Stafford Leader Winter Sports Previews

Experience, Depth Should Bolster Southern Regional Girls Swim Team This Winter

Dec 14, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds Senior Abbey Mower is among a core group of experienced swimmers who will be leading the Southern Regional girls squad this winter.

The Southern Regional girls swimming program is at a point in which head coach Bill Entrikin doesn’t have to wonder whether his Rams are going to be competitive. It’s a given, since the days of the program’s infancy have long passed and it’s no longer scrounging for swimmers to refill the lanes left behind by graduated seniors.

Nowadays, the system is firmly established and young swimmers are being led by experienced young women who have been part of the program for years, and that experience goes a long way in the Shore Conference Class A South division.

“One of our team’s strengths should be our experience. We are returning nine of our top 10 scorers from last season,” Entrikin said. “We’re also adding a strong group of swimmers to the program, which should make our depth the team’s greatest strength.”

Experience and depth in the pool are vital to a team’s success, and the Rams are in great shape this season with seniors Jacquelyn Kilcommons, Jillian Middleton, Abbey Mower, Kady Patterson and Hannah Skimmons leading the way.

A solid sprinter but a versatile specialist in the butterfly and backstroke events, Kilcommons should deliver a lot of points for the Rams this winter, as will Mower in the distances, breaststroke and individual medley, and Skimmons in the backstroke and sprints. Middleton adds to the depth in the sprints, IM and butterfly, while Patterson bolsters the Rams’ lineup in the backstroke, IM and fly.

Behind the five seniors is a fantastic group of juniors and sophomores – and this is where the core of Southern’s depth resides, particularly in the sprint races. Among this solid bunch are juniors Mia Amirr (butterfly, breaststroke, sprints), Abigail Malandro (sprints), Veronica Ruoff (backstroke, sprints), and Grace Sprague (sprints), as well as sophomores Kaylyn Iusan (sprints, butterfly, IM), Mya Pierson (sprints) and Phoebe Sprague (distance).

The newcomers expected to make immediate impacts for the squad are freshmen Liv Auge, Brooke Boyd, Summer Davis, Isabella English, Mohini Jani, Jessica Paulillo and Haley Skimmons.

The rest of the team includes seniors Rory Larkin and Jessica Paretzky, juniors Gianna Antinorra, Erin Barrett, Brayden Bischoff, Emily Keenan, Kailey Matthews, Tara O’Neill, Nathalie Rodriguez and Ava Ruff, sophomores Victoria Clarington, Fallon Duelly and Brooke Ingram, and freshmen Gianna D’Agostino, Leah Keenan and Rachel Vasquez.

“I expect our team to improve throughout the season and be very competitive in A South and the Ocean County Championships,” Entrikin said. “I’m also expecting us to qualify for the NJSIAA tournament for a fifth straight season.”

As for the Southern boys, their first challenge of the new season began by adjusting to new coach Patrick Craig, in addition to losing a bunch of solid seniors following last season.

“This season the team will face many different challenges, one of them being two new coaches on deck,” Craig said. “With that, the team and coaches will be working hard with one another, molding into a competitive team. We have six strong seniors and a large junior class to help build a new foundation for the team. I'm expecting all the seniors this year to step up and show the younger guys a good work ethic.”

The seniors leading the charge this winter are Tom White, Greg and Tim English, Logan Schmitt, Justin Shinn and Cody Snow. Among the juniors, Aidan McInerney, Greg Lee, Noah Hanvey and Jackson Hughes will be expected to take the next step in becoming leaders. With a big freshman group entering the program this year, Craig is counting on Kristian Werner to be a promising asset.

Also on the squad this winter are juniors Kameron Davis, Aiden Docherty, Zach Girgenti, Russell Hill, Andrew McGinvey, Aidan Olcott, Alexander Reck and Matthew Verbeve, sophomore Wilhem Jaffe, and freshmen Coleb Westpy, Sean White, Matt Adams, Daniel Dunlap, Bryan Kahl, Gabriel Shehady, Sean Walsh, Carson Palletta and Cole Nemes.

On Dec. 7, both the Southern boys and girls opened the season with victories over Central Regional. The girls knocked off the Golden Eagles, 104-66, while the boys won their first contest under Craig, 92-78. The Rams were scheduled to take on Toms River East on Dec. 13, and will be on the road to meet Toms River South on Friday, Dec. 21.

David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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