BILLERICA — The North Reading Wilmington Wild Hornets co-op swim program had a strong start to the season, beating the Shawsheen Tech Rams 158-111 last Thursday in a non-league meet to start the season.
The meet was hosted by Shawsheen, who has a co-ed team, so the Wild Hornets organized a co-ed line up, meaning they had to adjust their typical line up.
That being said, the team was very happy with the results, especially with the all North Reading girls 200-medley relay team of Maddie Koenig, Melanie Feffer, Nicole Steinmeyer, and Brianna Saunders-Correa, who qualified for the North Sectional meet with a time of 2:08.13.
The Wild Hornets also found success in their girls 200 freestyle relay team, with Melanie Feffer, Brianna Saunders-Correa, Oli Grabar, and Kristina Valenti qualifying for the North Sectional meet with a time of 1:56.67.
Grabar also qualified individually for the North Sectional meet in the 100 yard butterfly, with a time of 1:06.06.
“Being able to swim for this team is such a great opportunity, and I’m so excited to be back in the pool,” said Grabar.
Grabar went to both the North Sectional and States meets last year, and there are high hopes for them to return to states this season.
North Reading Team Captain Mary Regan was very pleased with team getting the victory saying, “Our first meet was a strong start to the season and it proved that the team has a lot of potential. We have an incredible group of dedicated and hardworking swimmers and I am confident that this will be an amazing season.”
Junior Captain Jared Benoit, from Wilmington, was also incredibly excited about the results of the first meet.
“The first meet of the season went amazing,” he said. “There are things the team still needs to work on, but overall everyone carries their weight. I’m looking forward to see everyone's improvement. Congratulations to the girls 200 free relay who qualified for sectionals.”
Besides the girls 200-medley relay team coming in first place to begin the meet, many of the other swimmers also had strong performances. Ethan Ryan, a freshman from Wilmington, came in first in the mixed individual 200 freestyle, with a time of 2:04.42, while, Grabar came in third at 2:16.72, and Lindsey Kane of Wilmington, came in fourth at 2:46.88.
In the mixed 200 individual medley, North Reading senior Hannah Lord placed third with a time of 3:26.61, with Captain Mary Regan coming in fourth with a time of 3:38.25.
The mixed 50 yard freestyle had 48 total swimmers, divided into eight heats. North Reading swimmers took the top three places, with Kristina Valenti swimming a 27.14, Christopher Mangano swimming a 28.48, and Benoit coming in third with a time of 28.71.
In the 100 yard butterfly, Grabar took first with a 1:06.06, qualifying them for sectionals, and Nicole Steinmeyer placed third with a 1:12.68.
In the mixed 100 yard freestyle, Kristina Valenti came in first with a 1:00.59, Henry Pelmas came in third with a 1:03.5, Melanie Feffer came in fourth with a 1:04.61, and Benoit came in fifth with a 1:07.10.
North Reading had two swimmers in the mixed 500 yard freestyle, Mangano and Sara Curran. Mangano came in first with a time of 6:55.92, and Sara Curran came in second with a time of 7:40.69.
In the mixed 200 yard freestyle relay, North Reading Wilmington placed first, with an all-male team of Benoit, Pelmas, Mangano, and Ryan, who finished with a time of 1:53.62.
The North Reading/Wilmington girls relay team, who qualified for North Sectionals in this event, placed second, with a final time of 1:56.52.
A North Reading/ Wilmington relay team also finished in sixth, with an entirely freshman roster of Tyler Sheehan, Dylan Tran, Jonathon Mangano, and Aryan Patil, who finished the race with a time of 2:31.14.
The Wild Hornets claimed the top three places in the 100 yard backstroke, with freshman Maddie Koenig placing first, with a time of 1:13.32, Pelmas placing second with a time of 1:18.67, and Brianna Saunders-Correa finishing in third with a time of 1:20.12.
In the mixed 100 yard breaststroke, Ryan came in first with a time of 1:11.08, Steinmeyer came in second with a time of 1:25.58, and Feffer came in third, with a time of 1:28.12.
In the final event of the night, the mixed 400 yard freestyle relay, North Reading/Wilmington came in second, third, and fourth, with Valenti, Grabar, Saunders-Correa, and Ryan placing second with a time of 4:13.44.
In second was Mangano, Steinmeyer, Koenig, and Pelmas with a final time of 4:23.75, and in fourth was Lindsey Kane, Nicole Ekstrom, Joleen Weiss, and Jonathon Mangano, with a time of 5:07.72.
Head coach Sue Hunter was incredibly pleased with the results, saying, “I can’t say enough about the opponent, Shawsheen Tech, with their graciousness in hosting this non-league meet. All of the swimmers on both teams were enthusiastic and team spirit was the winner here. Our team is a co-op and we are really coming together.”
The team’s meet on Friday against Winchester was cancelled and will not be made up.
The team’s next meet will be against Triton on Friday, December 20th at the Reading YMCA.