Sea Lions outlast Livonia, Palmyra-Macedon, smash records to successfully defend throne, become Class C Champions for 3rd consecutive season
By Chris Brooks, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
WEBSTER — In recent years, the Wellsville Sea Lions have blossomed into one of Section V’s perennial powerhouses in the water. Over the course of time, and with more and more incredible talent making its way through the pipelines, their emerging presence began to take full effect.
For the past two seasons, they have found their way to the top with back-to-back LCAA titles, and then with two straight Section V Championships in the wagon, the three-peat now became a real possibility.
The chance to complete the historic feat came Friday night at the Webster Aquatic Center.
Behind a dominant performance that they have supplied all season long, it was only appropriate that the Sea Lions were rewarded again with another incredible season, as they collected multiple Top 5 finishes including a two-time Sectional champion in Hayden Waldon to pave the way towards a 391-point first place team finish to lay claim on the program’s third straight Class C Championship over Livonia and Palmyra-Macedon.
“When I first started coaching, winning a League meet seemed out of the question, let alone a Sectional title,” said Sea Lions coach Steve Hand. “Now to have watched these girls capture a third Sectional title is awesome. The dedication these girls have to get in the pool and work hard every day continues to amaze me. The first race of the meet, Tiernee (Brandes), Hayden, Grace (Kinnicutt) and Morgan (Mattison) shattered their old record by two seconds to set the tone. The girls never let up gaining points every race.”
The tone was set for the Sea Lions out of the gate, starting strong with a 200 medley relay victory from the team of Tiernee Brandes, Hayden Waldon, Grace Kinnicutt and Morgan Mattison raced to victory with the first of two record-breakers, finishing with a time of 1:57.18. Waldon would then go on to add Sectional titles herself individually, scoring one in each half of the meet with the first coming in the 200 individual medley (2:20.44) and the last later, in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.62).
Following the top finishes of the night, Wellsville would add multiple Top 5 finishes along the way — 17 total, to be exact, with multiple Sea Lions recording at least two alongside Waldon.
Among them, the team would record a pair of second place finishes in the remaining relay events — the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. Individually, Isabelle Hart recorded a second place finish in the 200 individual relay to help lead the way in the secondary finishes. Adding help along the way were Mattison, Kinnicutt and Kaylee Oswald, who all had second and third place finishes each, with Mattison placing second in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle.
Kinnicutt would follow with a record-breaking second place finish in the 100 backstroke, breaking her original record set during the preliminary meet earlier in the week, following up with a third place finish in the 100 butterfly, while Oswald recorded a second place finish in the 100 freestyle and third place finish in the 50 freestyle.
Other individual dual-finishers for the Sea Lions include: Ashley Oswald (Diving, third place), Allie Bidzerkowny (fourth place 200 IMR, fourth place breaststroke), and Tiernee Brandes (fourth place 200 freestyle, fifth place 100 backstroke).