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Patterson Mill boys out-point C. Milton Wright for District swim title

For the second straight year, the Patterson Mill Huskies held off the stingy C. Milton Wright Mustangs to secure a team championship. This year the Huskies (369.50) won the District VII Boys Swimming Championships in the meet held at Magnolia Middle School.

This is also the Mustangs’ (311) second consecutive second-place finish after taking home the title the previous seven years. The Bel Air Bobcats (277.50) took home third place honors.

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The event was the Harford County championship in the past, but with three Cecil County schools now participating, it’s a District VII event.

Along with top 10 finishes in every event, the Huskies were powered by juniors Noah Harley and Issara Ounnarath, who collectively won five events to push their team over the edge.

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“I’m glad that we could all win, but it was really [about having] everyone together,” Harley said. “Winning is good, but that’s not all. This is a team sport.”

The defending champions started off well enough to begin this year’s meet, as they finished at the pole position in the first three events.

They began their hot streak with the quartet of Harley, sophomores Noah Majka and Ian Saur, and senior Molrakot Ounnarath winning the 200 yard medley relay (1:46.88). The good times kept rolling when Issara Ounnarath, who sped through a number of half his laps before a few of the other swimmers got to the wall, won the 200 yard freestyle (1:52.09). Add in a Harley victory in the 200 yard individual medley (2:10.10) and a few other qualifying finishes, and that put Patterson Mill at 109 points with local power C. Milton Wright staying within discernible view in the rear view mirror.

While they didn’t come out on top in any of the races, the Mustangs largely stuck around thanks to a dearth of strong finishes in those events. In the first four competitions, they finished with eight swimmers in the top 10, guaranteeing them multiple double-digit tallies that kept the score close, including the runner up in the 200 yard medley relay thanks to a false start that disqualified Bel Air.

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The margin shrunk a bit more after the brief intermission by way of a few more top 10 finishes by C. Milton Wright, but Patterson Mill maintained a hold of the advantage thanks to four top 10 showings of their own in the 100 yard butterfly and the 100 yard freestyle despite not winning those events. The closest C. Milton Wright was after the 100 yard backstroke, where Mustangs senior Jayden Slotnick finished third to Harley’s second and brought the score to 293.5-254.

But toward the end, when the Huskies needed their best swimmers to step up in the final heats, and they didn’t disappoint. In the 500 yard freestyle, Issara Ounnarath (5:08.64) again showed his gracefulness in the water, breaking out to an early lead that only lengthened as the race went on, winning by a robust 4.38 ticks and besting his seed time by a little less than a second.

“We had extensive training, we had great coaches,” Issara Ounnarath said. “They made sure we ate right, got to sleep on time, and did our homework before practice.”

After the second break, Harley bested his 57.99 second seed time with a 57.30 effort in the 100 yard backstroke, but narrowly fell short to Edgewood junior Storm Fuller (57-23). Still, it netted the Huskies 17 points and kept the Mustangs to a 40 point distance. But the Huskies clinched it in the final two events when sophomore Noah Majka cruised to victory in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:03.74) and when the foursome of Harley, Issara Ounnarath , sophomore Sean Lipscomb, and senior Jonah Windle did the same in the 400 yard freestyle relay (3:31.29).

“Our boys team is very balanced and we have a lot of depth throughout the entire meet,” Patterson Mill head coach Dan Colopietro said. “We can rely on any given swimmer at any time to fill in and do a good job and place in the top three or four.”

As for the other winners, Bel Air senior Matt Weaver picked up three first place finishes in the 50 (22.67) and 100 (49.95) yard freestyle events, as well as for his role in the 200 yard freestyle relay (1:35.58) alongside junior Jake Harris and sophomores Jacob Barsam and Zac Clark and Aberdeen Eagles junior Eugen Dunca secured the top spot in the 100 yard butterfly (56.20) by a comfortable 4.35 seconds.

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