Blazers Finish Eighth

Arnold, Sheffer Win Four Medals

Posted: February 22, 2014

CHRISTIANSBURG — Arnold and Sheffer – rinse and repeat.

Jessie Arnold and Julia Sheffer took home four medals apiece, leading the SpotswoodHigh School girls’ team to an eighth-place finish in the Virginia High School League 3A Swimming & Diving state championship meet Friday night at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.

“Top ten was definitely our goal,” Blazers coach Jarad Buckmaster said. “I really thought we could get top five maybe if certain things really worked out right. Unfortunately they didn’t. So that put a dent in some of that.”

Spotswood’s girls’ 200-yard medley team — seeded ninth — was disqualified in the morning’s preliminary round after one of its members had to leave due to a family emergency.

Despite the rough start to their day, the team rebounded to finish in the top ten for the second year in a row — due in large part to the effort of Arnold.

“I was hoping to [have a good meet],” Arnold said. “We’re in a really hard training cycle right now, so we didn’t really rest. But I just wanted to swim my best. You always want to win, but I’m glad I got top three and scored points for the team.”

Arnold came in third-place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.37 and finished in second-place in the 500 freestyle with a 4:59.94 mark.

“Jessie’s been really training hard,” Buckmaster said. “I knew she would be finishing about second or third for her two events.”

Sheffer finished in fifth-place in the 50 free at 24.87 and seventh in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:00.41.

“I think this has probably been her best meet of the year, she’s doing really well,” Buckmaster said. “She’s another one, like Jessie, she’s still training for future meets with her club team. She was a little bummed on her fly, but she was very happy about going 24 in her 50 free.”

Both Arnold and Sheffer were on Spotswood’s 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that finished in fifth and fourth-place, respectively. Joining the girls on both relay teams were Sierra Hepner and Olivia Kyger. 

The 2A and 3A meets were held simultaneously on Friday night. Spotswood and Turner Ashby were the only area schools represented.

East Rockingham sophomore Kyle Nickel did qualify for the 2A state meet in six individual events (50 free, 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley) but did not participate due to his commitment as the lead role in the school musical.

After Friday morning’s preliminary round, the 4A diving championships took place, with two representatives from Harrisonburg.

Sophomore Abner Johnson took home second place with a score of 299.0 and senior Jarek Arellano finished in seventh-place.

In Friday night’s 3A meet, Turner Ashby’s Tanner Clark took home two medals, with a sixth-place finish in the 50 free (21.97) and an eighth-place finish in the 100 free (50.72).