Standing tall: Wakeland, Frisco lead group of medalists
The Wakeland boys swimming team trailed Houston Stratford by just one point entering the final race of Saturday’s Class 4A state swimming and diving meet in Austin.
The team’s 400-yard freestyle relay knew a top finish would mean taking home gold in the final team standings. Despite setting a school record in the event, the team of junior Brayden Seal, freshman Samuel Kline, senior Coleman Phelps and senior Zachary Kline ended the race in third place with a time of 3:08.46 to give Wakeland 203 points.
Stratford swam a 3:06.54 to take top honors in the event and the final standings, ending the two-day meet with 212 points.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” said Melissa Rose, Wakeland head coach. “It’s bitter-sweet because we were so close, but I’m also super proud of the kids.”
The race capped a well-rounded performance from Seal, who earned gold medals in the 500 free and the 200 free.
“[Seal] had an outstanding meet,” Rose said.
Seal joined Frisco’s Nicholas Hook and Lone Star’s Cody Holland to give Frisco ISD four of the 12 goal medals in the boys events.
“We’ve had quite an impressive run from some outstanding swimmers,” said Bruce Eubanks, Frisco head coach. “We’re really proud of that.”
The group also led a charge of swimmers that gave Frisco ISD medalists in 11 of the 12 events on the boys side.
“I know it’s been said many times,” Rose said, “but one of the best things about being in Frisco is the support from the community. It’s absolutely amazing.”
The Lady Raccoons led the way on the girls side, with Frisco taking home a bronze medal in the team standings.
“I felt like going in, we had a shot at second,” Eubanks said, “but it just didn’t end up that way. I was pleased overall with the results though.”
Headlining Frisco’s meet was the 200 medley relay with freshmen Mallori Allen, Hailey Jenkins, Rylee Lin and senior Allie Walsh earning the silver medal with a time of 1:50.31.
Frisco’s third-place finish on the girls side and eighth-place finish in the boys meet allowed the team to come away with fourth place in the combined team scores.
That finish could have been higher if not for a disqualification from the boys 200 medley relay team after an early start kept the Raccoons from earning any points in the event.
“It would have given us sixth instead of eighth,” Eubanks said. “Things happen.”
With the Wolverines giving Wakeland a fifth-place finish in the combined team scores, Rose earned the Class 4A Coach of the Year after sweeping the award in the district and regional meets earlier in the year.
“I was very shocked by this one,” she said. “It’s quite an honor when your peers think that highly of you. It’s really reflective of my kids though. I don’t think it has a lot to do with me.”
Lone Star ended the meet 17th in the boys standings and 27th on the girls side. Liberty earned 34th from its boys and 19th from its girls.
Leading the Redhawks was sophomore diver Mathew Phillip, who took the bronze medal in the one-meter diving with a score of 314.80.
The girls one-meter diving saw Frisco sophomore Ashleigh Dehls take sixth-place with a score of 375.50 to edge out Liberty freshman Lauren Burrell (365.70).
“[Dehls] is a sophomore, so finishing sixth at the state meet is a great job,” Eubanks said.