Crowning achievement
By: Darrell Hamlett , Assistant Sports Editor

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Oak Ridge's Meredith McCarthy, left, won the regional title in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events in San Antonion on Saturday while TWHS's Ashley McClelland, right, was second in the 50 free and third in the 100 back. (Staff photo by JERRY BAKER)
The Woodlands High School girls swimming and diving team used its depth on Saturday to capture the Region IV-5A championship in San Antonio.
With 12 Lady Highlanders reaching the finals in nine events and two first place finishes in the relays, The Woodlands gobbled up an astounding 400 points to easily outdistance second-place Austin Bowie who finished with 237.

The Lady Highlanders' total combined with the Highlanders boys' third-place finish gave The Woodlands the combined regional title over boys champion Austin Westlake, 618 points to 556.

The relays were key to The Woodlands' victory on Saturday with the Lady Highlanders winning both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle events and finishing second in the 400 freestyle.

The Woodlands girls also swept the top two spots in the 1-meter diving as senior Haley Haynes won the regional title with teammate Vanessa Dantin finishing second. Oak Ridge's Lauren Tucci completed the south county swept as she took third.

Click Here! Individually, Gabrielle Maddalena was the lone regional champion in the pool for the Lady Highlanders as she won the 500 freestyle after finishing second in the 200 freestyle. As the winner at regionals, Maddalena automatically advances to state in the 500. She should also receive a spot at state in the 200 as the next top eight times among the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers from all the regionals are invited to the state meet.

Three other Lady Highlanders earned silver medals as Ashley McClelland was second in the 50 free, Rebekah Bleyl was second in the 100 breaststroke, and Taylor Weber was second in the 100 butterfly.

Oak Ridge's Meredith McCarthy turned in the top individual performance of any county swimmer as she won both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle events. McCarthy also helped the Lady War Eagle 200 freestyle relay finish second and the 200 medley relay finish third.

As a team, the Lady War Eagles finished fifth. The Conroe girls finished 11th as Jessie Sartain, Sara Ghazi, and Danielle Sartini all advanced to finals.

On the boys side, the Highlanders boasted a pair of individual regional champions. Michael Schuber won the 50 freestyle while John VanNatta was first in the 100 butterfly. Other top finishers for the TWHS boys were Drew Livingston in second in diving, David Ulrey in third in the 500 freestyle and Brendan Schilling fourth in the 100 backstroke.

Like their counterparts, The Woodlands boys also did well in the relays as they won the 200 freestyle relay. The Highlanders also finished second in the 400 freestyle relay and third in the 200 medley relay.

The Conroe boys finished ninth as a team as the Tigers were led by Sean LeNeave. The junior finished second in the 500 free and third in the 200 IM. He also helped the Tiger 400 freestyle relay team finish seventh.

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