The Glenvar High School girls repeated as state Class 1&2 swimming champions with an outstanding season ending performance last Saturday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. The Highlanders scored 287 points to 209 for runnerup Strasburg to win going away.
“This meet was originally scheduled for February 11th but because of winter storms it was pushed back twice to March 6th,” said Glenvar coach Shannon Hall. “The Swimming Highlander State Team took advantage of the extra time to better prepare for the meet and heal from some nagging injuries.”
The girls got underway at 6:15 pm and the Highlanders wasted no time claiming their first of six state titles of the night. Reese Dunkenberger, Isabelle Pope, Adrianna Hall and Claire Griffith bested a talented George Wythe team by over two seconds finishing at 1:55.89 in the 200 Medley Relay breaking the school record set by the same four at the State Championship last year. The win tallied 40 points for the Highlanders.
Next up was the 200 Freestyle where Adrianna Hall finished 7th, picking up 12 points for the Highlanders, followed by Carly Wilkes finishing 5th in the 200 Individual Medley for 14 points. Both girls swam well and were just shy of their season best times.
Next, Griffith dove in the water and 25.26 seconds later she touched the wall with Glenvar’s second state title of the night, swimming the 50 Freestyle. Claire dropped .11 seconds from her state champion swim of 2020, winning in back to back years. Delaney Eller set a new personal record in the event at 27.57, finishing 6th. The two girls totaled 33 team points for their effort.
About 30 minutes later Dunkenberger and Griffith were back in the pool swimming the 100 Freestyle. The third state title of the night was the result. Reese won the event for the third consecutive year and Claire was the runner-up for the second year in a row. Reese went 52.78, just shy of her state record time of 52.30 set in 2019. Griffith finished at 55.09, which is 26 seconds faster than her time last year.
The 500 Freestyle is the longest event contested at the High School level. Glenvar qualified two swimmers for the event. Adrianna Hall finished 7th at 6:01.54 just a couple seconds off her entry time and freshman Natalie McMahon marked a new personal record at 6:03.78 finishing 8th. Those two swims were worth 23 points to the team.
The 200 Freestyle Relay is always one the most exciting events. This night was no different as Dunkenberger swam the leadoff leg in 24.49 seconds to put the Highlanders in front and they never surrendered the lead. Eller, Wilkes and Griffith followed to log a 1:44.95 finish and the fourth state title of the night. The time also broke the school record of 1:45.81 set in 2018. Dunkenberger swam on that team as a freshman.
With only a few minutes rest Reese was back in the water for the final event of her stellar High School career and she ended it with another state title, the team’s fifth of the night. The Tulane University bound senior posted a lifetime best of 58.08 and broke her own school record in the 100 Backstroke winning by over four seconds.
The 100 Breaststroke is the final individual event of the evening. Glenvar qualified two swimmers for the event and they didn’t disappoint. Senior Isabelle Pope, in her final swim, posted a personal record of 1:16.85 dropping nearly three seconds off her previous best and finished fourth on the night. Wilkes also swam a personal record time of 1:19.54 and finished sixth.
The 400 Freestyle Relay closed the night and Eller, Wilkes, McMahon and Hall won the race in a time of 4:03.69, giving the Lady Highlanders a sweep of all three relay events.
The final score was Glenvar 287 to runner-up Strasburg 209. Marion, Radford and George Wythe rounded out the top five. 25 schools scored points on the night.
Dunkenberger, a four year letter winner, polished off her High School Career in fine fashion winning five state titles on the night, two individual, two relay and the team championship. All total Reese has won four state individual titles, two state relay titles, two state team titles as well as 5 runner-up finishes.
Senior Pope, also a four year letter winner, won a relay title, team title and medal on the night. Isabelle finishes her career with two team titles, a relay title and four state medals.
The third senior on the state team, McKenna Shearer, is a three year letter winner and 2021 team title holder.
Besides the team champion trophy the girls brought 23 total medals back to Glenvar. 15 of them 1st place.
The boys swam in the afternoon in a state meet divided due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Glenvar boys team got rolling in the first event with the 200 Medley Relay team of Derrick Hall, Zander Honaker, Cooper Campbell and Colvin Delano dropping nearly seven seconds and swimming a season’s best time finishing tenth in the state. Cooper Campbell, the only individual qualifier, dropped ten seconds in the 200 Individual Medley placing fourth.
The next event for the boys was the 200 Freestyle Relay. Hall, Honaker, and Campbell were joined by Tucker Henderson and managed to drop over four seconds from their entry time to place 11th.
The final event for the boys was the 400 Freestyle Relay. Hall, Campbell and Henderson were joined by Jacob Hall. These four dropped over 40 seconds off their entry time and finished 9th.
Overall the boys finished tied for 12th place scoring 59 points on the day. Radford, a fellow Three Rivers District school, won the boys’ team championship.
“The boys hard work in practice and dedication to the team earned them 100 percent best times at the championship,” said coach Hall.
Four of the six will return next year. Two year letterman Derrick Hall and first year swimmer Colvin Delano are seniors.