Two members of a local swim team are getting their shot on one of the country’s biggest stages.
Ava Collinge and Matt King, members of the StingRay Swim Team that’s based out of the Snohomish Aquatic Center and Mariner High School, are set to compete in the 2017 Winter Junior Championships-West, which take place Wednesday through Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa.
Collinge, from Everett, qualified in the women’s 100-yard butterfly. She also will compete in two bonus races in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
West, from Snohomish, qualified in the men’s 50 freestyle. He will also compete in one bonus race, the 100 freestyle.
Collinge and West are both 15 years old, making them among the youngest competitors at the under-18 event. The pair qualified for the meet, which includes competitors from all of the western United States and is one of just two such meets in the country, by achieving qualifying times set by USA Swimming. They are coached by Kyle Endres.
“It’s a huge deal,” StringRay Swim Team owner and head coach Ben Olszewski said. “Probably less than one or two percent of kids involved in the sport reach this level. To do it at such a young age is a statement about their work ethic and commitment.”
Olszewski said Collinge and West are the first members of the StingRay Swim Team to qualify for the Winter Junior Championships-West since about 2010.
“Probably from 2003 to about 2010 we had a steady flow of kids qualifying for nationals,” Olszewski said. “Then we lost Hal Moe Pool (in Snohomish, which closed in 2007) and that had an impact on our overall numbers and overall success. Then two or three years ago they rebuilt the pool in Snohomish and that’s helped us rekindle our numbers. We have more space for training and the team has grown from 100 to 150 kids. So we’re back now in the mode of kids qualifying for high-level meets.”
Collinge’s qualifying time of 55.88 seconds in the women’s 100 butterfly ranks 102nd among the competitors. Kings’s qualifying time of 20.96 in the men’s 50 freestyle ranks 45th.
Stanwood youth football off to nationals
The Stanwood Youth Football Bantams (12-year-olds) advanced to the Pro Football Hall of Fame National Youth Championships following their performance this weekend at the Bay Area Regional in Santa Rosa, California.
Stanwood fell to the Grant Jr. Pacers from Sacramento 28-22 in its semifinal, then came back to dominate San Pablo (California) 30-0 in its consolation game. Afterward it was determined the Pacers were an All-Star team and they were moved into the All-Star Division, with Stanwood being advanced in the League Team Division.
The national championships are Dec. 14-17 in Canton, Ohio.
Also competing at the Bay Area Regionals were the Marysville Pilchuck Tomahawk Red 89ers (9-year-olds). Marysville won its semifinal against the Patterson (California) Ravens 16-14, then lost to a team from Sacramento in the championship game 21-0.
Junior Silvertips surge into first
The Everett Junior Silvertips 16-under team went 4-0 over the weekend in Blaine, Minnesota, to move into first place in the North American Prospects Hockey League’s standings. Everett won its four games by a combined score of 23-3 to improve to 12-1 this season, putting the Tips one point ahead of the Sioux Falls Junior Stampede.
Cole Dubicki (six goals, five assists) and Caden Pattison (three goals, eight assists) led the way over the weekend with 11 points each. Goaltenders Matthew Genter and Austin Schwab each posted a shutout.
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