Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Previews

Barnegat Boys Swim Team Going After State Sectional Crown This Winter

Dec 18, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Kyle Smith is part of the reason the Barnegat boys swim team is deep, experienced and should be vying for an NJSIAA South Jersey C title this season.

Sure, it would have been nice for the Barnegat boys swim team to capture the NJSIAA South Jersey Group C championship back in February. Unfortunately, the Bengals lost by 36 points to Oakcrest. But as soon as that contest ended, the focus shifted to this winter – when coach Emily Cherry’s squad would bring back almost the entire team and, no doubt, again be a contender for that sectional crown.

“We’re already excited for next year,” Colby Pearson said following the loss to the Falcons. “We have a whole junior class and a lot of underclassmen who are going to be that much better next year. We lost today, but we’re solid and we’re going to be back. This was a first step for us.”

Actually, the Bengals have been stroking their way toward a potential title for several years.

“Our boys team has made the team state tournament for the past five years,” Cherry said. “It’s a tradition we aim to continue, and we are all excited to see what this season brings.”

It very well could bring the school’s first state sectional championship in any sport, male or female. And the Bengals definitely are in prime condition to make that occur later this winter.

Of course, it all starts with Barnegat’s senior class, led by Pearson, Dylan Cappuccio, Michael Koser, Gareth Aguilar, Joe Coleman and Jordan Burton. Pearson is a stud in the 500-yard freestyle, while Cappuccio mostly will gather points in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke, and Koser will contribute heavily in more of the spring freestyle events. Aguilar is a freestyle swimmer, but also will pick up big points in the 100-yard backstroke, while Coleman and Burton add depth to the butterfly and breaststroke events.

The junior class basically has no drop-off from the senior group, with Kyle Smith the premier butterfly and backstroke swimmer, Kaden Jason one of the team’s top sprint freestylers, and Austin Cappuccio another top freestyle guy. Meanwhile, Tyler Grant will add further depth to the breaststroke, and Josh Hutton can be plugged in just about anywhere in the lineup and be highly effective.

With the sophomore class, Ethan Sackett and Gavin Wheeler should pick up significant points in the free and breaststroke events as well. Joseph Fiorentino, Noah Jeremias, Declan Lustenberger and Justin Sullivan are among the promising freshmen Cherry expects to make an impact.

The rest of the squad includes seniors James Davenport, Alex Kinder, Carlos Moreno Vargas and Richard Andrew Ohr, junior Logan Germano, sophomores Zach Davenport, Kyle Agudo and Christopher Longo, and freshmen Gabryel Betancourt, Aidan Birch, Anthony Idone, Daniel Ohr, Ryan Schager and Emanuel Valles.

“Each year, our boys team has worked to build on the existing talent by welcoming strong newcomers, and this season is no exception,” Cherry said. “We graduated two boys last season, so the team continues to grow. The depth, strength and passion of our returning swimmers has inspired our new swimmers to excel and our returning swimmers to meet or exceed their own expectations.”

As for the Barnegat girls, this season may be a bit of a rebuilding one for Rebecca Kane’s crew.

“We’re excited for this season as the girls work hard to improve,” Kane said. “We graduated a number of girls last year, but we have a core group of returning swimmers who have been working tremendously hard, and we’re excited to see what our newcomers bring to the team.”

On a somewhat small team of 14 swimmers, the Bengals are led by seniors Annabelle Grogan (freestyle), Caroline Purdon (breaststroke) and Gabrielle Volerman, a solid all-around competitor. Juniors Jasmine Anderson and Veronique Gleghorn, sophomores Sydney Dizon, Alexis Jackson, Paige Menegus, Natalie Durning, Gabriela Kovaly and Scarlett Roberts, as well as freshmen Kirsten Langan, Erin Lustenberger and Jessica Notaro round out the squad.

Kane’s crew delivered in a nail-biter on Dec. 10, knocking off Manchester, 86-84, to improve to 2-1 so far this winter. The win was Barnegat’s second straight after edging Jackson Liberty, 81-79, on Dec. 5. Meanwhile, the boys cruised to 3-0 with easy victories over Manchester (110-60) and Liberty (129-39).

David Biggy

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