Behind a dominant effort spread between several different events, the Patterson Mill Huskies ended C. Milton Wright’s seven-year reign atop the podium on Wednesday night by scoring 357 points to capture this winter’s UCBAC boys swimming championship.
The defending-champion Mustangs did come in second with 301 points — helping the school win the overall championship thanks to the girls winning as a team a night earlier — and the Bel Air Bobcats (256) finished third for the second consecutive year.
“The boys really worked hard this year,” Patterson Mill coach Dan Colopietro said. “They were really motivated. We had a really strong team; we had some freshman boys and we had some senior leadership as far as the juniors and the seniors and they worked really hard and that kept the team really tight and really helped. Especially with the relays, they were swimming for each other.”
The win for Patterson Mill comes a year after the Huskies finished runner up to C. Milton Wright, which looked strong again at the beginning of this year’s meet as well. The Mustangs took the 200-yard medley relay to score 40 quick points. But from there, the rest of the field took over, especially Patterson Mill.
Following the opening relay, the Huskies claimed six of the remaining nine events, including two individual wins apiece by sophomore Issara Ounnarath (200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle) and junior Alan Nguyen (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle).
Even in the races the team fell short in, a Patterson Mill swimmer finished somewhere in the top four to grab necessary points to maintain its advantage over the Mustangs.
“Honestly, I was here more to have fun than to win,” Nguyen said. “It feels great to have done both.”
Ounnarath’s performance in the 500-yard freestyle was especially impressive considering he entered the championships with the third-best seed time (5:11:88) in the field. To pull off the slight upset, Ounnarath shaved his final time down by 7.32 seconds to give his school 20 points and some much-needed separation.
“I made sure to eat a lot of healthy foods, stretch and stay hydrated” said Ounnarath. “I made sure that my sleeping schedule was the right amount. I needed to be well rested and I came in ready to swim my heart out and not worry about times or the scoring.”
Outside of Patterson Mills’ string of wins, Elkton senior Nolan Clancy picked up two wins. He outlasted the Patterson Mill duo of senior Jack Leary and sophomore Noah Harley to take home the 200-yard individual medley. Then later he raced past Fallston junior Calvin Grier and Patterson Mill junior Molrakot Ounnarath in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Also, Harford Tech junior Mason Young broke away from the field to claim the 100-yard backstroke.
The night, though, belonged to Patterson Mill.
Nguyen and Ounnarath’s efforts combined with solid performances by swimmers like Leary — who won the 100-yard butterfly — and Harley — who ended the night with two top-three finishes — was just too much for any other team to overcome.
The meet did remain relatively close up until the 400-yard freestyle relay, and fittingly, it came down to Patterson Mill and C. Milton Wright.
In what served as an apt metaphor for the proceedings, both schools started off relatively side-by-side, with the Huskies slightly ahead. But as the final race went on and the crowd cheered at the anticipation of a new team coming out on top, Patterson Mill pulled away.
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The Huskies’ time of 3:22:29 in that 400 free relay ended up setting a new Harford County record.