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Wildcats aim once again for state swimming titles
by Greg Oshust
November 27, 2012 03:07 PM | 2175 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Westminster maintained its position among the state high school swimming elite last season, with the girls’ team winning the Class A-AAAA championship and the boys’ squad finishing fifth in that classification.

The Wildcats are picking up where they left off with impressive performances in their first two meets of the 2012-13 season.

After losing to Mill Creek in a season-opening dual meet at home Nov. 6, Westminster came back to win the overall team title at the prestigious McCallie Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 17.

The Wildcats scored 587.5 points to win by a decisive margin over runner-up Northview (423) in the overall team standings.

Westminster accumulated 331.5 points to edge out runner-up Harpeth Hill of Brentwood, Tenn. (327) in the girls’ team standings, while the Wildcat boys (256) placed second to host McCallie (418).

Nicole Stafford won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.64 seconds and the 200 freestyle at 1:54, while sophomore Katie Christy was the winner in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.34).

The Lady Wildcats also won the 200-yard medley relay (1:52.67) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:37.94).

Derek Cox won the 500 free (4:46.93) for the boys’ team, which also took the 200 medley relay (1:41.46) and the 400 free relay (3:19.86).

Longtime coach Pete Higgins was encouraged by what he saw of his team at the McCallie meet.

“I’m excited,” said Higgins, who is starting his 53rd season at the Westminster helm. “We were attacking — we weren’t waiting for something good to happen. It was a good meet for us.”

The Westminster girls return to defend their state title with a strong veteran group of swimmers combined with a promising freshman class.

“We’ve got some good seniors and juniors, and we have a lot of ninth-graders who have a lot of potential,” Higgins said.

On the girls’ side, Westminster returns seniors Nicole Stafford, a three-time state champion in the 200-yard freestyle who has committed to Stanford, and Jamie Christy, a University of Southern California commitment.

Katie Christy, last year’s state title-holder in the 100 breaststroke, also comes back. Seniors Lilly Nunnally and Erika Redding — who are co-captains with Stafford — and junior Maddie Downs are the other key swimmers for the Lady Wildcats.

The boys’ team is a little younger, with some underclassmen among their top performers.

Senior Will Kibler is currently out with a sprained hand, but is expected to return to provide veteran leadership.

Juniors Sam Beadles, Gabriel Bellott-McGrath and William Stith and sophomore Patrick Leonard are back as well, while freshman twins Derek Cox and Erek Cox>/b> are newcomers to the boys’ lineup.

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