Falcons sweep county swim meet

Central's Bethany Neri shows her form in the 200-yard freestyle during the Shenandoah County swim meet held Wednesday night at the Strasburg Recreation Center. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — After losing to Strasburg last year, Central’s girls wanted to get the Shenandoah County swim trophy back, and on Wednesday night they did.

The Falcons won both the boys and girls titles in the Shenandoah County meet at Signal Knob Recreation Center. Central won the girls meet with 88 points, followed by Strasburg with 63 and Stonewall Jackson with 16. In the boys meet, Central had 75.5 points, followed by Strasburg with 48.5 and Stonewall Jackson with 33.

“It’s really exciting to get this title back,” Central senior Bethany Neri said. “I think the girls are always in tough competition with Strasburg and they’re really great competitors. So it is really exciting, especially since our numbers aren’t quite as big. We have to get as much from each and every race as we can. It’s definitely exciting for everyone. I think it really reflects how much work that all of the girls and the guys have been putting in.”

Neri played a big part in Central’s success as she won the 200-yard freestyle (2:27.58) and the 100 free (1:03.69).

She said that in the past the 100 free has been her favorite race, but she said this year the 200 free has become her favorite. Neri also was part of the winning 200 medley (2:16.92) and 200 free (2:02.53) relay teams.

Strasburg's Cassie Cooper competes in the 200-yard freestyle during the Shenandoah County swim meet held Wednesday night at the Strasburg Recreation Center. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I really like the 200 free relay. It’s a really quick one. It’s always really close because it’s such a quick relay,” Neri said. “This year has just been a really exciting year for that. We have some new swimmers on it. Ashley Funkhouser and Lexi Keller, they’re our newbies on that relay, and it’s been really exciting.”

Lexi Funkhouser won the 500 free (6:13.73 and Sydney Crosser won the 100 breast for Central.

Central freshman Dean Woodwell won the 200 individual medley (2:26.66) and the 100 butterfly (1:03.52).

“It feels good,” Woodwell said. “My times were good. I didn’t do my best, but I did well.”

Woodwell was also part of the winning 200 medley (2:02.19) and 200 free (1:43.50) relay teams for the Falcons. Trevor Wolf won the 50 free (23.22) and the 100 free (53.91) and Ethan Coleman won the 500 free (6:13.73) for the Falcons.

Central's Dean Woodwell competes in the 200-yard individual medley during Wednesday's Shenandoah County swim meet in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Central’s boys also won the 400 free (4:06.80), as did the girls (4:44.97).

Strasburg was led by Cassie Cooper on the girls side. Cooper won the 200 IM (2:44.30) and the 100 fly (1:17.43).

Cooper just started doing the 100 fly this season.

“She has been a real bright spot,” Strasburg coach Ina Rae Crisman said. “I put her in the fly, which she wasn’t expecting. I had her in the 50, and I said I’m taking you out and putting you in the fly — look of panic went on her face. She has flourished in her fly. She takes off time every meet we have. She’s taken off at least two seconds every time.”

Nicole Killen won the 50 free (30.06) and Abigail Murphy won the 100 back (1:23.47) for the Rams. Riley Daugherty led Strasburg’s boys by winning the 100 back (1:12.81).

The Rams will be in the Bull Run District meet on Saturday at Manassas Park, before regionals in a few weeks.

“I’m looking forward to [districts],” Crisman said. “We always swim faster down there.”

Daniel Mathes led the Generals by winning the 200 free (2:07.34) and the 100 breast (1:14.86).

“I thought we did well,” Stonewall Jackson coach Diana Knauff said. “We have a really young team, with a lot of newcomers. … We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do in the postseason.”

Like Strasburg, Central will be in the Bull Run District meet Saturday at Manassas Park. The Falcons will then participate in the Conference 28 meet after that, before the Region 3A East meet. Central coach Steve Shaffer said that Trevor Wolf has already qualified for states in the 50 free, and he’s hoping to send eight to 10 runners to states this year.

“It’s just exciting to take so many of these younger swimmers into these bigger meets,” Shaffer said. “The kids have been working very hard all year, and that hard work has paid off. There are so many new swimmers that just came out and filled the cracks and added to it.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com