Jennings girls win first and last relays to salvage split of meets with Stars

BNL freshman Ava Lipp churns through the water while winning the 100 backstroke. Lipp won two races, but Jennings County pulled out a dual-meet win over the BNL girls on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence was just a little too anxious to end a dual-meet slump. Thus the Stars left the water a little slump shouldered.

Jennings County won the first relay – thanks to a BNL disqualification – and the last to squeeze out a three-point victory over the Stars during the girls meet on Tuesday night. The Panthers won the girls meet by a slim 87-84 margin, while BNL cruised to a 116-51 triumph in the boys meet.

The Stars, seeking their first dual triumph in two years, won five individual races in the girls contest, but the Panthers swept the relays and won uncontested in the diving to record important points that determined the heartbreaking final outcome. Oh, so close. The lost points in the 200-yard medley relay proved vital.

“Overall, the girls did a great job,” BNL coach Adam Young said. “It hurts to lose a meet like that, but that’s why you don’t do that. There’s no amount of time, even if they perfect that start, that they won’t make up in the water. We had the time to win the medley, a season-best time for them.“

In the water, the Stars were fast, led by senior Emma Gabhart and freshman Ava Lipp, both winning twice. Lipp touched first in the 200 individual medley in 2:37.25, then came back to win the 100 backstroke in 1:09.16. Gabhart took the 200 freestyle (2:02.91) and 100 free (56.41).

BNL’s Cookie King comes up for air while winning the 100 butterfly.

“Ava did well,” Young said. “I feel confident, by the time the sectional comes around, she’ll be well below that time.”

Cookie King was the other winner for BNL as she claimed the 100 butterfly (1:09.10).

In the boys meet, BNL dominated with nine victories, including a relay sweep.

Double winners included Trey Kimbley (1:58.80 in the 200 free and 1:11.44 in the 100 breaststroke) and Cole Baker (53.85 in the 100 butterfly and 57.78 in the 100 backstroke).

“The boys finally had a meet where I’m very happy,” Young said. “We’ve had some problems showing up for races, we’ve gone faster in practice than the meets. We broke through tonight and had some real nice swims in the relays.”

Other winners included Garrett Gabhart (23.38 in the 50 free) and Isaiah Eicle (52.24 in the 100 free). Gabhart, Baker and Eicle teamed with Hayden Puckett to take the 200 medley relay (1:46.80). Kimbley combined with Carson Puckett, Oliver Brown and Hayden Puckett to win the 200 free relay (1:45.05), and BNL capped the night with the 400 free relay (Gabhart, Kimbley, Eicle and Baker in 3:24.47).

The Stars will host Columbus North on Saturday.

BNL’s Trey Kimbley won two races as the Stars dominated the boys meet.