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Central girls step up, help Bulldogs sweep Elwood

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

 Two days after coming up big against Seeger, the Clinton Central girls overcame greater numbers to help the Bulldog swimming and diving teams come up with a sweep against the Elwood Panthers on Monday evening at Michigantown.

The shorthanded Clinton Central girls won 98-72 while the boys earned a dominant, 127-28 victory.

“I am really proud of our girls,” Clinton Central head coach Ken Jones said. “We are outnumbered against every team that we go against, and they know that. Against Seeger, they had 15 girls and we had nine or 10, and we ended up beating them 93-90. And now Elwood has 15 girls and we have nine. So, our girls know that they have to get a lot of first and second places, and they are doing that.”

Brogan Sheets again led the Bulldogs in the girls’ meet, finishing first in the 50-yard freestyle (27.05 seconds) and the 100 freestyle (1:00.08) before helping Kailie Burnette, Mollie McDaniel and Olivia Wyrick win the 200 freestyle relay (1:59.58) and teaming with Kylie Gilmore, Ally Webster and Carly Ellis on the winning 400 freestyle relay team (4:50.09).

Burnette – a freshman – had another impressive outing, winning the 100 butterfly (1:17.47) and the 100 backstroke (1:13.64) after combining with Bailey Deardorff, McDaniel and Wyrick on the winning 200 medley relay team (2:18.01).

Gilmore, another talented freshman, won the 200 freestyle (2:32.26) and the 500 freestyle (6:52.94), McDaniel won the 200 individual medley (2:49.53) and was second behind Burnette in the 100 butterfly (1:22.64), Carly Ellis finished second to give the Bulldogs a 1-2 finish in the 500 freestyle (7:42.50), Webster finished second in the 100 backstroke (1:26.03) to give Central another 1-2 sweep, and Deardorff won the 100 breaststroke (1:26.31).

“We always know that Brogan has to do her job, and Kailie has to do her job,” Jones said.

“We always expect them to do that, and they always rise and shine. But, what is really neat is that we are having people like Bailey Deardorf, Olivia Wyrick, Kylie Gilmore and Carly Ellis – the support people are really moving up and getting first and second places. That is what you really need to have when you have a smaller team to have chance to win. And they are really helping with our relays too. It is neat because it is really a true team effort with our girls. Our top swimmers know they can’t win without these other girls. And these other girls know that they can’t win without them, either, which is a great thing to have, and they are really capitalizing on the last two weeks.

“Emily Ragsdale is a first-year swimmer who just kind of got thrown into this,” Jones added. “She is starting to respond very well and is cutting her time down. She is in events that nobody really likes a lot of times – the 200 and 500 – but she knows she can score points for us, and she is willing to do that. I think that is really cool.”

The boys’ meet was not nearly as dramatic, as the Bulldogs took first place in all 12 events.

“Their time is coming,” Jones warned. “They have Tipton coming (today). Tipton beat Northwestern in every event except for one. So, it is going to be a really tough meet for us. And it is about time. We need to have some really good competition out there.

“I don’t know how they are going to react,” he added. “I hope they rise to the occasion, but they have really not been pushed since the Clinton Central Invitational, and they need a meet like this.”

Winning for the Central boys were the 200 medley relay team of Aidan Hendrickson, Owen Smith, Lane Laughner and Kaleb Boone (1:57.48), Corey Niemann in the 200 freestyle (2:00.12) and the 500 freestyle (5:29.92), Boone in the 200 IM (2:33.47), Erik McCarty in the 50 freestyle (24.60) and the 100 freestyle (54.13), Laughner in the diving event (175.60), Hendrickson in the 100 butterfly (1:00.22) and the 100 backstroke (1:02.86), the 200 freestyle team of Laughner, Boone, McCarty and Niemann (1:42.32), Smith in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.32) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Niemann, Colton Payne, Mitchell Ferrell and Hendrickson (4:10.58).

“I think they all did well. It was a good team effort by all the boys,” Jones said. “Erik McCarty did a really nice job in the 50. He was trying to do the 50 in just one breath tonight, and it was the first time that he had tried it. So, I was real proud of him for that.”

The Bulldogs will be tested today when the travel to Tipton for their meet versus the Blue Devils ahead of next week’s conference meet.

“We are going to have to practice pretty hard because we got hit by that bad weather which set us back a little bit,” Jones said. “It is tough, especially with all of these meets back-to-back, to get good yardage in. We are not going to be able to taper for conference. We are just going to have to work through it. We are not there yet, shape-wise. But, we’ve got to get there.”