By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Nothing has topped the weird scale, off the charts in terms of the abnormal and unpredictable, like being a senior in 2020. The virus issues have been no laughing matter.
Bedford North Lawrence got this last laugh. Facing the constant threat of a shutdown and premature ending to the season, the Stars moved Senior Day up a few weeks and celebrated before anything else could be washed away. Take that, COVID.
Honoring their upperclassmen during mid-meet ceremonies, the Stars split meets with New Albany on Saturday. The girls raced to a 100-69 victory, while the Bulldogs posted a 102-78 triumph in the boys meet.
BNL’s six-girl senior class (minus one as Destiny New was home in quarantine protocol) had a major hand in its win. Ursula Patton won two events, Kaitlyn Hackney took the 50-yard freestyle, and that duo helped the Stars win two relays. Allison McIntosh, diver Abbigail Rich and Ashlie Thomas provided depth in the scoring column.
BNL didn’t tempt Fate by waiting until the usual last-home-meet scenario to recognize its seniors. The early honor did not pour water on the emotions of the day.
“It’s been a pretty emotional experience, especially with COVID and everything,” Hackney said. “It’s exciting that we actually made it to this point without anything crazy. That could happen to any of us.”
Patton won the 200 free in 2:08.99 and powered to a triumph in the 500 free in 5:46.59. Hackney won the 50 in 27.91. They teamed with Emma Gabhart and Shelby Slaughter to claim the 200 medley relay (2:03.97) and the 400 free relay (4:06.61).
Gabhart won touched first in the 200 individual medley (2:17.18) and the 100 breaststroke (1:10.32). BNL coach Adam Young was also impressed by individual efforts in other races.
“If I had to pick one swim that really stood out, it was Cami Breedlove in the 100 free,” Young said. “That was a huge drop (1:05.27), very good for her. She’s taken a step up into the A group, and that’s what we need.
“I feel good about where we are. We’re still tinkering with lineups, we’re staring to gel. We’re really looking at the showdown with Jasper (later this month with the sectional rival). We want to have our sectional lineup ready at that point, give it a test run.”
In the boys meet, Alexander Swenson was a double winner in the 200 IM (2:07.93) and 500 free (5:15.41), and he was a member of the winning 200 medley relay (1:48.50). Seniors Adam Tlustek and Isaac Williams recorded best-time drops in their events.
“What I continue to be amazed about is we’re just PR machines,” Young said. “Practices are getting tougher and tougher, and we’re trying to temper expectations. The fact they keep doing it no matter what we throw at them is exciting. I’m over the moon about how things are looking right now.”
Kaleb Kruer was a double winner for the Bulldogs (50 free in 22.28 and 100 free in 50.81).
BNL will return to action on Thursday, hosting Jennings County. The meet was originally scheduled for Tuesday.