The First Flight boys swim team has been dominating of late and if Northeastern has any intention of defending its Northeastern Coastal Conference title at today’s conference championships at the Albemarle Family YMCA, the Eagles will need to capitalize on their depth.
“This team does have a lot of depth we didn’t have last year,” NHS coach Wendy Kobiela said. “Seconds, thirds and fourths are going to be key. But we also have guys who can win and have big-meet experience at regions and states.”
Those guys include Charles Jarvis, who could double in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and Delves Breaux and Roy Marriner, who should finish high in several events, and the Eagles three relay teams.
But if, as it did a year ago, the boys team title comes down to the final event, the 400-meter freestyle relay, Northeastern may be at a disadvantage.
One of the Eagles’ top relay performers won’t be available to help them clinch. Andrew Donnell became ineligible at the start of the semester.
“Relays are really important in a meet like this,” Kobiela said. “We actually have A and B teams that were strong enough to qualify for the regions, but Andrew has been strong for us.”
Even with Donnell, NHS would be hard-pressed to beat First Flight. The Nighthawks will be boosted by the presence of distance standout Dewey Wise, who missed last year’s competition to attend an age-group meet.
Wise’s absence likely cost First Flight, which finished just 12 points behind Northeastern last year, the championship.
The girls crown could well go to heavily favored First Flight, which has won every year since the school joined the NCC in the 2004-5 season.
The real race will be between Northeastern and Edenton for second place. Last year, the Lady Aces surprised by taking the runnerup spot.
Edenton and NHS have battled all season with varying results, but Northeastern will finally have the services of Alisha Wilson, a returning conference champion, who has been out since early in the season as a result of a finger injury sustained in a car accident.
Kobiela is not concerned about a possible lack of conditioning for Wilson.
“Alisha is a strong kid,” Kobiela said. “For the races she is swimming, you just have to be strong. You don’t need endurance. I just hope her finger holds out.”
Local swimmers who are returning individual champions returning boys champions include Ariah Miller (200 individual medley) and Trey Kitchen (50 free) of Pasquotank, Jarvis (100 free) and Breaux (400 free) of Northeastern and Victor Rodriguez of Currituck (100 breast). Northeastern’s Wilson (100 breast) is the lone area girls returning champion.