Monday, January 19th, 2009
By Gary R. Rasberry
Celina boys and girls finish second
  WAPAKONETA - With just two weeks before the Western Buckeye League Swimming Championships, Saturday's Celina-Wapakoneta Swimming Invitational looked to give a sneak peek into the favorites for the WBL title.
As has been the case for most seasons, Shawnee and Celina look to be the top two on the podium.
The Indians and WaterDogs went 1-2 in both the boys and girls division at the Wapakoneta YMCA. The Shawnee girls had a big day, scoring 5631/2 points with the Swimmin' Women well behind with 2931/2. The WaterDog boys also trailed the Indians by a large margin for runner-up, getting outscored 466-275.
Still, Celina swim coach Matt May was happy with his team's effort.
"We had a fairly strong day today," said May. "Had a few best times today. (Toward) the end of the season you start playing around with stuff and move kids around."
The Celina girls had a strong day with several wins. Kirsten Samples captured the 200-yard freestyle, outdueling Shawnee ace Katie Hoops by just under two seconds for the win. Ashley Coon was nearly a second better than Indian Bailey Laban in the 100 butterfly to capture the win.
Samples and Coon then teamed up with Paige Mertz and Courtney McKirnan to edge Shawnee by 0.41 seconds to win the 200-freestyle relay
"That was nice to see going into the WBL championship," said May. "Hopefully, we can take a few of those away from Shawnee. They're loaded. The (Celina) girls 200 freestyle relay really impressed me today."
The Celina boys posted no wins on the day, but big performances abounded. The 200-medley relay, led by senior Jay McKirnan, placed third. McKirnan added a fifth-place finish in the backstroke and a fourth-place showing in the breaststroke.
"Nice to see Jay back on his A-game in the 100 breaststroke," said May. "His backstroke has really been coming on.
"Jarod Ley looked good in the 500 (freestyle) today (placing fifth). Actually, it looks like he could score in the league meet."
May thinks that his squad will give Shawnee a battle at the WBL meet at the end of the month.
"Without diving (the Celina-Wapak meet did not have diving) today, it looks like it will come down to us and Shawnee again," said May. "They look strong. The girls are super deep and strong, and they're going to be hard to beat. Our boys surprise me. I thought they would be fourth or fifth place in the WBL, but they all stepped up and have come together as a team. Jay has done a nice job pulling them together. They're not going to be too far out of first place."
Among the other local teams competing, Coldwater got a big day from Sean Anthony as the AquaCav captured both the 500 freestyle, posting a time of 5:15.76, over 40 seconds faster than the second-best time held by Celina's Kabe Eichenauer, then followed up by out-dueling WaterDog Eric Muhlenkamp by 0.09 seconds to take the breaststroke win.
Michael Travis of New Bremen helped the Cardinal boys to a fifth-place finish, finishing third in the 50 freestyle. The Cardinals' 200-free relay posted a runner-up finish to Shawnee, with Minster fourth.
Parkway got a strong effort from Corbin Hellwarth, who posted a sixth-place showing in the 200 freestyle and followed with a fifth in the breaststroke.
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