WHS ready for the regionals

Published 6:32 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

Washington’s Mason Beach will be one of several Pam Pack swimmers to compete in today’s NCHSAA 3-A East Regional meet. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Washington is hoping to ride the waves of a strong boys and girls performance in the Coastal Conference meet into today’s NCHAA 3-A East Regional at the Triangle Aquatics Center.
The powerhouse Pam Pack girls’ team dominated at the conference meet as it took first in eight of the 11 events, while Washington senior Emily Pfeiffer was named swimmer of the year and coach Spencer Pake was tabbed the top coach.
For the second straight season the girls’ team will be represented in every event with the exception of diving. Last year they finished in second place, the highest during Pake’s nine-year tenure with the Pack, and this season he is expecting similar results.
“You never can tell with the talent that’s in the East, but if the girls can come out with a top-four performance I will be very pleased,” Pake said.
The Pack girls have the talent to be regional champs but in order to do that they will have to overcome the fact that they do not have divers, something that hinders several programs.
Pake, who is serving as the East Regional meet coordinator this year, estimated that by not having any divers on his team it’s missing out on 70 potential points.
“We’re just going to go in and do the best we can with what we have to work with,” Pake said. “We just need to perform in the events that we can perform in. Unfortunately, diving is not one of them but we’re going to do the best job we can and swim as hard as we can in the events that we are in.”
This year’s Pam Pack girls’ team has several seasoned performers, which has led to some lofty expectations.
“I expect Emily Pfeiffer to come out a regional champion and give herself some momentum to try and repeat as state champion,” Pake said. “I expect Meghan Baldwin to place high in her events. Lanie Godley should do very, very well. I’m looking for Chandler Beach, Jessica Penhollow and Kaitlyn Richards, our senior captain, and all of our relay teams to step up and do very well.”
Richards, who recently had surgery on her jaw, is questionable for today’s meet but felt she would be able to participate.
The Washington boys coast into the meet riding some serious momentum as well. Last week they used a strong finish to propel themselves into second place at the conference and are no doubt hungry to repeat last year’s top-10 performance.
“They need to take that momentum and run with it. They’re driven, self-motivated and they’re ready to compete,” Pake said. “I’m looking for them to come in top-10 again. I’m looking for all three of their relays to make it to state and quite a few individuals to make it to state as well.”
The boys are competing in every event except diving and the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke and will rely on its leaders to help get the top-12 finishes needed to make it to state.
“Robert Sandy and Luke Harris are irreplaceable and need to step up big as our leaders,” Pake said. “Eric Lovenberg, a freshman, his swims will be very big. James Martin is going to be key in our last relay. We’re really going to need everybody to have great swims.”