Local swim teams ready to compete in state championships

Ashley Funkhouser


All four area public school swimming teams will be well represented at this week’s state swim championships.

Central’s Ashley Funkhouser and Sherando’s Daniel Milburn lead the way for the area swimmers. The Group 2A meet is today in Christiansburg with the Group 4A meet being held Friday in Richmond.

Funkhouser won the Group 2A 50 freestyle last year, and she won the Region 2A titles in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle on Feb. 4. She will also swim in the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.

Central coach Steve Shaffer said that Funkhouser has very high expectations.

“Ashley’s goal all year has been to win both the 50 and 100 free this year. State records in both would be icing on the cake,” Shaffer said. “Ashley has been handling the pressure all year. Worked incredibly hard to build up her endurance to maintain her top form through not only her individual events, but also the team’s relays. She has to swim at a very high level through the four events in the morning, then repeat it all at night. I believe she is ready and up for the challenge.”

Daniel Milburn

Milburn finished seventh in the 200 IM in the Group 4A state meet last year. This year he qualified in every event, but he will swim in the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle in this week’s state meet. He will also be in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

The senior finished fifth in the 200 IM this past weekend in the Region 4A West meet, even though Sherando coach Joe Knight said he’s been sick for a couple of weeks.

“We’re confident he’ll swim much better than his seed times going in, and the logistics of how the meet is actually run will allow him some time to recover and prepare for anchoring our freestyle relays,” Knight said.

Central will have plenty of swimmers besides Funkhouser performing in the Group 2A state meet.

Freshman Anna Jeffrey will swim in the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke and Sydney Crosser will participate in the 100 breaststroke.

Central qualified its 200 medley relay team of Jeffrey, Crosser, Audrey Johnston and Winter Ruhling. Carly Boyce, Crosser and Ruhling will join Funkhouser on the 200 free relay team. Funkhouser, Crosser, Ruhling and Jeffrey will swim in the 400 free relay.

On the boys side, Central’s Dean Woodwell will swim in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Central’s Graham Wenn qualified in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Jeremy Racey will swim for Central in the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Central’s Cliff Croom will swim in the 100 breaststroke and teammate Chase Rimel will swim in the 500 freestyle.

Central qualified all three of its relay teams. Racey, Croom, Jonah Neri and Rimel will swim in the 200 medley relay. Neri, Croom and Wenn join Woodwell in the 200 freestyle relay, and Woodwell, Neri, Wenn and Racey will swim in the 400 freestyle relay.

Sherando’s Ayman Ibrahim will join Milburn in the 100 freestyle and will also be in the 50 freestyle.

Sherando qualified all three of its relay teams. Gregory Alan, Matthew Pham, David Restrepo and Hunter Mayo will swim in the 200 medley relay. The 200 and 400 free relays will consist of Ibrahim, Mayo, Restrepo and Milburn.

Sherando senior Abby Sears will swim in the 100 breaststroke. Last year she finished seventh in the state meet.

Freshman Jordyn Jones will swim in the 100 backstroke for Sherando at this week’s state meet. She placed ninth in the regional meet.

Sears, Jones, Kyra Schultz and Gracie Twigg will compete in the 200 medley relay at the state met for the Warriors.

Knight said he’s optimistic the Warriors can have a good showing at the state meet.

“We always feel we can drop time in this meet,” Knight said. “The kids love the pool and had a great experience there last year. We always look to our seniors to lead the way and be role models for our younger swimmers, and this year is no exception.  With Abby (Sears), Daniel (Milburn), David Restrepo, Hunter Mayo, and Greg Alan there, our younger swimmers are bound to gain valuable experience and swim well.”

Strasburg’s Nathan Hershey will swim in the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. He will be joined in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays by Logan Smalls, Nathan McDonald and Xavier Marchon.

The Rams also have six girls in the state meet. Cassie Cooper will swim in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Haleigh Mills will swim in the 500 freestyle.

Strasburg qualified all three girls relay teams. Cooper will be joined in the 200 medley relay by Niki Funkhouser, Abby Davis and Tessa Hockman. The 200 freestyle relay will consist of Cooper, Funkhouser, Hockman and Caitlin Hart. The 400 freestyle relay will consist of Davis, Hockman, Hart and Mills.

“I think Nathan Hershey has a real shot at a medal in the 500 free (top 8 get medals), and possibly in the 100 back,” Strasburg coach Ina Rae Crisman said. “If Cassie (Cooper) swims the way she’s capable of she could do well in her individual events. I believe all the girls relays could have a really good day and come home with some hardware, especially the 200 free relay.”

Lukas Fultz, Don Keith, James Clark and Evan Araujo will swim in the 400 freestyle relay for Stonewall Jackson. Garrett Estep is the alternate. It is the only event the Generals will compete in.

“There are a lot of great swimmers they have to compete against. All I ask is they do their best and be proud they made to the state competition,” Stonewall Jackson coach DeeDee Knauff said.

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