It was an emotional night Monday at Edgewood Middle School, site of a tri-meet between North Harford, Fallston and Aberdeen.
North Harford swimmers competed with teammate Erin Drumm, who is battling leukemia and pneumonia, in their heads and took home two victories. It beat Aberdeen, 113-74, and a short handed Fallston, 117-68, to sweep the tri-meet.
The Hawks cruised by the Cougars, 64-27, on the boys' side and 53-41 on the girls' side. Against the Eagles, the Hawks won, 61-3,3 in the boys' competition and, 52-41, for the girls.
"[The win] feels great," Head Coach Jane Watkins said. "It's a great way to start the holiday and get the kids hope coming into next year."
Watkins said the effort in individual events, which included five victories and various second place finishes, helped her team gain momentum, something it will need to top teams like Bel Air and C. Milton Wright this season.
"I think the [top teams in the county] are always going to be challenging for us, no matter what," she said. "They have a nice size and some awesome swimmers. I think it gives our kids encouragement to work hard."
North Harford had two swimmers record multiple individual event victories. Kyle Russell won the boys 200 free, edging teammate Frank Badders, and cruised to the win in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.22.
Hillary Young won the girls 100 butterfly in 1:05.01, finishing over five seconds before Aberdeen's Kaeli MacDonald (1:10.33). She also touched first in the girls 200 free, beating teammate Perri Freidel.
Lizzie Catrambone recorded North Harford's other individual win, taking the girls 100 backstroke with a time of 1:09.04.
The Hawks added four relay victories, including the girls' and boys' 400 free relay to cap the meet. The boys 400 free relay, which included Grant Badders, finished in 4:01.03, just shy of the team's goal.
"I was tired, but I really toughed it out," Badders said. "It was fun and we were close to getting under four minutes. It was a good win. Hopefully, we can ride this out through the rest of the season."
Fallston came away with six individual victories, led by Coby Bracken, who won the boys 200 individual medley and 500 free. Bracken finished in 5:44.87 in the 500 free, just under 45 seconds ahead of Badders.
"I was expecting to swim pretty well because I've been training hard. The pool didn't feel good, so I wish I could have done better," Bracken said. "I'm still training with my year-round team to try to get better for the championship meets."
The rest of the Cougar wins came from Rachel D'Anna in the girls' 200 individual medley (2:47.50), Allison Grasser in the girls' 50 free (29.35), Elizabeth Massetti in the girls 100 free and Sean Lagan in the boys' 100 breaststroke.
Aberdeen finished second after winning five individual events and two relays. It began with a victory in the girls' 200 medley relay and added a win in the boys' 200 freestyle relay.
Addison Smith (boys' 50 free), Dan Culliman (boys' 100 butterfly), Will Pappas (boys' 100 freestyle), Briann Long (girls' 500 free) and Sophia Dow (girls' 100 breaststroke) all won individual events for Aberdeen.