Fortune 500

By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor

With Austin Strayer in full force, all news has literally become breaking news for the Willard swim team.

The Flashes' junior broke his second school record of the month, taking down the 500 Yard Freestyle mark, amongst his four first place performances in Willard's first place team showing at the Tiffin Invitational, held at the Tiffin YMCA on Saturday.

Strayer swam a record time of 6:05.62, taking first on the day by a comfortable 30.88 seconds. He topped his previous-best effort in the race by 8.98 seconds.

Adding to his big day was a win in the race in which he holds his other school record, the 200 Individual Medley. Strayer's time of 2:29.11 was immediately followed by teammate Levi Hill's 2:37.05 for second place.

He also swam with Matt McCormack, Hill and Gavin Buurma on the 200 Medley Relay team that won by 21.92 seconds (2:06.95). The same four swimmers teamed up to win the 400 Free Relay by over nine seconds (4:11.6).

Willard's boys finished 3-1 in the five-team invitational, topping Fostoria, 57-35, Calvert 62-12 and St. Wendelin, 64-0. They were narrowly edged by St. Joe, 66-56.

The Lady Flashes ended the day a perfect 4-0, with wins of 100-14 over St. Wendelin, 82-58 over St. Joe, 91-36 over Fostoria and 76-57 over Calvert.

Combined, Willard finished 4-0, outscoring St. Joe (138-124), Fostoria (148-71), Calvert (138-69) and St. Wendelin (164-14).

McCormack won the 50 Freestyle in 25.97 seconds and gave Willard two top-three placers in the 500 Free, claiming third at 6:42.1.

Hill contributed first place points in the 100 Butterfly (1:14.27), while Buurma added third place scoring in the 200 Free (2:48.36).

The Willard girls piled up their share of top performances, including four first place finishes. Two of those efforts came from Brittany Robinson, who won the 50 Free (28.85 seconds) and 100 Breaststroke by nearly five seconds (1:25.75). She also joined Shelbie Perdue, Lindsay Holbrook and Jessica Beamer on the winning 200 Medley Relay squad that finished in 2:20.25. WHS was 20.22 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor.

The Lady Flashes' B relay team of Taylor Chaffins, Emily Rothhaar, Kendyll Lykins and Story Smith finished third in the Medley Relay at 2:48.74.

Holbrook won the 200 IM in 2:45.87 and took second in the 100 Backstroke (1:12.15). She, along with Robinson, Chaffins and Beamer, were second in the 200 Free Relay (2:01.91). Chaffins picked up second place points with her 1:39.52 swim in the 100 Free.

Allie Sparr tallied a third place finish in the 200 Free (2:52.87), as did Beamer in the 500 Free (7:51.3). Acacia Smith, Perdue, Chaffins and Sparr combined for third in the 400 Free Relay (5:16.17).

In a span of five meets in January, the WHS swim teams have combined for a 13-7-1 record in dual action. Willard's boys have notched a 6-3-1 mark, while the girls stand at 7-4.

"I'm so proud of the kids," said Willard Head Coach Ashley Wenninger. "Some swam events they don't normally swim, so we could fill up events. I am so proud of my team and what they are accomplishing."

Rounding out the day for the Flashes at Tiffin were the following times:

Girls 200 Free--6th: Perdue (3:04.51); Girls 50 Free--8th: A. Smith (36.23); Boys 50 Free--6th: Eric Hillis (38.22); Girls 100 Free--7th: A. Smith (1:25.36), 8th: Rothhaar (1:43.52); Boys 100 Free--6th: Hillis (1:27.89); Girls 500 Free--5th: Lykins (10:16.61); Girls 200 Free Relay--5th: A. Smith, S. Smith, Sparr, Lykins (2:27.88); Girls 100 Backstroke--6th: S. Smith (1:55.11); Girls 100 Breaststroke--Rothhaar (1:40.64)

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