Coming out of the two weeks of it toughest workouts of the season, the timing of the Suburban League Meet might not have been at the best for a beaten up Stow-Munroe Falls squad.
Still, there was plenty for the Bulldogs to cheer about at the league meet, which took place Saturday at Ocasek Natatorium at the University of Akron.
Stow saw junior Alex Cimera won the 100-yard backstroke title and junior Dylan Cossin win the 500-yard freestyle title at the league meet.
Those efforts led the Stow boys to a close third-place finish overall and in the National Conference with 355 points. Stow finished just six points behind Brecksville-Broadview Heights for second place.
Meanwhile the Stow girls finished third in the National Conference and fourth overall with 299 points.
Hudson swept the team titles, as the boys won with 527 points and the girls dominated with 668 points.
"It was nice going into the meet knowing that we beat Brecksville in the dual meet," said Stow coach Ryan Miller of his boys team. "We have the tie for second locked up. I was proud of our guys. I was really happy with how the kids handled adversity.
"We had a few kids coming off some serious illnesses, he added. "It’s better now to have them know how it effects them. We feel like we can do a lot more. The time to swim fast is coming in February."
Backstroke has been Stow boys’ deepest event all season and the Bulldogs pulled a off a huge result at the league meet.
Not only did Cimera win the race in a time of 53.57 seconds, but junior Luke Novak came home second in 56.13 seconds.
The 1-2 finish was bolstered even more when sophomore William Dorenkott finished fifth in 58.46 seconds, giving the Bulldogs 51 points from the 100-yard backstroke alone.
"It’s huge," Miller said. "There are strengths and weaknesses all over the league and we know there backstroke is one of our strength. That’s the beauty of having all those versatile swimmers in there."
Cimera nearly won two individual titles, as he was involved in one of the best races of day in the 100-yard butterfly. Cimera and Brecksville’s Pete Krusinski were side-by-side for the entire race, but Cimera was touched out at the end.
Cimera finished in 51.28 seconds, just .06 second behind Krusinski
"It was a crazy. There were four guys with seed times in the 51s," Miller said. "Alex was just determined. He was trying to hit his goal time. We would have been happy with a 52 or low 53. It’s gets you really excited."
Stow also had freshman Jacob Hickin finished eight in 56.26 in the butterfly.
Jacob Hickin went his second best time ever in the fly," Miller said. "He really wanted to hit that 55 second mark. A 56 is still an amazing time for him."
Meanwhile, Cossin’s brilliant start to the season was capped by an incredible race in the 500. Cossin won the race in 4:48.87, taking the league title by more than eight seconds.
"After that Christmas meet, when put out a 4:43, we were really excited," Miller said. "You never know how the distance group is going to react to training. I’m super proud of him becoming the Suburban League champion. It’s nice to have that breakthrough "
Speaking of breakthroughs, sophomore Keith Turnbull — who is not known as a sprinter — put up a huge performance in the 50 freestyle. He took fourth place in 23.71 seconds.
"It’s hard to call a 50 an off event, because everything in high school is a sprint, but it’s not even his top five," Miller said of Turnbull. "He runs off adrenaline and he came up huge."
Miller noted one of his most proud moments moments at the meet was seeing junior Andrew DeCamp dropped six seconds the 100 freestyle.
On the girls side, Miller noted Stow stepped up to take third position in the National Conference.
"It was a full team effort, Miller said. "We went into our goal was third place. Not knowing what the other teams had, we knew we had to care of business. They had a lot of smart swims. Our relay best time of the season."
Junior distance swimmer Evie Lewis was Stow’s top performer, as she finished fourth in the 500 freestyle in a season-best time of 5:28.
"It was really a top season swim for her. She went into with a completely different approach, which I think helped her to relax," Miller said. "She dropped about 10 seconds off her top season time."
Lewis also earned top 10 finish in the 200 individual medley, taking sixth place in a tiem of 2:22.25.
"All of her strokes have been pretty well rounded. It’s always nice putting her in the 200 IM," Miller said. "It relaxes her mindset for the 500."
Sophomore Olivia Casalinova scored a pair of seventh-place finishes for Stow in her events. Casalinova was seventh in the 50 free in 26.57 seconds and seventh in the 100 butterfly in 1:10.96.
"I’m very confident with what I’m seeing time-wise, attitude wide and performance-wise," Miller said. "The pressure is off and we can just focus on some fast swims. I feel really good about our taper program coming up.
Stow was set to travel to Nordonia Friday at 6 p.m. and the Northeast Classic Saturday at 8 p.m. at the University of Akron.
The Bulldogs return home to Akron General North Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. for a tri-meet with North Royalton and Twinsburg.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO