest stage.

DiNapoli’s impressive performance in the pool this season has earned her qualification for the state championships in the 100 Butterfly, as well as the relays for the 200 Medley and the 200 Free. Her versatility and skill in multiple events highlight her status as one of Boardman’s top swimmers and a key contributor to the team’s success.

Excitement abounds for DiNapoli as she prepares to represent Boardman at the state meet, especially considering the collective success of the team. With five girls and four boys qualifying for the state championships, DiNapoli is thrilled to be part of a swimming program that is making a significant impact on the statewide stage.

As DiNapoli reflects on her junior year and looks towards the future, thoughts of her swimming career at the next level loom large. With aspirations of competing at the collegiate level, DiNapoli is actively considering her options and exploring career paths that will allow her to stay involved in sports beyond high school.

As DiNapoli prepares to make a splash at the state championships once again, she does so with the knowledge that her hard work, dedication, and passion for swimming have brought her to this moment. With her sights set on continued success in the pool and beyond, DiNapoli’s journey is one of determination, resilience, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

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LONG IS BUILT TO LAST

EAST LIVERPOOL OH- In all of sports, talent knows no age, and freshman Cole Long of Beaver Local is living proof of this adage. From the moment he stepped onto the pool deck, Long has dazzled spectators and competitors alike with his exceptional skill, unwavering determination, and fearless attitude.

Despite being a freshman, Long has wasted no time making his mark in the swimming world. With a confidence and maturity beyond his years, he has seamlessly transitioned into the limelight, embracing the pressure and expectations that come with competing at the varsity level.

Long’s list of accomplishments this year is nothing short of impressive. As the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) winner in both the 200IM and 100 backstroke events, he has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the pool. Moreover, Long’s dominance extended to the Buckeye 8 conference, where he not only claimed victory in the 200IM and 100 backstroke but also shattered the conference record in the 200IM.

As if his conference performances weren’t enough, Long has also made waves on the state level, earning qualification for the prestigious state meet in both the 100 backstroke and 200IM events. His accomplishments don’t end there – Long has rewritten the record books at Beaver Local, breaking four school records in the process: the 200 freestyle, 200IM, 500 freestyle, and 100 backstroke. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being the first Beaver Local swimmer to qualify for the state meet since 2008.

Looking ahead, Long’s future in swimming shines brightly. Despite his remarkable achievements this season, he remains focused on continuous improvement and is already setting his sights on making next season even better. Even with the state meet looming on the horizon, Long’s dedication to his craft is unwavering, as he tirelessly strives to elevate his performance and reach new heights in the sport he loves.

With his talent, work ethic, and passion for swimming, Cole Long is poised to leave an indelible mark on the Beaver Local swimming program and the broader swimming community. As he continues to make waves in the pool, there’s no telling how far his journey will take him. One thing is for certain – the future is bright for this rising star of Beaver Local swimming.

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FEELIN LIKE SUMMER

HUBBARD OH- As the Hubbard swim team clinched their first NE8 title, one name stood out among the rest: Izzy Summers. A senior captain, Summers’ leadership and skills have been instrumental in holding the team together and propelling them towards greatness.

Summers’ role as an anchor in the clinching race epitomized her value to the team. With nerves of steel and a calm demeanor, she delivered a performance that secured Hubbard’s historic victory. Her ability to stay composed in the biggest moments has been a defining trait throughout her career.

Behind Summers’ success lies a relentless work ethic and a deep love for the sport of swimming. From early morning practices to late-night meets, she has dedicated herself wholeheartedly to honing her skills and pushing the boundaries of her potential. Summers’ drive extends beyond personal accolades; she strives to leave her mark on the record books, aiming to break as many of her pool’s records as possible before graduation.

As the season progresses, Summers and her teammates are setting their sights on new challenges. With sectionals and districts on the horizon, they are determined to make more memories before the year comes to a close. Summers’ leadership, skills, and unwavering dedication continue to inspire her team as they chase their goals in the pool. With her at the helm, the Hubbard swim team is poised for continued success and a legacy of greatness.

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KEEPING A FOOT ON THE GAS

Hubbard’s triumph in securing their first NE8 title in swimming had a standout contributor in the form of sophomore sensation, Gabi Gasser. Her dedication and prowess in the pool played a pivotal role in achieving this historic milestone for the team.

Gabi’s commitment to the sport is evident in the hard work she invests to be a champion. The pool is not just a place for competition but a realm where she refines her skills and hones her craft. It takes both dedication and an unyielding work ethic to stand out, and Gabi embodies these qualities.

The thrill of victory is palpable for Gabi, who exudes excitement at accomplishing a significant goal alongside her teammates. The NE8 title is not just a trophy but a symbol of the collective effort, passion, and commitment that Gabi and her team poured into their swimming endeavors.

Beyond the pool, Gabi wears multiple hats, participating in cheering and golf at Hubbard. Juggling these activities, she manages to strike a balance, showcasing that even with a loaded schedule, she finds time to embrace the joy of being a kid.

Gabi’s journey in swimming began at an early age, nurtured by coaches who ignited her love for the sport. Their guidance laid the foundation for her passion, and now, as a standout swimmer, Gabi carries that love into every stroke.

Balancing the individual aspect of swimming with the essence of being a great teammate is an art Gabi has mastered. She not only thrives in individual competitions but also values the camaraderie and shared victories with her team. Competing against teammates is as much a joy as competing with them, exemplifying Gabi’s sportsmanship.

As focus shifts towards sectionals and districts, Gabi and her team remain undeterred. Their eyes are set on new goals, driven by the same determination that led them to the NE8 title. Gabi Gasser’s journey in swimming is not just about the accomplishments but the unwavering passion and team spirit that continue to fuel her pursuit of excellence in the pool.

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A JOYOUS NOELLE

HUBBARD OH- In the wake of Hubbard’s triumphant victory at the NE8 championship, one name resonates through the pool – Noelle Cheney. As the team secured this prestigious title, Cheney’s role proved pivotal, underlining her significance in the accomplishment.

Noelle’s journey to success is marked by relentless commitment in the pool. Her dedication to honing her skills has played a crucial role in propelling both herself and the team to the heights of the NE8 championship. Beyond the lanes, Cheney’s commitment extends to the classroom, where she not only swims but also maintains an impressive 4.0 GPA.

Holding herself to a high standard, Noelle navigates the academic and athletic realms with grace. Despite the pressures that come with success, she manages to avoid negative influences by recognizing that, ultimately, it is her effort that matters most. Cheney’s ability to balance excellence with a healthy perspective sets her apart as a true student-athlete.

With swimming sectionals and districts on the horizon, Hubbard, led by swimmers like Noelle Cheney, enters this crucial phase with a wave of momentum. As they prepare to dive into these competitions, Noelle’s leadership and dedication in the pool promise to be a driving force, propelling the team toward further success.

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GENEVA BOYS AND LAKESIDE GIRLS MAKE SPLASH AS REPEAT CHAMPS IN COUNTY SWIM MEET

Photo Credit: CM Photography

Geneva, OH- January 5, 2024

The Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio, was abuzz with excitement as the Ashtabula County All-County Swim meet brought together the finest swimmers from across the county. The Geneva Eagles continued their dominance on the boys’ side, securing their second consecutive overall team win, while Lakeside’s girls clinched a repeat victory for the second year in a row as well. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the event’s results:

Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay:

  1. Lakeside, Time: 2:13.82 – Madrigal, Stellaluna; Shevchik, Alexandra; Miklacic, Mary Grace; McClure, Rachael
  2. Geneva, Time: 2:18.03 – Collins, Kendall; Park, Ella; Griffiths, Abigail; Krieg, Julia
  3. Jefferson, Time: 2:18.11 – Anderson, Lauren; Phillips, Emma; Hanek, LaLa; Wood, Shelby

Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay:

  1. Geneva, Time: 1:54.94 – Lee, Alex; Lee, Tyler; Reigle, Nathan; Rose, Isaiah
  2. Conneaut, Time: 2:09.37 – Knight, Logan; Rich, Liam; Dean, Kyler; Sorenson, Cole
  3. Edgewood, Time: 2:13.56 – Cline, John; Tobie, Elliott; Hill, Tyler; Skwera, Joseph

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Miklacic, Mary Grace, Lakeside, Time: 2:09.44
  2. Perez, Jacqueline, Lakeside, Time: 2:28.58
  3. Shevchik, Alexandra, Lakeside, Time: 2:45.19

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Collins, Caiden, Geneva, Time: 2:05.27
  2. Yopp, Connor, Lakeside, Time: 2:10.85
  3. Meaney, Owen, Lakeside, Time: 2:33.64

Girls 200 Yard IM:

  1. Hanek, LaLa, Jefferson, Time: 2:20.71
  2. Collins, Kendall, Geneva, Time: 2:48.25
  3. Madrigal, Stellaluna, Lakeside, Time: 2:53.35

Boys 200 Yard IM:

  1. Reigle, Nathan, Geneva, Time: 2:07.76
  2. Rose, Isaiah, Geneva, Time: 2:45.52
  3. Navarro, Pablo, Geneva, Time: 2:59.67

Girls 100 Yard Butterfly:

  1. Griffiths, Abigail, Geneva, Time: 1:11.17
  2. McClure, Rachael, Lakeside, Time: 1:17.59
  3. Park, Sofia, Jefferson, Time: 1:26.63

Girls 50 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Juliaunna, Gregory, Edgewood, Time: 28.91
  2. Perez, Jasmine, Lakeside, Time: 30.54
  3. Phillips, Emma, Jefferson, Time: 30.65

Boys 50 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Lee, Tyler, Geneva, Time: 25.67
  2. Dean, Kyler, Conneaut, Time: 27.05
  3. Surbella, Matthew, Lakeside, Time: 27.65

Girls 100 Yard Butterfly:

  1. Griffiths, Abigail, Geneva, Time: 1:11.17
  2. McClure, Rachael, Lakeside, Time: 1:17.59
  3. Park, Sofia, Jefferson, Time: 1:26.63

Boys 100 Yard Butterfly:

  1. Reigle, Nathan, Geneva, Time: 58.60
  2. Yopp, Connor, Lakeside, Time: 1:09.56
  3. Walls, Wesley, Geneva, Time: 1:42.00

Girls 100 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Miklacic, Mary Grace, Lakeside, Time: 58.40
  2. Perez, Jacqueline, Lakeside, Time: 1:05.88
  3. Anderson, Lauren, Jefferson, Time: 1:14.12

Boys 100 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Lee, Alex, Geneva, Time: 59.11
  2. Surbella, Matthew, Lakeside, Time: 1:03.84
  3. Dean, Kyler, Conneaut, Time: 1:05.90

Girls 500 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Hanek, LaLa, Jefferson, Time: 5:44.90
  2. Wood, Shelby, Jefferson, Time: 7:23.44
  3. Ducro, Mary Cate, Lakeside, Time: 7:49.82

Boys 500 Yard Freestyle:

  1. Hill, Tyler, Edgewood, Time: 5:01.83
  2. Rose, Isaiah, Geneva, Time: 6:50.93
  3. Billman, Allan, Pymatuning Valley, Time: 8:14.76

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay:

  1. Lakeside, Time: 1:57.84 – Perez, Jacqueline; Perez, Jasmine; McClure, Rachael; Miklacic, Mary Grace
  2. Lakeside, Time: 2:08.22 – Madrigal, Stellaluna; Garay Montelongo, Hayzel; Ducro, Mary Cate; Shevchik, Alexandra
  3. Edgewood, Time: 2:13.79 – Juliaunna, Gregory; Crooks, Maddie C; Naus, Zoe; Patton, Avery

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay:

  1. Geneva, Time: 1:43.04 – Collins, Caiden; Navarro, Pablo; Lee, Alex; Reigle, Nathan
  2. Conneaut, Time: 1:50.94 – Knight, Logan; Rich, Liam; Dean, Kyler; Sorenson, Cole
  3. Lakeside, Time: 1:55.91 – Meaney, Owen; Smith, Tyler; Yopp, Connor; Surbella, Matthew

Girls 100 Yard Backstroke:

  1. Juliaunna, Gregory, Edgewood, Time: 1:14.82
  2. Collins, Kendall, Geneva, Time: 1:15.38
  3. Madrigal, Stellaluna, Lakeside, Time: 1:16.01

Boys 100 Yard Backstroke:

  1. Hill, Tyler, Edgewood, Time: 1:00.56
  2. Collins, Caiden, Geneva, Time: 1:02.57
  3. Piccirillo, Joshua, Jefferson, Time: 1:15.91

Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke:

  1. Phillips, Emma, Jefferson, Time: 1:24.87
  2. Shevchik, Alexandra, Lakeside, Time: 1:32.17
  3. Park, Sofia, Jefferson, Time: 1:36.75

Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke:

  1. Lee, Tyler, Geneva, Time: 1:10.03
  2. Rich, Liam, Conneaut, Time: 1:13.43
  3. Tobie, Elliott, Edgewood, Time: 1:17.24

Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay:

  1. Jefferson, Time: 4:40.72 – Wood, Shelby; Park, Sofia; Phillips, Emma; Hanek, LaLa
  2. Geneva, Time: 4:49.64 – Collins, Kendall; Doherty, Bridget; Krieg, Julia; Griffiths, Abigail
  3. Geneva, Time: 6:13.67 – Elek, Sophia; Cybulski, Sarah; Armington, Joanna; Kobus, Delaney

Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay:

  1. Geneva, Time: 4:01.60 – Collins, Caiden; Rose, Isaiah; Lee, Alex; Lee, Tyler
  2. Lakeside, Time: 4:32.98 – Meaney, Owen; Smith, Tyler; Yopp, Connor; Surbella, Matthew
  3. Edgewood, Time: 4:47.38 – Hill, Tyler; Cline, John; Tobie, Elliott; Skwera, Joseph

The Ashtabula County All-County Swim meet showcased outstanding performances, highlighting the exceptional talent and competitive spirit of the swimmers. Congratulations to all participants for an incredible display of skill and sportsmanship!

SPARTANS SWIMMERS WIN NINTH STRAIGHT AAC TITLE

The Lady Tankers won their 9th straight AAC Conference Championship with an impressive TEAM performance.  “This is a great local conference with talented swimmers from all of the teams.   In order to have a chance to win this Championship meet, every athlete must contribute.  Some of our younger swimmers were asked to swim some difficult events and they answered the call.  Coaches Chelsea DeAngelo and Mark Brooks have worked very hard with our developmental group and these kids have become a pivotal part of our team strength,” mentioned Coach Cordon.

Off the blocks, the Spartans were led by seniors Madison Murphy and Lexxi Mihok.  Murphy, who was named AAC Swimmer of the Meet, broke a Boardman High School Team record, an AAC meet record, and the Warren G. Harding pool record in the 50 free with a time of 24.42.  Murphy also won the 100 Free with a time of 53.49.  Lexxi Mihok won the 200 Freestyle (2:01.00) and the 100 Back (1:00.42).  Murphy and Mihok, along with Petra Crnjak and Gina DiNapoli, also set a new AAC Meet mark in the 200 Medley Relay time of 1:50.74.

Single event winners and AAC First Team Awards for the Spartans include:  Gina DiNapoli in the 100 Butterfly (59.42).  Gina also nabbed 2nd in the 50 Free (26.12).   Aly Murray won the 500 Free (5:39.23) and placed 2nd in the 100 Back (1:02.22). Petra Crnjak won the 100 Breaststroke (1:11.02) and placed 3rd in the 100 Free (59.36).

The Spartan Tankers also nabbed 1st in the 200 Free Relay with DiNapoli, Crnjak, Lexxi Mihok, and Murphy with a time of 1:42.65.

Other Top 3 places include: 2nd place for Sam Murray in the 100 Free (58.50) and 3rd in the 200 Freestyle (2:09.62), 2nd place for Julia Basista in the 200 IM (2:28.14), 3rd place for Morgan Russo in the 200 IM (2:31.54), Abbi Mihok 3rd in the 50 Free (26.56) and 3rd in the 500 Free (5:51.26), Mazie Kauffman 2nd in the 1 meter diving (337.15) and Lily Warren 3rd in the 1 meter diving (227.50).

The Spartans are back in the water at YSU Beeghly Natatorium with a meet on Wednesday January 18th against Poland, Austintown, and Champion.

*Contributed by Chelsea DeAngelo at boardmanathletics.org