Fallston junior Matt Colly remembers how it felt last year when the Cougars' season and the careers of several seniors ended with a fourth-place finish in the Harford County boys swimming championships.
Determined to erase that feeling, the Cougars sent nine seniors out in style last night as Fallston rolled to its second county boys swim championship in three seasons at Magnolia Middle School in Joppa.
Using depth and sterling efforts to win two relays, the Cougars tallied 281 points, beating runner-up Havre de Grace (203 points) and third-place C. Milton Wright (187).
"This has been an incredible year for the entire team," said Sheri Huppenthal, who coaches the Cougars with Jeff DeHart. "They exceeded our expectations."
Still, the effort of the Cougars boys was not enough to deny C. Milton Wright its fourth straight team title, determined by totaling the boys and girls scores from each team.
The Mustangs ran away with the girls crown by 170 points on Wednesday and the Mustangs boys, which got a first place from Josh Knight in the 200-yard intermediate medley, did more than enough to hold on to the lead.
C. Milton Wright registered 575 total points with Fallston (499), Bel Air (303.50), North Harford (292) and Havre de Grace (233) rounding out the top five.
"Each year, the talent in the county is getting better and it is pushing us to go higher and higher," said Mustangs coach Larry Ashman.
The Cougars' Colly reigned in the 100 backstroke (59.25 seconds) for the third straight year, was second to Bel Air's Tom Lovett in the 500 freestyle and was on both the Cougars' winning relay teams.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Colly made up a sizable deficit on the anchor leg and pushed the Cougars to within two-hundredths of a second of a county record.
"You can't think about [the deficit]," said Colly, whose teammates on both relays were Fuzzy Braun, Wes Huppenthal and Kevin Killeen. "You just have to look at the guy ahead and go for it."