Wolfpack brimming with talent

  • David Pan<br>Enterprise sports editor
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:30am

MILL CREEK — A strong returning core along with an influx of athletes from the cross country team have reenergized the Jackson boys swim team.

And the results already are showing up in the pool.

In its first Western Conference 4A South Division dual meet of the season last week, Jackson easily outdistanced archrival Meadowdale 98-72 to improve to 4-0 overall for the season.

The Mavericks won last season’s regular season contest between the teams but couldn’t overcome a strong and balanced effort from the Wolfpack.

“We knew if we swam our best meet today, we’d win,” said Jackson senior Josiah Pleasant. “Everybody poured it out in the pool today. Nobody left anything. There were no regrets today.”

Jackson coach Drew Whorley was surprised to see some of the times from his team.

“It was great to have (the meet) this early in the season,” he said. “They knew it was going to be a tough swim meet and they came in and swam times I really wasn’t expecting to see this early in the season and I don’t think they expected that stuff out of themselves.”

Jackson’s Peter Mullins had a state qualifying time of 1:26.7 in the 100-yard breaststroke. He was followed by brother Andrew, who clocked in with a 1:03.

The Wolfpack heads into the rest of the regular dual meet season with added confidence as a result of the victory, Whorley said.

“Numbers-wise this is the biggest group I recall us having since I’ve been here,” Whorley said of his 25-man roster. “It’s definitely the hardest working group of guys that we’ve had. Their attitude is great. Their attendance is great. They get in the water every day. They do their job.”

The addition of several members of Jackson’s cross country team has made a big difference, especially with the team’s work ethic.

Swimming and cross country are different sports but do share some common characteristics.

“Those guys are used to working hard,” Andrew Mullins said. “I think that it just carries over into the pool. Cross country and swimming are pretty similar in terms of training.”

Jackson finished fifth at this year’s state cross country meet.

“We know it’s complete sacrifice. You’ve just got to leave it out there,” Pleasant said.

Pleasant advanced to the Class 4A state swimming championships last year and wrapped up the season with personal best times in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 butterfly.

His goal is a top eight finish in 100 butterfly and a top 16 finish in the 100 backstroke this year.

“He is doing a great job,” Whorley said of Pleasant. “He is kind of taking a lot of the leadership reins. He’s in large part responsible for all the additional guys that we picked up from the cross country team, he and a couple of the other kids. He’s leading by example and doing a great job.”

Brothers Peter and Andrew Mullins also advanced to state. Peter finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 15th in the 200 individual medley, while Andrew placed 14th in the 100 breaststroke.

The twins also agree that the numbers were the key to beating Meadowdale.

“The team is deeper than we’ve ever been,” Peter Mullins said. “I don’t think we got a sixth place (against Meadowdale), which is what killed us last year.”

Jackson only won four events — Peter Mullins in the 100 breaststroke, Pleasant in the 100 butterfly, Johnny Quackenbush in the 500 and the 200 freestyle relay team.

“The depth is helping us win swim meets,” Whorley said. “We’re scoring third, fourth and fifth place finishes … and that’s been the difference for us in that meet and it’ll probably be the difference for us as we move throughout the season.”

Andrew Mullins sees a strong work ethic among his teammates.

“It’s commitment all across the board,” he said. “Everyone is working really hard. The level of commitment is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Andrew Mullins is aiming for a top eight finish in the 100 breaststroke and advancing to state in another event, perhaps the 200 freestyle.

The 100 breaststroke also is his brother’s top event.

“I’m hoping to give the championship a run,” Peter Mullins said. “I don’t know what else I’m going to swim.”

Whorley expects big things from the Mullins brothers.

“They expect big things of themselves,” he said. “They’re great athletes. They’re great people.”

Jackson’s numbers give the team plenty of options when it comes to the three relays.

“We’ve got so much depth, especially in the 100 freestyle,” Peter Mullins said. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of guys who can get up and go. We’ve got enough for at least three relays to be competitive in any meet.”

Added Pleasant, “We’ll have a shot to send three relays to state for the first time because of the depth.”

Talk to us