Joe Hayburn had some catching up to do on the anchor leg of the final event — the 400 freestyle relay — of the MIAA B Conference swimming championship meet Wednesday evening at McDonogh.
The Saints held a tenuous 296-288 lead over undefeated Severn when Hayburn followed teammates Alex Pickett, Thomas Tollefson and Jack Drucis into the pool.
”I believed I could chase him down,” the Loyola University Maryland commit said about beginning his leg several seconds off the pace. “It came down to the last exciting seconds.”
Hayburn added that he was pretty confident that Key School (Jack Weinstein, Ethan Baum, Andrew Nolan and Evan Graham, 3:29.70) would finish first and defending champion Beth Tfiloh (Jacob Goldman, Ilan Shapsay, Elan Volinsky and Sammy Rotman, 3:34.89) second in the 400 free relay.
All Hayburn and the Saints were worried about was staying ahead of the Admirals, who clobbered the Saints, 104-61, in a dual meet just a couple of weeks ago.
Was he surprised by the upset 328-318 victory over runner-up Severn?
”It was the best surprise,” Hayburn noted, praising his teammates for their perseverance and upbeat attitude. Key (291) and Beth Tfiloh (251) were next in line in the team race. Archbishop Curley (171), St. Vincent Pallotti (170), Annapolis Area Christian School (157), John Carroll (123), Saints Peter and Paul (97) and Indian Creek (96) followed.
For St. Mary’s coach Allyson Reiter, heroes emerged all season for the Saints.
One of those was junior Steven Schummer, a Georgetown lacrosse commit who had never competed in a high school swim meet until Hayburn recruited him to join the team.
”Joe told me that they really needed guys, and I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” said Schummer, who anchored the Saints’ winning 200-yard medley relay.
Reiter said that her first-time swimmers “come for the school — they come for St. Mary’s.”
Schummer said that he didn’t perfect his flip turn until this week.
He added that his role as a freestyle sprinter is something he has embraced.
”I just swim as hard as I can,” he said.
Key took an early 40-34 lead over Severn after Weinstein, Nolan, Graham and Baum produced a 1:45.75 in the 200-yard medley relay, well ahead of Severn’s Court Barrett, Hayden Garagliano, Ben Keith and Callum Olenec (1:51.93).
St. Mary’s Ethan Lowe, Drucis, Sam Starr and Schummer (1:55.11) were third.
Graham took the 200 freestyle in 1:46.41, topping Barrett (1:53.67) and Drucis (2:04.38), although the Admirals rocketed in front, 82-72, over Key by virtue of Tyler Monaldo (2:21.23, 6th) and James Cravens (2:28.05, 8th) collecting 25 points. Jonas Craig (2:26.20, 7th) was the Obezags’ other scorer in the event.
The Saints maintained their hold on third place behind Lowe (2:15.57, 5th) and Cooper Phippen (2:41.00, 12th).
Jason Kellerman brought Archbishop Curley into the limelight by winning the 200 individual medley (1:57.83), followed by Rotman (2:08.53) and John Carroll’s Gabriel Olyzsk (2:13.68).
St. Mary’s (88) advanced to second place behind Alex Pickett (2:22.48, 4th) while Severn moved further ahead with 116 points with Harlen Erskine (2:23.82, 5th), Cooper Hamilton (2:38.13, 8th) and Kiernan Robinson (2:38.56, 9th) getting the job done.
Beth Tfiloh (90) replaced Key in third place after a dead heat for first in the 50 free between Shapsay (23.91) and Goldman (23.91). Gargaliano (24.24, 4th) and Schummer (25.96) snagged important points for their teams as the Admirals produced a 134-106 advantage.
Rotman kept BT in the hunt by claiming the 100 butterfly in 55.81, followed by Severn’s Ben Keith (59.74) and Starr (59.74), who helped the Saints’ important 42-point effort in the event with Pickett (1:7.79, 5th) and Nicholas Tollefson (1:19.18, 7th).
Trailing by only, 151-148, St. Mary’s was well within striking distance of archival Severn heading into the 100 free with Hayburn the heavy favorite to keep Saints on top.
As expected, Hayburn (45.69) helped his team stay within reach, at 181-177, of Severn, which kept afloat behind Erskine (55.11, 6th), Olenec (56.85, 7th), Robinson (1:04.82, 14th) and Cravens (1:05.89, 15th).
Key made a strong move in the 500 free, sweeping the top spots behind Graham (4:50.99) and Weinstein (5:35.15) while Craig (7:01.70, 10th) contributed.
Severn widened its lead to 221-195 over the Saints with Keith (5:48.65, 3rd) and Cooper (6:33.55, 8th) on point.
The Saints made some inroads in the 200 free relay (Schummer, Pickett, Trey Gendell and Hayburn, 1:36.95), despite finishing just off the 1:35.70 pace set by BT’s Goldman, Volinsky, Shapsay and Rotman.Severn’s Erskine, Jack Condon, Olenec and Gargagliano were fourth as the Admirals still fronted the Saints, 251-229.
Hayburn’s 49.21 in the 100 backstroke, coupled with fine efforts from Gendell (1:10.22, 8th) and Tollefson (1:18.17, 10th, pushed the Saints back into contention. Although Barrett (55.67, 3rd) and Sean Condon (1:19.50, 11th) answered for Severn, its lead shrunk to 273-267 with Key (220) replacing BT (206) in third.
St. Mary’s finally took the lead in the meet’s penultimate event, the 100 breaststroke, when Drucis (1:11.71, 3rd) and Tollefson (1:18.38, 6th) nabbed 29 points while the Admirals only countered with 15 from Gargagliano (1:15.40, 4th), giving the Saints the edge heading into the 400 free relay.
St. Mary’s only had to stay in front of Severn in the 400 free relay to seal the deal.
With Hayburn rested and ready to be the closer, the Saints pulled it off.
”It really came down to how our third swimmer (in each event) did,” Reiter said. “Every event was the difference.”