Western boys’ depth pushes Warriors to 2017 Ben Hair title

Photo by Ashley Thornton

Western Albemarle’s boys swim team has some standouts in the lineup like August Lamb and Noah Hargrove. But it’s the Warriors depth on a squad made up mostly of non year-round swimmers that’s got the most promise.


“We are really deep, it gives me a lot of flexibility with our lineup and we showed that tonight,” said Western coach Dan Bledsoe. “We swam kids in different events tonight to kind of test them out and push them.”


That depth lifted Western past runner-up Albemarle Tuesday night at UVa’s AFC in the Ben Hair Memorial Swim Meet, with the Warriors notching 468 points to Albemarle’s 361 to take the title despite only Lamb and diver William Peritz notching individual event titles, in the 100-butterfly. That talent up top and depth that follows is a big part of the recipe for the defending Group 3A state champions.


“That’s a big strength for us and we have great senior leader that’s kind of rallied everybody together,” Beldsoe said. “It makes practice fun because we really push the kids hard in practice.”


The depth helped Western stack up points in the relays with wins in the 200 medley and 200 free races as well as a third place by their B squad in the 200 medley race. In the individual events, Jack Vaughn took third in the 200-IM and fourth in the 100-breast, Noah Hargrove was the runner-up in the 500 free and Jason Heilman was second in the 100-free. Matt Mandell took second in the 100-breast and Stephane Karp took third in the 100-free. Tyce Winter grabbed third in the 100-breast.


Albemarle, rebuilding after graduating a trio of Division I swimmers off last year’s squad, took second as a team largely on the strength of a win in the 400-free relay and a second place finish in the 200-free relay as well as a dominant performance by Caleb Smith with wins in the 200 and 500-free. Nick Ashby took second in the 200-IM while Joe Keller won the 100-free and took second in the 50-free. Alex Tan grabbed a third pace finish in the 500-free.


Charlottesville finished third as a team with Zachary Greenhoe winning the 100-breast and taking second in the 200-free while Cole McMahon-Gioeli was the runner-up in the 100-fly and 100-back. The Black Knights took second in the 200-free relay and third in the 400-free relay.


Woodberry Forest finished fourth as a team, with Chas Sigloh scoring big with a win in the 100-back and a third place in the 200-free while Charlie Moore and Kyle Floyd each notched third place finishes in the 100-back and 100-fly respectively. The Tigers’ 400-free relay grabbed a runner-up slot and the 200-free relay took third.


Covenant’s Noah Holstege took home the 50-free championship while STAB’s Parker DeViller was third in the 50-free.


Monticello’s Bracken Eddy won the 200-IM and took fourth in the 100-backstroke.


Final Team Standings

  1. Western Albemarle 468
  2. Albemarle 361
  3. Charlottesville 175
  4. Woodberry Forest 163
  5. Monticello 111
  6. Fluvanna 101
  7. St. Anne’s-Belfield 78
  8. Covenant 74
  9. Madison 62
  10. Louisa County 61
  11. William Monroe 56