Swim team competes at state meet

Reagan Ruff, Staff

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The Starkville High School Swim team competed in the MHSAA State Championship Saturday, October 27. Thirty-six girls’ teams and 34 boys’ teams competed in preliminaries which were held Saturday morning. The top eight finishing times in each event advanced to finals. Twelve girls’ teams and 18 boys’ teams advanced to finals including the Jackets and Lady Jackets.  
The Starkville swim team is coached by Angela Hobart and Russell Dumas.  
“Coach Hobart and I were very pleased with our showing at the 2018 swimming state championship. We had three girls’ relays, two boys’ relays and three individuals to final, which exceeded expectations of our young team. We are grateful for the contributions of our graduating seniors and look forward to returning a young talented group for the 2019 season,” Dumas said. 
At finals the girls team placed 8th overall. Arianna Dyess, Jessica Yan, Kaylie Beth Hobart, and Hailey Locke placed sixth in the 200-yard Medley relay with a time of 2:00.31.  
“This year we did a lot of changing in the medley relay to find the perfect fit, but I think that the finals switch we did was the best switch and our team got a best time and I couldn’t be happier for my girls,” K. Hobart said.  
Yan placed eighth in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:24.45. Yan, Cate Nobles, Hobart, and Locke placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:49.33.  
Yan swam the 100-yard breast and placed seventh with a time of 1:14.61. Locke, Dyess, Nobles, and Hobart placed sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 4:00.96, another season best. 
Hobart, team captain of the Lady Jackets, competed in her last race as a high school swimmer. 
The past six years being on this team have meant the world to me. I will miss the team but I know they will continue to carry on the Yellow Jacket legacy,” Hobart said. 
The Jacket boys’ team, with a pre-seeding projection to not make finals, finished 17th overall.  
Colin Kennedy placed eighth in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:13. Kennedy, Thomas Henry Tucker, Elvin Sabanadzovic and Izak Hanson, seeded ninth,  placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:41.51.  
That same relay combination also placed eighth in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a season best time of 3:43.78, a cut of 20 seconds from the Northwest Rankin meet just three weeks before. Tucker is the Jacket team captain. He said this state meet was very special to him because it’s been his first year as captain. 
“The whole team has worked harder than we ever have preparing for state meet. All the early practices and all the pain we went through to get our bodies to where we needed them to be was all worth it after the meet, Tucker said.  
Hobart has been coaching the Starkville swim team for 13 years. She admitted going into the season, she could foresee some challenges with such a young team, especially for the boys. 
“Early in the season, we had a rocky start. Our swimmers are inexperienced and young, which is a huge contributor to the mental side of swimming,” Hobart said. 
Hobart said the coaching staff set the bar high with the expectation of making state, but the team exceeded that expectation by not only advancing to state, but by making finals and scoring.  
“We have five seniors on the team, all girls, two of those girls just a huge component in the relays. The boys’ team is so young, and by looking at the seeding of the meet, they were not supposed to make finals. They really stepped up. There is something to be said about this team,” Hobart said. 
Hobart admits that next year’s team will be a different dynamic, but she projects another team of state finalists. 
“I’m really going to miss my seniors, they are what made this team so strong, but I truly believe the young swimmers have been inspired and are ready to step up into the team I know they can be.” 

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