It was another day at the office for the C. Milton Wright Mustangs boys swim team, once again planting their flag at the top of the UCBAC boys swimming mountain.
On Thursday night at Magnolia Middle School, the Mustangs outlasted 10 other schools to win their seventh consecutive UCBAC boys swimming title. Patterson Mill finished in second with 308 points and Bel Air placed third with 276.
It was a big night for the Mustangs overall, but particularly for junior Kyle Rutherford and senior Ryan Baldino. The upperclassmen won a combined three individual races to go along with their contributions to both relay triumphs. Baldino took home top solo honors in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. For his part, Rutherford placed first in the 100-yard butterfly.
“I just plan the race and when I finally get behind the blocks I just stay as calm as possible and just know that everything is going to work out,” Rutherford said. “I can just try my hardest and be proud of whatever happens.”
C. Milton Wright couldn’t have started the event any better than it did in the opening race of the night. The experienced quartet of junior Kyle Rutherford and seniors Tyler Kosar, Michael Starkey and Ryan Baldino set a new UCBAC record with a time of 1 minute, 43.17 seconds to win the 200-yard medley relay.
“We set a couple of goals at the beginning of the season once we realized the team that we had,” C.Milton Wright coach Alan Hurlinder said. “It was to break all the relay records and that 400 relay, we tried all season and couldn’t do it. So I’m just trilled that we finally got it here.”
The Mustangs weren’t done. They continued to rack up big points throughout the night to further their advantage. Even when the team failed to win an event, a swimmer placed somewhere in the top five in every race.
Make no mistake, though, the Mustangs spent most of the night at the zenith of the awards podium. They took home the first individual event of the evening thanks to the efforts of Baldino. The senior coasted to victory in the 200-yard freestyle, beating out Patterson Mill freshman Issara Ounnarath by 3.59 seconds. That put the Mustangs 24 points ahead of then-second place Bel Air.
The Mustangs did face tough challenges from the likes of Patterson Mill, Bel Air and Harford Tech throughout the meet, but they never relinquished the lead. Despite losing the 200-meter individual medley, third and fifth place finishes by Kosar and senior Jake Schafer, respectively, kept the Mustangs in front. The Mustangs did the same thing in the 50-yard freestyle, the 500-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard breaststroke.
The Mustangs used the final event of the meet to secure yet another championship, breaking another UCBAC record in the process. The Mustangs team shaved 4.29 seconds off of their seed time to finish at 3:20.65 in the 400-yard freestyle relay, shattering the previous mark set by Fallston in 2007. C. Milton Wright rode the tested group of Baldino, Rutherford, Schafer, and freshman Joseph Musante to a convincing win despite an early challenge from Patterson Mill’s Ounnarath, freshman Noah Harley, junior Jack Leary, and junior Alan Nguyen.
“We come to practice everyday with big motivation and smiles on our faces,” Baldino said. “We work really hard as a team, pull each other up and that carries to the meets.”
Swimmers from other schools also earned impressive victories on Thursday. Harford Tech’s Tucker and Mason Young starred with two victories apiece for their school. Tucker finished first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. Mason won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke.
Ounnarath also took home top honors in the 500-yard freestyle. The freshman had plenty of endurance for the long event, pulling away from his competitors and winning by a comfortable 4.06 seconds.
No one could take the spotlight away from C. Milton Wright, though, and the team’s coaches say the team’s string of victories starts with preparation.
“They’re here at every practice, they’re dedicated motivated and they practice hard,” C.Milton Wright coach Debbie King said. “We expect a lot from [the team] and they give a lot back.”
Boys team scores: 1. C. Milton Wright, 356 points; 2. Patterson Mill, 308; 3. Bel Air, 276; 4. Fallston, 237; 5. Harford Tech Cobras, 187; 6. Aberdeen, 162; 7. North Harford, 157; 8. Edgewood, 111; 9. Elkton, 107; 10. Havre de Grace, 92; 11. Joppatowne, 33.
Reach Brent Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports