Hudson boys swimming fends off challenge from rival Stow

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Hudson senior Seth Baylor swims the 100 butterfly during the Explorers' 119-61 win over Stow-Munroe Falls Friday at the Ada Cooper Miller Natatorium. Baylor won the 100 butterfly in 58.91 seconds.

HUDSON — For the past decade, the rivalry between Stow-Munroe Falls and Hudson swimming has been about as competitive as Browns vs. Steelers.

During that time, Hudson established itself among the elite of Ohio high school swimming and has had the number of their rivals to the south.

Much like this year's Browns, however, Stow had designs on beating their nemesis when the two teams met Friday at the Ada Cooper Miller Natatorium.

Instead, the Explorers again asserted themselves.

The Hudson (5-0) boys ended up running away with a 119-61 win. The Hudson girls dominated in a 145-41 win.

Hudson coach Matt Davis was proud of his team's effort.

"I think both teams were looking forward to this," Davis said. "A lot of our teams know each other and are friends. We were excited for the chance to race. I will say the seniors were up for this.

"We haven't had that many meets. This was almost like a practice setting for us, so it was good to just get up and race."

Stow coach Ryan Miller said the Bulldogs were in the midst of a brutal stretch of meets. That stretch included the Viking Invitational at SPIRE Institute Jan. 16 in which Stow set four school records.

"They're hurting right now," Miller said. "We're struggling and our struggles are going to help us when it really counts. As a coach, to see them bringing it and leaving it all in the pool is what I really want to see.

"It's upsetting to lose, but after what I saw last week at Viking, I know that we're going to be fine."

Both coaches were focused on the postseason, but Hudson senior Seth Baylor said this meet "absolutely" means something to both teams.

"Even in other sports, Stow has been our rival for so long," Baylor said. "We knew it was going to be a tough meet. It was a great chance to get up and race against them."

Baylor was involved in the meet's best race: A showdown in the 100-meter butterfly with Stow's Alex Cimera.

The two HEAT teammates were neck-and-neck throughout, but Baylor scored the win in 58.91 seconds, just .04 seconds ahead of Cimera.

"It was a good race. We've competed against each other for years," Baylor said. "We likely won't run into each other [in the postseason], so it was good to race each other in an off event."

Baylor also led a 1-2-3 finish for Hudson in the 50 freestyle, winning in 25.29 seconds.

A week after setting Stow school records in the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Viking Invitational, Cimera scored a win in the 200 freestyle Friday in 2:00.63.

Hudson senior Dylan Albrecht won another close race in the 100 backstroke in 1:03.67, edging Stow state qualifier Luke Novak. Hudson also went 1-2-3 in the 100 breaststroke, led by junior Andrew Constable (1:14.04).

Stow-Munroe Falls senior Dylan Cossin swims the 400 freestyle during the Bulldogs's 119-61 loss at Hudson Friday. Cossin won the 400 freestyle in 4:18:55

Both Davis and Baylor lauded the contributions of Hudson's freshmen, including an outside lane victory from Nolan Tanner in the 100 freestyle (57.35). Freshman Alex Gallagher beat Novak on his way to winning the 200 individual medley (2:13.91).

"The freshmen put up a phenomenal effort tonight," Baylor said.

A week after setting a school record in the 500 freestyle, Stow senior Dylan Cossin won the 400 freestyle in 4:18:55. Stow also won the one-meter diving competition, as junior Loren Culp scored 147.9 points.

Hudson set the tone for the meet in the 200 medley relay by going 1-2. Albrecht, Gallagher, Baylor and Constable combined to win in 1:52.99.

Hudson then closed the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay as Stow's top quartet was disqualified for an early start. Baylor, Roman Sawicki, Andrew Kettler and Gallagher combined to win in 3:48.47.

Stow's state qualifying quartet of Cimera, Novak, Cossin and junior Keith Turnbull combined to win the 200 free relay in 1:44.66.

In the girls meet, Hudson swept the swimming events.

"I think it was just good to come out and compete," Davis said. "We're less than a month away from sectionals It's important to try to work through it."

Hudson got two wins from junior Lucy Reber in the 50 freestyle (28.41) and 100 breaststroke (1:15.99).

Hudson also got individual wins from junior Hannah Weldon in the 200 freestyle (2:21.74), junior Eliana Szabo in the 200 IM (2:32.46), sophomore Marisa Schenberger in the 100 butterfly (1:11:48), sophomore Carrie Caniglia in the 100 freestyle (1:02.29), sophomore Emily Clark in the 400 freestyle (5:01.31) and junior Olivia Pisano in the 100 backstroke (1:09.08).

Despite not winning any events, Miller lauded senior Mollly O'Brien for a good meet. O'Brien took fourth in the 200 freestyle in 2:35.32.

"I'm super proud of the girls stepping up the way they did," Miller said. "We have had a ton of meets to get through."