By Jeff Robison
INDIANAPOLIS — Paced by A-final qualifications by Avon’s Parks Jones, Christian Lorenz, and its 200 yard medley relay squad, Hendricks County swimmers earned eleven qualifications into the second day of competition during Friday night’s IHSAA Boys State Swimming Finals preliminary heats.
It was an especially satisfying night for the Avon swim program as the Orioles team accounted for nine of those eleven advancements.
The best individual placement of the night came from Avon sophomore Parks Jones in the 200 freestyle, where his time of 1:41.29 ranked fifth going into the Saturday finals.
Teammate Christian Lorenz was the other individual to make a championship race, as he was seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
Meanwhile, the Orioles started well by showcasing the depth of their team in getting the last A-final qualifying spot for the 200 medley relay team. That squad was made up of Matt Stowe, Lorenz, Grant Lewis, and Greg Sprout.
Avon coach Jon Karr rode the emotional high of his team’s strong performance.
“By far on the men’s side, this was the best (Avon) has ever done (at state),” Karr said. “We’ve got eight of eleven events with swims tomorrow, and hopefully we can get points in the diving, as well. I’m very pleased with the effort in a very fast meet. Most of the time, we were faster and moving up spots on our seed times.”
While only the top eight placements will swim for state titles on Saturday, team points will also be awarded for placing in the top 16. And, that will earn more points for Avon, as well as getting Brownsburg and Plainfield on the scoreboard.
Lewis made two consolation finals by placing tenth in the 200 individual medley and 14th in the 100 butterfly. Jones got his second individual advancement by getting 12th in the 500 freestyle. Avon’s other individual to advance was senior Colin Mothersead, who tied with North Central’s Rawley Davis for 12th in the 100 breaststroke.
The Orioles got two more relay teams into consolation finals as the 200 freestyle relay of Jones, Quinn McPhail, Sprout, and Zack Czerwonky came in 13th, while the 400 freestyle relay of Lewis, Sprout, Jones, and Stowe finished 11th.
“Overall, we swam a lot of events in a measly two hours,” Karr said. “The kids were definitely tired at the end. But, this is what we train for. We will do better tomorrow... I know it.”
Plainfield had just one representative on Friday night, but senior Nick Allen bested two other county rivals and advanced by placing 15th in the 100 backstroke, just ahead of Avon’s Stowe (19th), and Brownsburg freshman Joe Myhre (20th).
Meanwhile, Brownsburg nabbed its lone qualification with a 14th place in the 400 freestyle relay, the last event of the night. Making up that team was Myhre, sophomore Kyle Baney, freshman Vince Partlow, and junior Bradley Green. Myhre paced the effort with a school record time of 47.49 on the opening leg.
That finish put a broad smile on the face of Bulldogs coach Josh Saylor.
“This has been such an exciting season because our guys are so young,” Saylor said. “We really went into it with no expectation, but to get a swim back on Saturday is just awesome. They all swam faster than they did at sectional. Every chance this team gets to swim is a chance to get more experience and build for the future.”
Participating, but not advancing to Saturday swims were Brownsburg’s 200 medley relay of Myhre, Baney, Green, and sophomore Joe Ancel; Avon’s Sprout 24th in the 100 freestyle; and Avon’s McPhail 24th in the 100 breaststroke.