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Laurel all-stars make final summer splash

Laurel all-stars make final summer splash
West Laurel swimmer Kellianne Venit receives a team spirit award Prince-Mont Spirit Scholarship award at the all-star meet at Bel Air Swim and Racquet Club. Venit will begin her freshman year at South Carolina University in the fall (photo by Daniel Kucin Jr.)

Megan Reyda was 8 years old when she qualified for her first All-Star meet in the Prince-Mont Swim League.

She missed out when she was nine but has been good enough to take part in the end-of-season event every year since, with her last performance at the All-Star meet coming at the age of 18 on July 26 for Russett.

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"I am going to miss the people and having fun," says Reyda, a graduate of Meade High who swam four years in high school. "I have gotten really close with the people on my team. I am going to miss my teammates."

Reyda was 13th in the 15-18 girls 100 free and 16th in the IM in the All-Star meet at Belair in Bowie.

Other top Russett performers were Dominic Kazzi, who was first in the 9-10 breast, second in the free and third in the fly; and Anthony Kazzi, who was third in the 11-12 breast.

The boys 200 free relay team of Dominic Kazzi, Anthony Kazzi, Tavon Thompson and Tyler Reyda was sixth.

Megan Reyda will be a freshman in the fall at James Madison University, where she will study nursing and perhaps take part in club swimming.

"Going into college I never focused on a school for swimming. I focused more on my major," she said.

In her last All-Star meet, she qualified for the 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter IM and the graduated free relay.

Her brother, Tyler, a student at Meade High, also swims for Russett.

"She has always been a strong swimmer," says Vanessa Cox, the long-time Russett head coach. "She has been instrumental in a lot of the wins for the team. With her longevity, she has such a rapport with the team."

"A lot of the younger kids want to emulate her. She could have been a Division III swimmer without a doubt and possibly Division II," added Cox.

Kellianne Venit of West Arundel finished her career as well and took part in three events, with her best finish coming in 14th in the 50-meter back among 15-18 girls.

She completed her 15th season at West Arundel and was the female winner of the Prince-Mont Spirit Scholarship Award ($500) given out on July 26.

She will be a freshman in the fall at the University of South Carolina, according to her West Arundel coach and father, John Venit, who is also the long-time coach at Laurel High School.

The boys winner of the scholarship was Dennis Witol of Belair in Bowie.

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Top finishers for West Arundel included Michael Venit (second in fly, fourth in breast and 15th in free in boys 9-10); William Kendrick (second in breast, fourth in back and seventh in free in boys 9-10) and Jay Venit (fourth in breast, 13th in back and 10th in IM in boys 15-18).

West Arundel's Noah McMahon was eighth in the free and 16th in the back in U-8 boys; Ryan Webb was ninth in the fly, 15th in the free and 13th in 100 IM in 15-18 boys; and Andrea Sturgis was ninth in the 100-meter freestyle in girls 15-18.

Montpelier's Suzannah Mills was first in the girls 13-14 IM and second in the back and teammate Zoey Rutherford was first in the U-8 girls breast. "She had incredible race," Montpelier coach Brian Abdo said of Rutherford, who was seeded third and dropped nearly two seconds in the event.

The top swimmers for West Laurel were Erin Kane (15-18 girls), who was second in the fly, third in the IM and fifth in the breast; and Cara Samson (13-14 girls), who was sixth in the free.

The top swimmers for Laurel City in the All-Star meet were rising Reservoir High sophomore Eanna Hehir-Keys (15-18 girls, seventh in breast, eighth in free and 13th in IM); Ava Hehir-Keys (9-10 girls, 16th in free and 15th in breast); Allison Wagner (13-14 girls, 18th in breast); and Nixon Franco (11-12 boys, 16th in back).

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