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Plano East swimmer goes out on top, locals impress at state meet



PLANO, TX – Plano East’s Trey Dickey saved his best for last.

Swimming the final race of his prolific high school career, the Panthers’ star senior captured a long-awaited state championship after winning the 500-yard freestyle on Feb. 26 at San Antonio’s Josh Natatorium at the UIL Class 6A state meet. Dickey swam a 4:26.77 en route to placing first overall.

“I’m really proud, not just for Trey but for Plano East. I’ve been here seven years and we’ve never had an athlete like him,” said Lena Harrington, East head coach.

Dickey was making his fourth trip to state in as many years on varsity. He competed in the 500 freestyle all four times, including barely missing out on a podium spot after placing fourth as a junior.

He didn’t let his final shot at a state title go to waste, devising a race plan that he followed to a T after taking second in the preliminary round of the 500 freestyle earlier that morning.

“I said, ‘Alright, I need you to not let anyone get too far away from you.’ They all know that Trey has this sixth gear that he finds that no one else has,” Harrington said. “But there’s a limit on it, so he wanted him to keep close. He said that he planned to stick with (Keller’s) Cooper (Lucas) and then win in the last 100. It sounded like a great plan, and he stuck to it 100%.

Lucas had won the preliminary round, besting Dickey by seventh-tenths of a second. The two were in lockstep for most of the finals, with Harrington noting that Dickey followed through on his plan and began to separate over the final 75 yards. By the time the race concluded, he finished 1.6 seconds ahead of Lucas, who took second.

“I’m a pretty mellow coach who doesn’t wave her arms around or yell a lot, and I was jumping up and down,” Harrington said. “I was so excited and proud but also a little sad, considering it was his final race for us. That realization hit pretty hard to be at the end of all those exciting races he’s had over the last four years.”

Dickey added a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:40.07) earlier in the meet, while teammate and junior Gio Linscheer managed sixth in the 500 free (4:31.23) and 10th in the 200 individual medley (1:51.55).

Dickey and Linscheer contributed to a 13th-place team finish for the Panthers with 54 points.

“I was very impressed, not so much because of speed or time but because both our boys were out of the water for eight days leading up to state,” Harrington said. “That’s a really hard thing to recover from, but their attitudes going into state were super positive. They stuck with their race plans and were confident in their training base. They raced well without making any excuses.”

North freshman medals twice in state debut

Like most swimmers who qualified, McKinney North freshman Camille Murray had to adjust her preparations for the state meet due to the winter storms that put high school sports on hold for a week.

Despite not being able to swim during that stretch, Murray wasn’t deterred and performed well beyond her years during her first-ever appearance at state. The freshman medaled in two events in Tuesday’s 5A girls meet, placing second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 butterfly.

“She had a little injury at the beginning of the year so her training was a little off for most of the season,” said Brenda Files, North head coach. “And then the week before with all the weather issues threw a bit of a wrench into things, but she’s such a competitor and I had no doubt that she’d be able to race with anybody she swam against.”

Despite a slow start to the day with an eighth-place finish in the 100 fly prelims, Murray recovered and took third in the finals with a time of 56.32. She later swam a 55.69, a mark Files said was close to a personal best, to take silver in the 100 backstroke.

“She’s a pretty calm kid. She wasn’t too overly excited but had a big smile and was happy to get medals for herself and her school. She’s pretty reserved,” Files said.

Murray alone amassed enough points to claim a 28th-place team finish for the Lady Bulldogs at state. North’s boys competed a few days earlier on Feb. 27 and placed 26th overall thanks to a pair of 12th-place finishes in the 200 medley (1:40.22) and 200 freestyle relays (1:29.99). Junior Barret Smith, senior Dylan Nguyen, senior Beaudy Wollack and senior Joshua Martin swam the 200 medley, and senior Mohammed Hassan and senior Miles Murray joined Martin and Wollack in the 200 freestyle. Smith added 15th place in the 100 backstroke (54.89).

“They did great. I was gone for about six weeks in the fall taking care of my parents, so the McKinney Boyd coach stepped in to cover my kids,” Files said. “I think they benefited from another coach’s perspective and workouts to overcome and adapt. They survived and I think they’re a little bit stronger for it.”

Denton County swimmers take bronze

Student-athletes from Flower Mound and Creekview made their way up the podium at the state meet.

The Lady Jaguars, who cracked the top 10 with a ninth-place team finish, were led by a third-place swim from junior Julia Wozniak in the 100 breaststroke. She swam a 1:04.24 en route to her first individual medal at state.

That was one of three events Wozniak competed in during the meet. She teamed up with sophomore Halina Panczyszyn, sophomore Naomi Shah and senior Riley Edmundson for sixth in the 200 medley relay (1:45.29) and was a leg on the seventh-place 200 freestyle relay (1:37.51) with Panczyszyn, senior Kendal Harwell and senior Rachel Stange.

Stange added 13th in the 100 freestyle (53.11), while Panczyszyn took fifth in the 100 backstroke (56.11).

Creekview junior Anthony Paculba, meanwhile, ascended the medal stand for the first time after placing third overall in the 500 freestyle (4:40.86). Paculba competed in the event at state for the second straight year, placing sixth last season as a sophomore.

Other Denton County swimmers in action included Hebron senior Marian Cheramy, who took 10th in the 200 IM (2:06.71) and eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.83). Marcus junior Sydney Rice added sixth in the 1-meter dive with 421.55 points, while fellow Lady Marauder and senior Kaylyn King managed 10th in the 100 backstroke (58.38).

Prosper ISD headlines Collin County slate

As has been the case in most sports during the 2020-21 school year, Prosper Rock Hill continues to perform like anything but a first-year athletics program. The Blue Hawks posted top-15 finishes for both their boys and girls swim teams at the 5A state meet.

The Lady Blue Hawks took 10th overall and had swimmers competing in five different events. Two were relays, with sophomore Bethany Sitz, sophomore Kiara Xanthos, senior Erin Farlow and sophomore Kasidy Lazarine taking third in the 200 medley relay (1:47.98) and seventh in the 200 freestyle relay (1:40.08).

Xanthos medaled twice for the meet, placing second in the 100 backstroke at 55.69. Lazarine competed in the 50 freestyle (24.57, 10th place) and 100 freestyle (55.25, 14th).

Rock Hill’s boys team, meanwhile, took 15th overall. The program’s top finish came from the diving board where freshman Luke Sitz took fifth in the 1-meter dive with 474.75 points. Fellow freshman Deacon Colbert came in 12th with 312.40 points.

Rock Hill began the meet with a 13th-place swim in the 200 medley relay with junior Ethan Hogan, senior Saxon Boring, sophomore Julian Pala and junior Carson Kieffer (1:40.58) before Pala added ninth in the 500 freestyle (4:48.27) and Hogan took eighth in the 100 backstroke (51.64).

In 6A competition, Prosper’s boys team took ninth overall thanks to a pair of sixth-place relay finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:24.55) and 400 freestyle (3:05.91) with junior Lane White, senior Justice Hunt, senior Mithuun Ramesh and junior Samuel Taylor. White added fifth overall in the 50 freestyle (20.81) and Hunt placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (46.03).

Plano West narrowly missed the medal stand in the 200 medley relay with junior Theodore Chen, senior Antonio Romero, freshman Josemaria Romero and junior Kai Joshi managing fourth place with a 1:32.68. Antonio Romero added fifth in the 200 IM (1:50.55) and 11th in the 100 butterfly (50.66) to pace the Wolves to a 14th-place team finish.

Also in action was Allen, whose girls team took 23rd overall. The Lady Eagles’ top finish came in the 200 medley relay with sophomore Karoline Reeves, junior Catriona Gilmore, junior Natalie Tang and senior Lara Alsader taking 10th with a 1:47.02. That same quartet placed 12th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.76), while Gilmore added 14th in the 200 IM (2:09.07) and Reeves placed 15th in the 100 backstroke (59.79).