Parkview's Ricky Lehner is one of the state's most promising high school swimmers.
Only a sophomore, Lehner set the school record in the 100-meter breast stroke with a time of 58.82 seconds. The previous record was held by 2008 Olympian Eric Shanteau (58.88).
"I think Ricky has been the biggest surprise for us this season -- and last season, too," Parkview coach Jack Gayle said. "He was a talented summer-league swimmer, but I don't think we could've predicted what he would mean to this team in two short years.
"I'm still blown away that he broke Eric Shanteau's record. It's going to take a while for that to sink it."
Here are other swimming surprises:
- Sprayberry's Conner Reyer, who qualified for state in the 100 freestyle and butterfly, has won friends and influenced people with his attitude. "Connor inspires the team with his zest for life and willingness to lead a team cheer at any time during practice and meets," coach Denise Danielson said. "He always has a smile on his face and he spends all practice asking how he can get better and faster. I've coached swimming for 10 years, and I've never had such an outstanding and spirited young man on my team."
- Wesleyan's Anthony McMurry has Gwinnett County's fastest time in the 100 freestyle at 48.03. "[Mill Creek's coach] nicknamed him 'Superman,' while others call him 'A-Mac' or 'SeaBiscuit.' I haven't decided on an appropriate nickname, but I'm just glad he swims for us," coach Colin Creel said.
- Norcross freshman Sarah Murphy swims the 50-meter freestyle (best time is 27.28 seconds) and 100 freestyle (1:00.82). "Many times as coaches we hear about kids who have great times ... but we had heard nothing of her skill," coach Billie Jatko said. "When she showed up at the meets getting times within striking distance of [qualifying for the state meet], we were impressed. We usually expect those times from our kids who swim year-round competitively but Sarah was not a part of that group. Her quiet demeanor hides a strong competitor and 'natural' in the sport of swimming."
McEachern’s wrestling team has been inspired by one of its own who wasn’t able to be a member of this year’s team. Sophomore Weston Crusselle was diagnosed with leukemia last April. As a freshman, Crusselle pushed through the entire season, qualifying for the state tournament, while sick.
“We did not know what was wrong with him last season other than something just was not right in him.” McEachern coach Jason Faklaris said. “He worked hard to overcome [everything]. By the end of the season, his lymph nodes were so swollen around his lungs that he had diminished capacity to breathe.”
After the diagnosis, Crusselle began treatments that have continued into this wrestling season. “We use Weston as a focus to remember to stay true to your passion and never give up,” Faklaris said.
Here are updates on other wrestling teams:
- St. Francis sophomore Mark Mongell is 19-6 with 17 pins at 215 lbs. "He started as a freshman with little success," coach Chuck Bailey said. "He worked out this summer, came to wrestling camp and it paid dividends."
- Langston Hughes sophomore Patrick Gooden is 21-7 at 119 lbs. after transferring from Pebblebrook.
- It's all in the family for Dacula's Nathan Oertley, who is 23-4 with 11 pins at 103 lbs. His father is a former wrestler who now referees the sport.
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