ORONO — Because of Saturday night’s snowstorm, the Cheverus High administration decided on another night’s hotel stay in Bangor for its girls’ swimming and diving team.
Good thing, because the Stags were in no hurry to leave Stanley Wallace Pool at the University of Maine, not after holding off Brunswick for the Class A state championship, the first in school history for the Cheverus girls.
“We didn’t even think we’d have a chance,” said senior Sarah Nappo, who won the 100-yard backstroke and anchored the concluding 400 freestyle relay to a fourth-place finish that, coupled with Brunswick’s victory, clinched the meet by six points.
“We got on the bus to come,” Nappo said, “and they said, ‘You can win this. You’re set up to win this.’ We were like, ‘That’s insane!’ Because usually it’s our boys.”
The Cheverus boys will have a chance to defend their Class A state title Monday night in Orono. Saturday belonged to the Cheverus girls, who won the opening 200-yard medley relay with a quartet of Nappo, freshmen Abby Longstaff and Gabrielle Cholish, and junior Hattie Train, who made up a half-second deficit to Bangor on the freestyle leg.
Bangor and Messalonskee each had a share of the lead until Cheverus went 4-5-7-13 in the 50 freestyle with Longstaff, Nappo, Train and freshman Carrie Hight to take the lead for good.
Brunswick rallied with victories in both freestyle relays and four scorers in the penultimate event, the 100 breaststroke, to pull within 16 points of Cheverus.
“We made up a lot of ground in the last couple of events,” Dragons Coach Dave Bright said, “but they had a good enough lead at that point.”
Cheverus finished with 294 points to Brunswick’s 288. Bangor, which had won five of the previous eight Class A state meets, was third at 230 followed by Deering (227), Kennebunk (153), Messalonskee (148), Sportsmanship Award winner Massabesic (120), Gorham (117), Falmouth (110) and 15 other schools.
Bangor senior Emma Waddell was a unanimous choice as performer of the meet. Pushed by Brunswick freshman Caitlin Tycz in the 100 butterfly, Waddell broke the meet, state and pool records with a time of 54.49 seconds.
Tycz also went under the state mark with 54.78. Waynflete senior Colby Harvey swam a time of 55.72 as a sophomore.
“It’s nice that we’re friends in a race like that,” said Waddell, who embraced a squealing Tycz after both saw their times. “I had tears in my eyes. She was shouting.”
“Those are the moments we live for,” said Tycz, who won the 50 freestyle and anchored both winning free relays for Brunswick.
Waddell also won the 200 individual medley in 2:04.83, missing by two-tenths of a second the state record set by Jenni Roberts of Sanford in 2010.
Roberts, swimming for the University of New Hampshire, had set the butterfly record at Wallace Pool that Waddell broke by one-hundredth of a second Saturday night.
The only other double individual winner was Bangor freshman Hannah Wood, in the 200 and 500 free.
Edward Little junior Olivia Paione won the 100 free and Messalonskee junior Kristy Prelgovisk took the 100 breast.
In diving, Falmouth sophomore Charlotte Janelle won for the second year in a row, this time with a score of 356.75 points despite a bruise on her left heel that pained her with each bounce on the diving board.
“I’ve been skipping a lot of practices,” said Janelle, who wore a gray plastic boot and used crutches after her competition ended. “So this was pretty good.”
Junior Courtney Kane and senior Lilly Lehto placed third and fifth in diving for Cheverus, which lost 12 potential points in butterfly when Cholish was disqualified for a one-hand touch.
“We had a little hiccup,” said Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley. “We can’t control our past. We can only control our future. Other kids picked up where she left off, and it was really a whole team effort. It wasn’t just about our studs. It was all about everybody.”
Indeed, Cheverus placed at least one swimmer in the championship heat of eight in every event, and took third and fourth in the 200 and 400 free relays.
“I knew we had a lot of depth,” early in the season, Haley said. “A lot of freshmen came to us, and our diving program has been unbelievable. So the balance of swimming and diving has been a true blessing.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: