02/02/2020 — The Lady Bulldogs repeat as UIL Region 6-5A champions on Saturday by defeating Friendswood 431 to 380, while the boys had a strong showing finishing fourth behind Kingwood Park, Grand Oaks and Friendswood at the Michael D. Holland Aquatic Center.
Swim and dive athletes from twenty high schools competed at the two-day meet on the MHS campus for event wins, team points and also a top-two finish to automatically qualify for the UIL 5A State Championships to be held in Austin on Feb. 14 and 15.
Athletes also have a potential for spot at the state meet with the call-up process. To be a call-up, athletes must have competed in the A Final (i.e., top eight) and have a top eight time or score across all eight regions after all the automatic first and second place qualifiers from each of the regions. An official call-up list will be published early this week.
Jada Shorter started the points scoring and state lineup for the Bulldogs on Friday night with a second-place finish in the one-meter dive. The junior’s district and region performances position her well for state, which included a school record at districts.
In the pool, the point tally for the Lady Bulldogs began when freshman Sarah Culberson (back) and juniors Presley Heitzmann (breast) and Kailey Turner (fly) joined senior Olivia Gonder (free) to finish second in the 200-yard medley relay.
Turner and Gonder along with freshman Claire Culberson earned individual victories.
Turner did it in a come-from-behind fashion in the 200-yard free, while Culberson (500-yard free) and Gonder (100-yard breast) went out quick and never looked back for their victories.
Gonder will also be state-bound with her second-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley.
Turner also lowered her own school record in the 100-yard butterfly on route to a third-place finish behind some Friendswood speedsters. The record-setting swim by the junior is a time that will probably get her called up to the state meet.
Culberson will also likely be a call-up in another event based on her fourth place in the 100-yard breast, which she did with a personal best time.
Also stepping to the top of the podium was the girls’ 200-yard free relay team. Seniors Salina Damas, Abby Portwood and Madi Kohlmeyer joined junior Noelle Marsh for an exciting 0.24 second win over Montgomery.
Coming close to individual wins were freshman Sarah Culberson and juniors Noelle Marsh, Presley Heitzmann and Gustavo Ott, who all made the state team with second-place finishes.
Culberson, who finished third in a tight and fast 200-yard individual medley battle, placed second in the 100-yard backstroke, while Marsh finished second in both the 50-yard and 100-yard free sprints.
Both swimmers automatically qualify for the state championships with their second-place performances. It is highly likely Culberson will be called up to state to swim the 200-yard individual medley based on her third-place time, which will be strongly competitive when stacked up against the other regions.
Heitzmann earned her silver in the 100-yard breast with a hard-charging last 25 yards to automatically qualify for state, while Ott earned his state qualifications in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard free, which are the events he swam last year at state.
The girls ended the meet with a season-best time and second-place finish in the 400-yard free relay, as Gonder, Turner, Sarah Culberson and Marsh had an exciting battle with Friendswood.
Fourth was the boys’ number on Saturday. That’s exactly the spot they finished overall at the end of the day against 20 high schools and also in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard relays. For the relays, it was the same foursome.
Gustavo Ott and fellow juniors McKinley Mouton and Cooper Waybright joined sophomore Nathan Scott to start Saturday’s finals off with a fourth place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.
The same young men (just in a different order) ended the meet with another fourth place. This time in the 400-yard free relay, where they had an exciting race against their crosstown rivals, Magnolia West, for third place.
Fourth was also the finishing place for Mouton in the 100-yard breast, which puts him on the radar for a potential state call-up.
Next year looks good for a team of boys that doesn’t lose anyone to graduation, and it is a group that is seeing lots of promising progression across the roster.
Bulldogs' top-16 performances are listed below. Be sure to read coverage in the Conroe Courier and check out the photos from the meet on the team's Shutterfly site (thank you, Michelle Waybright!).
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS
As always, the team thanks the many volunteers for helping us manage this very large meet, which included operations, concessions, awards, etc. We could not have done this without you. We also are grateful for our sponsors (below). Be sure to support them, as they support us.
- The Adventure Begins --- Comics, Games and More
- R Group Realtors, Joe Mark and Kimberley Robinson
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BULLDOGS SCORING RESULTS (TOP 16)
Careful attention was put into identifying our point scorers (below). Let us know if we accidentally missed any results (email@example.com) so that we can update this list.
1st — Claire Culberson (500-yard free)
1st — Olivia Gonder (100-yard breast)
1st — Kailey Turner (200-yard free)
1st — Girls’ 200-yard free relay (Damas, A. Portwood, Marsh, Kohlmeyer, Tice)
2nd — Sarah Culberson (100-yard back)
2nd — Olivia Gonder (200-yard IM)
2nd — Presley Heitzmann (100-yard breast)
2nd — Noelle Marsh (50-yard and 100-yard free)
2nd — Gustavo Ott (200-yard IM, 500-yard free)
2nd — Jada Shorter (one-meter dive)
2nd — Girls’ 200-yard medley relay (S. Culberson, Heitzmann, Turner, Gonder)
2nd — Girls’ 400-yard free relay (Gonder, Turner, S. Culberson, Marsh)
3rd — Sarah Culberson (200-yard IM)
3rd — Kailey Turner (100-yard fly)
4th — Claire Culberson (100-yard breast)
4th — McKinley Mouton (100-yard breast)
4th — Boys’ 200 yard medley relay (Ott, Mouton, Scott, Waybright)
4th — Boys’ 400-yard free relay (Mouton, Scott, Waybright, Ott)
5th — Presley Heitzmann (200-yard IM)
5th — Cooper Waybright (200-yard free)
6th — Salina Damas (50-yard free and 100-yard free)
6th — Abby Portwood (200-yard IM)
7th — Erica Field (100-yard back)
7th — Nathan Scott (200-yard free)
8th — Liv Flores (500-yard free)
8th — McKinley Mouton (50-yard free)
8th — Kelsey Portwood (100-yard breast)
8th — Nathan Scott (100-yard fly)
9th — Abby Portwood (100-yard fly)
9th — Tanner Howse (200-yard free)
10th -- Cooper Waybright (500-yard free)
11th — Isabelle Draeger (100-yard back)
11th -- Tanner Howse (500-yard free)
11th — Briana Simon (one-meter dive)
11th — Dylan Gregg (200-yard IM)
12th — Boys’ 200-yard free relay (Howse, Gregg, Burgoon, Bullock)
13th — Isabelle Draeger (100-yard fly)
13th — Dylan Gregg (100-yard breast)
16th — Kelsey Portwood (200-yard free)