Woodland swims to 10th at Class S meet

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Woodland's Andy O'Dell fires off the block at the start of the 200 yard medley relay during the Class S swimming championships in Middletown last week. Woodland placed fifth in the event with a time of 1:46.25 and 10th overall at the meet. –RA ARCHIVE
Woodland’s Andy O’Dell fires off the block at the start of the 200 yard medley relay during the Class S swimming championships in Middletown last week. Woodland placed fifth in the event with a time of 1:46.25 and 10th overall at the meet. –RA ARCHIVE

MIDDLETOWN — With one of the smallest rosters at the entire Class S state championship swim meet, the Woodland boys placed 10th of 25 teams in the division last Wednesday at Wesleyan University.

Using the momentum gained when senior diver Steve McCusker grabbed second place and all-state honors at last week’s diving championships, the Hawks earned a number of top-10 finishes to help them rack up 224 points, just enough to edge Northwest Catholic (219).

Weston won the state title with 698 points, followed by a pair of Woodland’s Naugatuck Valley League rivals, Sacred Heart (538) and Holy Cross (472).

Woodland’s 200-yard medley relay team of Andy O’Dell, Alan Katrenya, Aidan Music and Jimmy Jensen — a pair of juniors and a pair of underclassmen — earned the Hawks’ best finish in the pool when they touched fifth in 1 minute, 46.25 seconds. That was about 6 seconds off Weston’s winning time.

O’Dell also fared well individually. The junior All-NVL performer placed eighth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.70 seconds and ninth in the 50 free with a mark of 23.28 seconds.

Music, a sophomore, also qualified for two individual events. He was 15th in the 100 free (52.37 seconds) and 11th in the 100 breast (1:06.70). Music just edged Katrenya, who finished the latter race in 1:07.26.

The Hawks also had two other relay teams perform well. The 200 free relay team of Jensen, Patrick Dietz, Music and O’Dell won the B heat and finished ninth overall with a time of 1:36.46, more than a second better than the squad’s original seed. Woodland’s time was actually the seventh-best mark at the meet, beating two teams that competed in the A heat.

The team of JD Dyckman, Jensen, Dietz and Katrenya finished the meet with a 13th-place showing in the 400 free relay. They finished in 3:49.85, more than 4 seconds faster than the team’s seeded time.

McCusker finished second in the diving event, scoring 326.25 points to become the first male diver in Woodland history to earn all-state honors. He topped everyone but Sacred Heart’s Pete Gallino, who overtook McCusker after the ninth of 11 rounds and won with 362.20 points.

McCusker was the only Woodland athlete who qualified for State Open competition. He earned the Hawks’ only point of the meet last Thursday at Middletown High when he scored 278.75 points. Fairfield Prep’s Jake Bowtell won the competition with 491.10 points, while Gallino was the only other NVL diver to qualify for the competition.